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Posted: April 01, 2008

Caregiver Alert: Scam Targets Elderly's Social Security Numbers

Families have been alerted to beware of a new scam targeted at seniors. Called "the Social Security Scam," a telemarketer attempts to elicit an elderly person's bank account and Social Security numbers by posing as a government representative.

A number of the reports have surfaced nationwide, indicating that either the scam has been "syndicated" among criminals or that it is a large, sophisticated operation.

The common factor is a caller who claims to be an employee of the Social Security Administration, and who tells the aging victim they are due to receive new Social Security cards. In some cases they may be told they are entitled to free "medical" cards.

The caller tells the victim they need to verify some personal information. Included in the questions are requests for personal information that can be used to steal the victim's identity.

"This is particularly disturbing since the ploy can often trick people into thinking they must comply or face difficulties later if they don't receive a new social security card," said Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter. "Remember, the federal government and legitimate businesses will not ask you for bank account or Social Security numbers over the phone."

The Social Security Administration, meanwhile, warns senior citizens not to give personal information to any caller claiming to be from the government. Carter warns seniors to guard their personal and financial information carefully from unsolicited callers.

"Bad things can happen when the wrong people get a hold of social security, bank account, and credit card numbers," he said. "Accounts can be drained before you realize what has happened, and fraudulent credit established under your name. Rectifying these events can take several years and hundreds of dollars."

(Article courtesy of ConsumerAffairs.com)

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