Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office

MAYS LANDING – The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office pis advising residents about calls from spammers saying they are calling from the Social Security office asking for personal information.

Chief of County Investigators Bruce DeShields said he personally received a scam call and a recorded voice message stating the caller was from the Social Security office in reference to his account, and if he did not replay, enforcement action would be taken against him. The message supplied him with a reference number to use when calling.

“I was then given the option to push button one to speak with an officer,” DeShields said. “ After pushing button 1, a live person came on the phone and he asked for my reference number. I told him I did not write the number down. He then asked for my information. I in turn asked him for his name. He told me his name was Officer Leo Starr. I asked him where he was based out of, and he said El Paso Texas. I asked him for a contact number and he supplied me with an 866 number. I then stated to him that Social Security puts out information and they only make contact by mail and do not call.”

The man then told DeShields it was an “enforcement investigation,” pertaining to his Social Security account.

“I asked him for the name of his supervisor, and he asked me why. I told him that if he is a real officer he would have a supervisor, but he could not supply me with a name. I told him I was a Law Enforcement Officer and that this was a fraudulent call and that I was going to report him. He hung up,” DeShields said.

The latest scam trick of using robocalls or live callers has increased. Fraudsters pretend to be government employees and claim there is identity theft or another problem with one’s Social Security number, account, or benefits, DeShields said in a release.

Scammers may threaten arrest or other legal action, or may offer to increase benefits, protect assets, or resolve identity theft. They often demand payment via retail gift cards, wire transfers, pre-paid debit cards, internet currency, or mailing cash.

According to the Social Security Administration website, if there is a problem, Social Security will mail you a letter. Generally, Social Security will only contact you if you have requested a call or have ongoing business with the administration.

“This was a very elaborate call and set up. We want to warn the public of such scams and not to give personal information or send anyone money that they are not familiar with. The public needs to remember that Social Security only makes contact by mail, they do not make phone calls,” DeShields said.

The public should look out for:

  • A caller saying there is a problem with your Social Security number or account.
  • Any call asking you to pay a fine or debt with retail gift cards, wire transfers, pre-paid debit cards, internet currency, or by mailing cash.
  • Scammers pretending they’re from Social Security or another government agency. Caller ID or documents sent by email may look official, but they are not.

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Categories: Downbeach

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.