Scammers impersonating Social Security officials are out to steal identities: Gianaris

Scammers impersonating Social Security officials are out to steal identities: Gianaris
By Bill Parry

State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) issued a warning to New York consumers Monday about a new scam recently uncovered by the Federal Trade Commission in which imposters are tricking people into sharing their Social Security numbers over the phone and through a website. Callers claiming to be representatives of the Social Security Administration are contacting consumers, claiming a computer glitch requires them to ask for their Social Security numbers.

The Social Security Administration does not contact people directly to confirm that information.

“These fraudsters are our to steal identities and wreak havoc on the lives of New Yorkers,” Gianaris said. “I urge everyone to follow common sense advice and never divulge a Social Security number or other personal information to strangers over the phone or Internet.”

Additionally, fake websites have been created to target people seeking new copies of their Social Security cards. New cards are only available by submitting paper documents to the Social Security Administration.

“These scams often target vulnerable New Yorkers, including seniors and new Americans,” Gianaris said. “Everyone should be vigilant about protecting their identities.”

Gianaris urges consumers who receive these calls to contact the Social Security Administration directly at 1(800) 772-1213 with any questions. Gianaris has taken steps to protect consumers from scams and fraud, voting for legislation which would treat financial exploitation of the elderly as larceny and another measure increasing the criminal penalty for identity theft.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.