TUCSON – Shirley Corrales received three phone messages recently, containing threats about her Social Security benefits. “I was mad they called so many times,” the 75-year-old west side resident told the News 4 Tucson Investigators.
Shirley didn’t save the messages, but says all of them came from a woman claiming to be from the Social Security Administration. She said Shirley’s benefits had been suspended because her Social Security number had been used questionably. She told Shirley to call back to confirm her personal information.
Shirley says the messages, “were intimidating.” Still, she knew from news reports this was a scam and did not call back. She says about the fraudsters, “That to me is unimaginable. For them to prey on somebody that only has Social Security.”
The scam is so widespread that the Inspector General put out a fraud advisory, warning the public about it.
“It’s a really big problem right now,” said Susann Miller, a spokesperson for the Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona. Miller said the BBB’s Scam Tracker site is getting many reports nationwide about these calls.
If you get one of these calls, Miller advises, “Just hang up. If you think that this may be a legitimate issue, then call directly to the Social Security Administration.”
Shirley Corrales said, “These people that only live on Social Security and fall for these scams, it’s despicable to me that [the fraudsters] they do that.”
The Social Security Administration does occasionally call people for customer service purposes. In only a few special situations, usually already known to the recipient, the SSA employee may ask you to confirm personal information over the phone. Again, if you have any doubt about the call’s legitimacy, hang up and call Social Security, at 1-800-772-1213 (7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday) or go to the agency’s local office.
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