Laughlin woman warns of telephone scam

September 19, 2018

LAUGHLIN — A Laughlin woman was dismayed Monday when someone attempted to carry out a telephone scam against her.

Anne McDonald said she received a call from someone claiming to be with the Social Security Administration.

“They told me that my Social Security number had been used in a crime and that there’s a warrant out for my arrest in a foreign country,” she said. McDonald was instructed to call a specific phone number immediately. She said she had a feeling something wasn’t right but decided to call the telephone number provided to her anyway.

“A gentleman with a heavy accent from South America answered and said, ‘Social Security Division,’ ” McDonald said. “I started laughing and said ‘Do you really think I would fall for this?’ Then I heard a click. They hung up.”

“The intent of this type of call may be to steal your identity and/or money from your bank accounts,” according to The Office of the Inspector General of the Social Security Administration.

The Federal Trade Commission has advice for people who are targeted by someone attempting to conduct a Social Security scam such as the one McDonald encountered.

Don’t give the caller personal information — especially bank account, credit-debit card information or your Social Security number. Unless you initiate contact with Social Security, the caller could be anyone. Technology has allowed con artists to call from anywhere in the world while making it look as if they are calling you from a telephone number that appears to be from a Social Security office in Washington, D.C. The caller likely will have provided fake personal and agency names so their call sounds legitimate.People do receive telephone calls from Social Security or Medicare but those calls are to follow up on matters that were initiated by you. If you receive a telephone call and want to verify whether it came from a Social Security employee, dial 800-772-1213. There, you can verify why you were called and the caller’s identity before providing the caller with any personal information.

Las Vegas Metro Police didn’t take an incident report from McDonald because no crime was committed. She didn’t provide the caller with any personal information that could have been used to steal money or otherwise defraud her.

Social Security and the FTC are interested in hearing about such scams and scam attempts. The Social Security Fraud Hotline is 800-269-0271, or 866-501-2101(TTY). Be ready to supply the caller’s alleged name, telephone number, time and date the call was made, what information the caller was seeking and any other details you can remember about the call.

The FTC’s online complaint assistance can be accessed at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1.

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