A local elderly man was scammed out of identifying information, bank account details and $500 in gift cards after receiving a call from a person claiming to be representing the Social Security Administration on Wednesday, July 3, according to a report from Moab City Police.
According to the report, the caller told the man that he was involved in a money laundering scheme and that he needed to pay a $1,500 fine in Google Play cards, gift cards redeemable through the Google Play Store. The man told police that he had also given the caller his Social Security number and bank information.
The man went to a local store to buy the gift cards, but the store only allowed him to buy one $500 gift card. He gave the PIN number on the gift card to the person on the phone, at which point, he realized it might be a scam, according to the police report.
The man later received another call, this time with the person claiming to be an agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The man walked to a nearby police officer’s home; the officer told the caller that he was a law enforcement agent and was in the process of getting the location of the caller. The caller hung up and did not call the man again.
Police advised the man that he needed to contact the Social Security Administration and his bank, due to him releasing sensitive information. Police advised the man not to provide such personal information over the phone.
The Federal Trade Commission provides the following advice on avoiding Social Security fraud:
- Your Social Security number is not about to be suspended. You don’t have to verify your number to anyone who calls out of the blue. And your bank accounts are not about to be seized.
- SSA will never call to threaten your benefits or tell you to wire money, send cash, or put money on gift cards. Anyone who tells you to do those things is a scammer. Every time.
- The real SSA number is 1-800-772-1213, but scammers are putting that number in the caller ID. If you’re worried about what the caller says, hang up and call 1-800-772-1213 to speak to the real SSA. Even if the wait time is long, confirm with the real SSA before responding to one of these calls.
- Never give any part of your Social Security number to anyone who contacts you. Or your bank account or credit card number.
If you receive a scam call, tell the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.