Man warns of social security scam after he falls for gimmick
BATON ROUGE - Reports to 2 On Your Side about various scam calls are high. One man recently lost some of his social security benefits to a fast-talking thief.
A month ago, Kelvin Odell got a call from a number he didn't recognize and answered the phone. The person on the other end of the line said they were calling from the Social Security Administration and Odell was being considered for an increase in benefits.
It wasn't until the first week of November did Odell know what happened. That's when he went to withdraw money and found that his November benefits had yet to be deposited. He called the Social Security Administration to find out where the benefits were.
"It turns out that the funds were rerouted, my address had been changed, a lot of things were in question concerning my benefits," Odell said.
It was then Odell realized he'd been scammed. He said the person who called him said they were in the process of updating his file, and Odell's benefits were being considered for an increase. He remembers going over some of his personal information with the person on the phone, including his bank account number and address.
Odell says he thought it was a genuine phone call because the person spoke about the cost of living and why he might need an increase in benefits.
The case was sent to the SSA fraud department and it's in the process of being corrected. The SSA tells 2 On Your Side if you'd don't have ongoing business with them, the SSA will probably not call you.
There are a few ways to identify a scam call. Remember that the SSA will never:
- Threaten benefit suspension, arrest, or other legal action unless a fine or fee is paid.
- Promise a benefit increase or other assistance in exchange for payment.
- Require payment by retail gift card, cash, wire transfer, internet currency, or prepaid debit card.
- Demand secrecy in handling a Social Security-related problem.
- Send official letters or reports containing personally identifiable information via email.
Odell still hasn't received his benefits for November but hopes to have them by Wednesday. He says he'll be much more cautious about incoming calls in the future.
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