Social Security impersonation scam impacting Montanans

 

August 22, 2019



Calls are being received across the state of Montana by someone pretending to be a Social Security Administration (SSA) employee. The intent of these calls is to steal the victim’s identity and/or money directly from their bank account.

Various versions of the scam have been reported throughout Montana: claiming the recipient’s Social Security number has been suspended due to suspicious activity; talking about enrollment in the Medicare prescription drug program; claiming the SSA computers are down; or offering a lower-cost health plan if someone in the person’s family had cancer are a few examples.

The calls sound official and are designed by con-artists to get around their victim’s logic and caution by creating a sense of urgency and fear.

“It is important for Montanans to be aware of the existence of these potentially life-altering scams so our citizens, particularly those in our most vulnerable populations can protect themselves and their livelihoods,” said Renee Labrie-Shanks, Montana Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) Program Manager with Missoula Aging Services. The following are simple steps all Montanans can take to protect themselves and their loved ones:


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• Never answer the phone if you don’t recognize the number. If it is important the caller will leave a message.

• If you do answer the phone, do not press one, do not engage in dialogue about your personal life, and do not under any circumstances give out your Social Security number, your Medicare number, your bank account number, your birthdate or any other personal information.

If you suspect someone of impersonating the Social Security Administration, call the SSA OIG Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271 with caller’s alleged name, telephone number, time and date call was made, and information requested by the caller. If you have given out personal information, call your local Montana SMP at 1-800-551-3191.

Montana SMP is a statewide program designed to educate consumers about healthcare fraud, waste and abuse prevention. Missoula Aging Services administers the program throughout the state.

For more information on this scam and how it is impacting the lives of Montanans, contact Missoula Aging Services at 406-728-7682.

 

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