County joins national effort in warning the public of social security scam

The Office of Consumer Protection has joined nationwide groups concerned over scammers posing as SSA employees

The Gloucester County Office of Consumer Protection is joining nationwide groups, including the Office of the Inspector General, in highlighting the continued concern over scammers posing as Social Security Administration employees.

“I am very cautious even answering my phone at home, that the person on the end of the phone may be trying to get my personal information,” Freeholder Director Robert M. Damminger said. “The Social Security Administration has identified a scheme where callers posing as SSA employees try to get people’s personal information and we are warning our residents that the SSA will not contact you by phone to ask for your personal information.”

The most recent alert of July 19 states the impersonator calls from a telephone number with a 323 area code and in some cases tells the victim they are due a 1.7 percent cost-of-living increase in their social security benefits.

“Education and awareness are the first lines of defense for helping and preventing identity theft problems,” said Freeholder Lyman Barnes, liaison to the Office of Consumer Protection.

Barnes said the county offers senior groups and civic organizations seminars in how to prevent falling victim to all types of scams.

“It is important to take the necessary steps and become educated on what to do if you become a victim of identity theft. That is why our Office of Consumer Protection is offering guidance on this scam and others,” Barnes said.

SSA employees will at times call citizens by telephone for customer-service purposes, but would not request sensitive personal information from a citizen over the phone. If you do receive such a call where the caller states they are from the SSA, you can report that information to the Office of Inspector General at 1–800–269–0271, or online at https://oig.ssa.gov/report.

In its ongoing efforts, the County Office of Consumer Protection continues to offer the public and civic organizations workshops on identity theft and how to protect personal information. For more information or to schedule a presentation by one of the county’s investigators, call the Office of Consumer Protection at (856) 384–6855.