TOMS RIVER – Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari is advising senior citizens to be aware of a potential Social Security Administration (SSA) Employee impersonation scam.
“With Ocean County being home to more than 173,000 seniors, it is important to make sure residents are aware of scams so that they can protect themselves,” said Vicari, who serves as Chairman to Senior Services and also Consumer Affairs. “I encourage citizens to be cautious when providing information such as your Social Security number or bank information to unknown persons over the phone or the internet.”
The Ocean County Office of Senior Services and Department of Consumer Affairs have been receiving reports from across the county about phone calls from individuals posing as SSA employees.
According to the scam reports, the caller attempts to obtain personal information from victims and then change the victim’s direct deposit address and telephone information on file with the SSA.
The complaints indicate that the impersonator calls and claims to be a SSA employee. In some cases, the caller tells the victim that they are due for a cost of living increase in their Social Security benefits to entice the victim into giving their personal information including their name, date of birth, Social Security Number, and parents’ names. The impersonator will then ask the victim to verify information in order to receive the increase. If the impersonator is successful, then they use the information to contact the SSA and request changes to the information on file.
Although Social Security employees occasionally contact by telephone for customer service purposes, they will not request sensitive material from a citizen over the phone. If you receive a suspicious call from someone alleging to be from the SSA, you should report the call to the SSA.
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“When handing out personal information, residents should make sure they are certain as to who is receiving the information,” Vicari said. “You must be very confident that the source is the correct business person and that your information is secure.”
For further information, residents can contact the Ocean County Office of Senior Services at 732-929-2091 or the Ocean County Department of Consumer Affairs at 732-929-2105.