The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA) is urging senior citizens and their families to be on the alert, following an attempted Social Security-related scam reported October 20, 2011 in Toms River.
Senior citizens received phone calls in which the caller claimed to represent the Social Security Administration, and stated that a “new law” had been passed, requiring all Social Security recipients to use a “special new type of Social Security card.”
In at least one case, the caller read a list of the names of banks, and asked the senior citizen to identify which was her bank. The caller then read a series of numbers and asked if they matched the numbers on her checks.
“The senior citizen who called us was smart enough to hang up the phone before this deceptive call could go any further—for example, before the scam artist could ask for her Social Security number,” Thomas R. Calcagni, Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs, said. “Calls like this are purely an attempt to obtain your personal and bank information in order to steal your identity. The best way to protect yourself is to hang up.”
Advice for Consumers:
Never provide personal or financial information (such as your Social Security number, credit card, or other account numbers) over the phone, unless you are the one who made the phone call, and are speaking with a business or agency you know and trust.
If you fall for the scam, you should take immediate steps to protect yourself against identity theft:
- Contact your bank and tell them what happened. Call the police, and file a police report.
- Contact each of the three credit reporting bureaus, and file a fraud alert—this will let potential creditors know you may be a victim of identity theft, and that your identity should be verified before new credit is issued in your name. Review your credit report periodically, and report any suspicious activity to the credit reporting bureaus.
- The three credit reporting bureaus are: Equifax, 800-525-6285; Experian, 888-397-3742; and Trans Union, 800-680-7289.
- Call the Division of Consumer Affairs at 800-242-5846 and tell them about the incident.
For more information, read DCA’s flyer Identity Theft and Psishing.
Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse, can file a complaint with the Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504-6200.
Source: New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs
This information last reviewed 10/25/11.