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FRIDAY, JULY 13, 2007
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Social Security warns of scam

By Seth Burkett
sburkett@decaturdaily.com 340-2355

The Social Security Administration warned Thursday about scam artists claiming to be administration employees in order to obtain personal information from Social Security recipients.

Trisha Pruitt, regional vice president of the Business Bureau, said the BBB received several complaints Thursday from people who were called and told they were entitled to additional Social Security benefits.

One caller was told he or she would receive a lump sum of $5,000, and another was told he or she would receive an additional $300 on each check, Pruitt said.

In both cases, the caller asked for a Social Security number, bank account number and other personal information.

Social Security was not behind the calls, Pruitt said.

"Social Security already has your Social Security number and wouldn't need to ask for it. Nor would they ask for your bank account number," she said.

Unknown callers

Pruitt said not to give out personal information over the phone to unknown callers. Anyone who has already made this mistake needs to call his bank immediately to put a fraud alert on the account, and to notify credit reporting agencies to put a fraud alert on his credit file, she said.

A statement issued by the Social Security Administration said that such scams have surfaced throughout the United States recently, and that callers identifying themselves as Social Security employees used a variety of approaches to trick people into giving personal information.

If you have doubts about someone claiming to be a Social Security representative, call (800) 772-1213 to verify the legitimacy of the call. To report suspicious activity, call the Office of Inspector General at (800) 269-0271.

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