03 Aug SOCIAL SECURITY IMPERSONATION SCAM
Dr. Sherry McCoy PhD
is a freelance writer & actor for the Stop Senior Scams Acting Program (SSSAP) in Los Angeles. Follow SSSAP on Facebook . For more info re: SSSAP, contact Adrienne Omansky at SSSAP4U@gmail.com. Questions for the writer should be directed to “Dear Sherry” at Not Born Yesterday! P.O. Box 722, Brea, CA 92822 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“SOCIAL SECURITY IMPERSONATION SCAM”
Dr. Sherry McCoy, PhD – Stop Senior Scams℠ Acting Program
It is August 2020 and it is hot out there! Summer is full on, and sadly, so is the coronavirus pandemic. Most of us are still under Stay-At-Home orders, so hopefully we are staying indoors where it is usually cooler than the rising temperatures outside. Meanwhile, however, regardless of whether the weather is hot or cold, whether it’s summer or winter, and regardless of whether there’s a worldwide pandemic going on, or not — scammers are just as busy as they ever were, and perhaps, even more so than before the pandemic. Afterall, they have a captive audience with everyone staying indoors at home. So, let’s be prepared and get one up on the scammers. Let’s take a look at the Social Security Impersonation Scam and how it works.
Imagine … You’re at home, peacefully minding your own business, reading a new novel or your favorite recipe book, sipping a tall, cold glass of iced lemonade, when the phone rings. The voice on the other end of the line identifies himself as a representative from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Sorry, he says, I don’t mean to alarm you, but your Social Security number has been compromised and a vehicle registered in your name was found at the scene of a crime. Your Social Security number was also used to set up bank accounts connected with a drug cartel. A moment later, the caller transfers you to someone who identifies himself as a DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) investigator. The alleged DEA investigator instructs you to wire all of your available assets to an offshore account where those funds will be protected while legal action is taken against the drug cartel. And to top it all off, the purported DEA investigator warns you that if you don’t cooperate, it will be assumed you are working with the drug cartel and you’ll be arrested.
Sound crazy? Unbelievable? Think again! This is exactly what happened to Machel Andersen, who testified on January 29, 2020, before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging’s Hearing called “That’s Not the Government Calling: Protecting Seniors from the Social Security Impersonation Scam.” https://www.aging.senate.gov/hearings/thats-not-the-government-calling-protecting-seniors-from-the-social-security-impersonation-scam Machel Andersen was scammed out of $150,000+ by criminals running the Social Security Impersonation Scam. You can read Mrs. Andersen’s chilling testimony here — https://www.aging.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/SCA_Andersen_01_29_2020.pdf
Important Info Re Social Security Impersonation Scam and Other Scams
Sadly, there are a lot of other Americans who have fallen prey to this scam. According to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging (USSSCA), the Social Security Impersonation Scam was the #1 scam reported to their Fraud Hotline (1-855-303-9470) in 2019. https://www.aging.senate.gov/press-releases/senate-aging-committee-shines-spotlight-on-social-security-scamthe-1-reported-scam-to-fraud-hotline- Per the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Americans lost nearly $38M to this scam in 2019. The Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General received over 115,000 complaints re: this scam in less than three months from late 2019 to early 2020. For more detailed information, see the USSSCA’s 2020 Fraud Book, which identifies the top 10 scams that target and victimize seniors in America. https://www.aging.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Fraud%20Book%20%202020.pdf
What You Can Do to Protect Yourself from Scammers
If you receive a suspicious call, just hang up and call the USSSCA’s Fraud Hotline at 1-855-303-0470. You may also report scams to the Federal Trade Commission at 877-382-4357 or https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1. If you have questions about Medicare fraud / abuse, or believe you have been the victim of Medicare fraud please contact the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) at 1-855-613-7080. For more info regarding California SMP, go to www.cahealthadvocates.org. Contact the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office online at http://da.lacounty.gov// or phone (213) 974-3512.
STOP SENIOR SCAMS℠ ACTING PROGRAM is on YOUTUBE!
Although the Stop Senior Scams ℠ Acting Program (SSSAP) in-person performances are on hold during this time of the coronavirus pandemic, we are committed to continuing our education program through our videos on Zoom. Our first video was released in early June, “Stop Senior Scams Acting Program and Medicare Telehealth Fraud.” You can view it here — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVlvmPwAa3I&t=40s Our second video is about scams that target veterans, and will be released mid-July. Please subscribe (free of charge) to the SSSAP YouTube Channel and you’ll be notified when new videos are released! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjFjb-WPPr8KAXq1dlu1EvA Together we can combat fraud!
Remember: You may be a target, but you don’t have to be a victim!
Dr. Sherry McCoy, PhD, is a freelance writer & actor for the Stop Senior Scams ℠ Acting Program (SSSAP) in Los Angeles. For more information, please contact Adrienne Omansky at SSSAP4U@gmail.com. Follow SSSAP on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SSSAP2016/?fref=ts. Questions for the writer should be directed to “Dear Sherry” at Not Born Yesterday! P.O. Box 722, Brea, CA 92822 or email@example.com.