Scammers pretending to be with government agencies are calling people and telling them that their Social Security number has been compromised or suspended, and threatening to arrest them if they don’t make an immediate payment, Attorney General Josh Shapiro warned.
The scam differs from traditional Social Security scams, where scammers say one’s number was stolen or demand victims complete certain actions in order to receive benefits.
“My office is warning consumers that scam artists are out in full force, employing new tactics to achieve their same nefarious goals,” Shapiro said in a statement. “I urge Pennsylvanians to be vigilant of this scam and, if you believe that you have been victimized, please contact my office immediately. We are here to protect you, and we are working hard to put an end to these scams.”
Shapiro said the scammers are telling people someone is using their Social Security number to scare them into making quick decisions that can be devastatingly costly.
In one circumstance, a man from Franklin received a call from someone claiming to be from the Social Security Administration. The person told him his Social Security number had been compromised. The man then received a second call from a woman claiming to be from the county sheriff’s office. The woman said several credit cards were opened in his name to make payments linked to terrorist groups in foreign countries and aggressively threatened him with jail time. The man said he purchased about $10,000 in gift cards and read their numbers to the scammers.
People who feel they have been victimized or who have received a similar call can file a complaint with the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection by visiting www.attorneygeneral.gov or by calling the office at 1-800-441-2555.