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Sheriff: Beware of Social Security Scam

Officials say Social Security and Medicare employees will never make an unsolicited call to ask for confidential information.

The Putnam County Sheriff's Office released this statement Thursday morning:

CARMEL, N.Y. — Putnam County Sheriff Donald B. Smith is alerting all Putnam County residents of a scam being conducted on parts of the east coast in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

The information, furnished by Putnam County’s Office for the Aging, indicates that on Monday, Nov. 5, a telephone call was placed to a Rhode Island family from an individual purporting to be a representative from the Social Security Administration. The caller proceeded to tell the woman answering the phone that her husband’s Social Security benefits would be delayed for five months due to computer problems caused by Hurricane Sandy. The recipient of the phone call immediately hung up the phone when the caller asked for her husband’s Social Security number. The complainant contacted the office of her US Senator, Jack Reed, to report the incident.

According to Sen. Reed’s office, Social Security and Medicare employees will never make an unsolicited call, for any reason, to ask for banking or credit card information, or for a Social Security or Medicare number. Medicare cards do not cost anything—they are free.

Sheriff Smith believes that the dissemination of this information is vital to the health, safety and welfare of our citizens.

“Scams are becoming more prevalent these days,” said the Sheriff. "This type of scheme, however, is particularly distasteful because, it not only preys on those depending on their benefits; it also uses a natural disaster to perpetrate illegal activity. Never release personal information to anyone without first knowing to whom this information is being given and why it is being asked. Always verify the authenticity of the person or agency making the request."

Michael Dwells November 16, 2012 at 05:23 AM
Is this the same scam reported at http://www.callercenter.com? I've read that these scammers were also soliciting money for the victims. This must be really desperate times for these scammers to resort to such low acts.

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