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AG warns of Social Security scam

July 14, 2018

CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has warned consumers to be wary of unsolicited calls from anyone claiming to represent the Social Security Administration.

The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division has received recent reports of impersonators using various excuses to steal Social Security numbers and other sensitive information, the AG’s office said in a press release.

According to the release, the impostor will often ask consumers to verify personal information, including their Social Security number, to replace a Social Security card, fix an issue with their online account, process a cost-of-living adjustment or rectify benefits that have been underpaid and need adjustment.

The impostors will sometimes even threaten legal action against consumers who do not comply.

“Impostors will use fear tactics to elicit compliance,” Morrisey said in the release. “It is very important that consumers not give in and make sure they are dealing with legitimate Social Security Administration representatives.”

Morrisey said consumers should always verify any information by calling the legitimate Social Security Administration’s number and never make payments using wire transfer, gift cards or cash. Most government agencies and reputable companies will not seek personal information via phone or email, he said.

Additionally, consumers should be aware of spoofing tactics in which the phone number appears legitimate but is not, Morrisey added.

Anyone with questions or concerns should contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 800-368-8808, the Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office in Martinsburg at 304-267-0239 or visit the office online at www.wvago.gov.

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