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Q: I’ve received two calls from someone claiming to be from Social Security about my account. What should we do?


Answer: Late last year, the Social Security Administration issued a warning about an ongoing caller-ID scheme in which the scammers were displaying SSA’s 800 number. “This is a scam; citizens should not engage with those calls or provide any personal information,” according to the SSA.

“People who have accepted the calls said the caller identifies as an SSA employee. 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. 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.”

SSA employees do contact citizens by telephone for customer-service purposes, and in some situations, an SSA employee may request the citizen confirm personal information over the phone, according to the report. “However, SSA employees will never threaten you for information or promise a Social Security benefit approval or increase in exchange for information. In those cases, the call is fraudulent, and you should just hang up.”

If you receive a suspicious call from someone claiming to be from SSA, you can report it to the Office of the Inspector General at 800-269-0271 or online at

Q: I have been trying to get a street light repaired for over a month on Wentworth Road. Every time I call it’s a big runaround.


Answer: “This light is now working,” said Laura Whitaker, a spokeswoman with the Winston-Salem Department of Transportation. “There was an issue with a damaged photo control, which is why there was a delay in fixing the light.”

Q: We have a family burial plot in a privately-held cemetery here. The roots on an old tree on the edge of our family plot have grown recently and are threatening to knock over a headstone. What should we do? Who would shoulder the burden of the tree removal?


Answer: Without knowing which cemetery you are referring to, a spokeswoman for the N.C. Cemetery Commission said it was unclear whether that location falls under their jurisdiction or not.

In any event, the Cemetery Commission recommends as a first step that you “contact the cemetery management and attempt to resolve the problem. Most problems are resolved by the management if within their ability to do so.”

If that doesn’t work, you can file a complaint with the Cemetery Commission; a form can be found on their website at

Note To Readers

As happens every summer, we are starting to get questions from people concerned because their favorite TV reporter or anchor has not been on the air for several days. In many cases, this is because they are taking vacation time, and in those cases we will respect their privacy.

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

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