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Residents advised to beware of Social Security scammers

Those who receive Social Security are warned to be wary of scammers, area officials advised.

“Scammers go to great lengths to trick you out of your personal information. We want to help you protect your information by helping you recognize a Social Security imposter,” said Edward Cariuty, Social Security district manager in Escanaba.

One widespread telephone scam claims to be from Social Security, with caller ID even showing a government number. The person called may be told there’s a problem with his or her Social Security number. The caller also may threaten arrest unless the person pays a fine or fee using gift cards, pre-paid debit cards, a wire transfer or cash.

“That call is not from us,” Cariuty said.

Those who receive a suspicious call from someone posing as a Social Security representative should —

— Hang up immediately;

— Never provide personal information, money or retail gift cards;

— Report the scam to Social Security’s law enforcement team at the Office of the Inspector General at oig.ssa.gov/.

Cariuty stresses that Social Security will not —

— Threaten;

— Claim a Social Security number has been suspended;

— Call you to demand an immediate payment;

— Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone;

— Require a specific means of debt repayment, such as a prepaid debit card, a retail gift card, or cash;

— Demand a Social Security debt be paid without the ability to appeal any amount owed;

— Promise a Social Security benefit approval, or increase, in exchange for information or money;

— Request personal or financial information through email, text messages or social media.

Social Security will:

— Sometimes call to confirm the filing for a claim or to discuss other ongoing business with them;

— Mail a letter if a problem has developed;

— Mail a letter if a payment is required, with detailed information about payment options and the ability to appeal the decision;

— Use emails, text messages and social media to provide general information — not personal or financial information — on its programs and services for those who have signed up to receive those messages.

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