National Slam the Scam Day is March 9

Ron Craig

March 9 is National Slam the Scam Day – the perfect time to learn how to spot scams, especially Social Security scams.
There are four basic signs of a scam. First, scammers pretend to be from a familiar organization or agency, such as the Social Security Administration. They may email attachments with official-looking logos, seals, signatures or pictures of employee credentials.
Second, scammers mention a problem or a prize. They may say your Social Security number was involved in a crime or ask for personal information to process an increase in your benefits.
Third, scammers pressure you to act immediately. They may threaten you with arrest or other legal action if you do not fully go along with their instructions. This is done to get you to act quickly and not allow you time to check into the situation before you send payment.
Fourth, scammers tell you to pay using a gift card, prepaid debit card, crypto currency, wire money transfer or by mailing cash. They may also tell you to transfer money to a “safe” account. You should ignore such instructions and report it to the SSA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG).
Remember that the SSA will never call, text or email you unless you have made contact with them. They will only mail you a letter advising you of any problem or issue, and they will never ask you to pay with a gift card, a prepaid debit card or a wire transfer. If you truly owe SSA money, they will ask you to pay with a regular check and to send that check by mail.
Because many people depend on their monthly Social Security check, they are so fearful of losing it, they will do just about anything to prevent it. Add to that the threats of arrest and you’ll have many seniors shaking in their boots. These factors are the scammers’ biggest tools they use to instill fear into citizens’ minds, making it so hard to thwart these scams.
If you think you are being scammed, take a deep breath and contact your local law enforcement agency before you send anyone any money. Chances are you will never recoup that money.
Sadly, I had a woman from Toledo call me last week who told me of her aunt who has lost her life savings to a scammer. She said her aunt, who lives in Oregon, Ohio, thinks the story the scammer is telling her is real and that several family members have tried to convince her of the reality of the situation. So sad!
This article is a public service from the Community Policing/Crime Prevention Division of the Lake Township Police Department. Township residents may obtain further information on crime prevention and public safety topics by contacting Ron Craig, crime prevention specialist/community policing officer, at 419-481-6354.


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