scam alert

Scam Alert

Telephone scams are on the rise, and it seem s that registering with the Do Not Call Registry only filters some of those calls.

Recently, residents of Skiatook have been targeted by social security scams and legal action scams.

The Social Security Administration said, “Recently, we have heard of a number of scams where individuals posing as Social Security employees call and ask for personal information like your name, Social Security number and bank account information. The caller alleges that we need this information so we can issue you additional funds or rebates or they allege that because of a computer glitch your personal information has been lost.”

When in doubt, contact the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) and they can verify the identity of the Social Security employee who has contacted you. The Office of the Inspector General said, “This is a scam; citizens should not engage with these calls or provide any personal information.”

The OIG said, “SSA employees do contact citizens, generally those who have ongoing business with SSA, by telephone for customer-service purposes. However, SSA employees will never threaten you for information; they will not state that you face potential arrest or other legal action if you fail to provide information. In those cases, the call is fraudulent, and you should just hang up. “

To report suspicious activity regarding the SSA, please call the Office of the Inspector General Hotline at 1-800-269-0271. (If you are deaf or hard of hearing, call the OIG TTY number at 1-866-501-2101.)

Other scams leave a message, often without your phone actually ringing and threaten legal action if you do not return the call. The goal is to get a recording of you saying yes, which the scammers then use to show you have agreed to charges, changes to an account, or any other number of things.

Do not return these calls.

• The Federal Communication Commission offers the following tips when dealing with robocalls and texts.

• Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. If you answer such a call, hang up immediately.

• You may not be able to tell right away if an incoming call is spoofed. Be aware: Caller ID showing a “local” number does not necessarily mean it is a local caller.

• If you answer the phone and the caller — or a recording — asks you to hit a button to stop getting the calls, you should just hang up. Scammers often use this trick to identify potential targets.

• Do not respond to any questions, especially those that can be answered with “Yes.”

• Never give out personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden names, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls or if you are at all suspicious.

• If you get an inquiry from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the company’s or government agency’s website to verify the authenticity of the request. You will usually get a written statement in the mail before you get a phone call from a legitimate source, particularly if the caller is asking for a payment.

• Use caution if you are being pressured for information immediately.

To combat these robocalls, you can register for the Do Not Call registry at https://www.donotcall.gov/ or call 1-888-382-1222 from the phone number you want to register. This should limit the number of calls you receive within 31 days.

During the course of writing this article, I received two phone scam calls. They are persistent. Take precautions and do not fall for these scams.

Follow me on Twitter @SkiatookJournal.

E-mail lindsey.chastain@skiatookjournal.com

Managing Editor

Lindsey is the managing editor for the Skiatook Journal. She holds an M.A in English from the University of Central Oklahoma. Prior to the start of her news career in 2011, Renuard was a professor of English at the University of Central Oklahoma.