– Special to WEKY AM 1340 –
An elderly Mount Sterling couple fell victim to a phone scammer pretending to be with the Social Security Administration who tricked them out of personal information including Social Security and bank account numbers.
The woman called Better Business Bureau® serving Central & Eastern Kentucky and said a man using the name “John Mullins” called her home Saturday morning. He gave a badge number and said he was calling from the Social Security Office in Baltimore, Maryland. He told her she would be receiving a $106 increase in her monthly Social Security benefits.
He went on to ask for her date of birth, Social Security number and bank account information. When she hesitated to provide it, he told her that if she refused, her Social Security benefits would be cut off entirely.
This frightened the victim, so she gave the information to the caller. He then wanted to speak to her husband, who also gave the scammer the same information. Meantime, the wife searched on her cell phone for the area code on the Caller ID display where the call originated and found it was “876,” which is in Jamaica. She told her husband to hang up.
The couple called their bank to take steps to keep the criminals from accessing their accounts. They called BBB for advice and to warn others of the scam. BBB told them how to place fraud alerts on their credit reports, and to file a police report for ID theft.
BBB reminds citizens:
· Government agencies DO NOT call or e-mail you out of the blue for any reason.
· Government agency communications come by mail.
· Do NOT give information over the phone to someone claiming to be with a government agency who calls you unsolicited, no matter what threats they make. Look up the agency number you know to be correct and call yourself to confirm any communication.
Contact the Better Business Bureau serving Central & Eastern Kentucky to check out companies, charities, or to report problems and scams by calling the Lexington office at (859) 259-1008 or toll-free 1-800-866-6668. Services are also available by logging on to www.bbb.org/lexington.