Q: In the last few days we have received numerous robocalls from someone who says they are an agent of the Social Security Commission and that our social security card has been used fraudulently in southwest Texas. They give numerous options of buttons to push to talk to someone, etc. Is this legitimate or one of the many scams that are floating around these days? I have hung up every time, but the numerous calls are irritating.

E.M.

Answer: This is another version of a scam that has been circulating for awhile now. Sometimes the scheme involves using technology to spoof an 800 number to make it seem like a legitimate call from the Social Security Administration.

“In some cases, the caller states that SSA does not have all of the person’s personal information, such as their Social Security number (SSN), on file,” according to the SSA. “Other callers claim SSA needs additional information so the agency can increase the person’s benefit payment, or that SSA will terminate the person’s benefits if they do not confirm their information. This appears to be a widespread issue, as reports have come from citizens across the country.”

If you get a call from Social Security, they will never:

  • Claim that your Social Security number is about to be suspended if you don’t verify your SSA number, or that your number was already suspended and you’ll need to confirm it to “reactivate” it;
  • Threaten to seize your bank accounts;
  • Make demands for immediate payment, or demand that you pay a debt without the ability to appeal the amount you owe;
  • Require a specific means of payment, such as using a prepaid credit card, gift card or money transfer;
  • Threaten you for information;
  • Ask you for credit or debit card numbers over the phone;
  • Promise a Social Security benefit or increase in exchange for information;
  • Threaten you with arrest or deportation.

If you receive a suspicious call or email from someone claiming to be from SSA, do not provide them with any information. Hang up immediately, and report it to the Office of the Inspector General at 800-269-0271 or online at oig.ssa.gov/report.

You can also contact Social Security directly at 800-772-1213 and ask to speak with someone there, rather than calling a number the possible scammer provides.

“Remember that scammers try to stay a step ahead of the curve,” according to the SSA. “You can do the same by protecting your information.”

Q: For the past week, the 100 block of Arbor Road has been closed by barricades, but there is no obvious work being done. Do you know why it is, and remains, closed to car traffic?

C.B.

Answer: There was a miscommunication regarding a collapsing storm drain, according to Laura Whitaker, a spokeswoman for the Winston-Salem Department of Transportation. The barricades should not have been placed there, and have now been removed, she said.

Shredding

The shred event scheduled at Mount Tabor United Methodist Church for April 4 has been rescheduled to June 20.

Email: AskSAM@wsjournal.com

Online: journalnow.com/asksam

Write: Ask SAM, 418 N. Marshall St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101 

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