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Police Reports

Maple Park woman foils Social Security scammer

Suspicions were aroused when caller wanted eBay gift cards

H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com
Crystal Lake police crusier on Monday, March 30, 2015.
H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com Crystal Lake police crusier on Monday, March 30, 2015.

MAPLE PARK – A resident of the 3N000 block of Meredith Road, Maple Park, reported May 18 to the Kane County Sheriff’s deputies that she was nearly the victim of a Social Security scam phone call.

The resident told deputies that she received a call from a man claiming to be from the Houston Social Security office and that her identity was being used by someone involved with illegal drugs and trafficking, the report stated.

Though he said he was calling from Houston, the phone number was out of Massachusetts.

He told her he knew her address and asked about her credit cards and bank accounts; he then told her to buy eBay gift cards at Walgreen's, the report stated.

She did provide him with the last four digits of her Social Security number – but after the eBay gift cards request, she started to second-guess the call, the report stated.

The caller then threatened her with marshals coming to her house – and she hung up, the report stated.

The woman told police she would call her bank the next day about her accounts.

The deputy advised her to contact an identity theft protection company as a precaution.

The deputy researched the phone number and found multiple websites stating it was a scam caller, the report stated.

The Federal Trade Commission advises that the scam starts with a caller who says a person’s Social Security number has been suspended because of suspicious activity or it’s been involved in a crime, according to its website, www.consumer.ftc.gov.

Sometimes the caller wants a person to confirm the number to reactivate it – often involving putting money on gift cards and then giving him the codes, the website stated.

The FTC advises that the Social Security Administration will never call to threaten benefits or tell you to wire money, send cash or put money on gift cards – and anyone who tells you to do that is a scammer.

No one should give out any part of their Social Security number, bank account or credit card to anyone, the FTC advises.

The real Social Security Administration number is 800-772-1213. Even if a scammer puts that number in the caller ID, hang up and call it to speak to the real SSA.

Anyone who gets one of these calls can tell the FTC at www.ftc.gov/complaint.

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