Beware of Social Security scammers

By: Maria Allard | Grosse Pointe Times | Published June 4, 2019

GROSSE POINTE WOODS — The Grosse Pointe Woods Department of Public Safety is alerting residents to a scam regarding Social Security benefits.

The department has received several reports about people pretending to be from the Social Security Administration. These individuals are trying to get personal information from residents by contacting them by telephone. The alleged scammers are primarily targeting senior citizens.

Last month, Detective Ryan Schroerlucke shared information about the issue at www.nixle.com. According to the report, the swindlers are calling residents and telling them their Social Security number has been suspended because of suspicious activity, or because it’s been involved in a crime. Sometimes residents are asked to confirm their SSN to reactivate it.

In other cases, the fraudulent caller may say the resident’s bank account is about to be seized, and they will tell the resident what to do to keep it safe. That often involves putting money on gift cards and giving out the codes, which is how residents are scammed out of their finances.

The department has provided the following information to help residents avoid being duped.

First of all, “Your SSN is not about to be suspended,” Schroerlucke’s Nixle alert states. Residents don’t have to verify their number to anyone who calls out of the blue, and residents’ bank accounts are not about to be seized.

According to the Nixle report, the Social Security Administration will never call to threaten about benefits or tell anyone to wire money, send cash or put money on gift cards. Also, never give out any part of your Social Security number, bank account or credit card number.

The Social Security Administration number is (800) 772-1213, and scammers are putting that number in the caller ID. For any concerns you may have if this number comes up on your phone, hang up and call the Social Security Administration number to speak directly to an agent.

If you get these calls, immediately hang up and report the information to the Office of the Inspector General at (800) 269-0271 or online at oig.ssa.gov/report.