Police warn of Social Security scam targeting 804, 540, 434 area codes

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RICHMOND, Va. (WHSV) — Virginia State Police have issued a warning about a Social Security scam targeting phones with 804, 540 and 434 area codes.

Police said the caller claims that your Social Security number has been compromised.

The Social Security Administration would never to call to alert you of such problems.

Police said to hang up and never give out your Social Security number over the phone.

Officers and deputies themselves have gotten the call recently.

This is one of many phone scams that involve a caller posing as a figure of authority to take your hard-earned money. Several of the most common scams police have seen include callers pretending to be a family member in need and requesting money to get out of trouble; claiming to be an authority and accusing you of missing jury duty and needing to pay money to avoid arrest; or offering you an opportunity to "make money quick" by sending checks to start a business venture.

A new one the Augusta County Sheriff's Office is warning about involves a scammer finding someone raising money on GoFundMe and contacting them through Instagram to offer payment of the full amount they're raising. But, in order to make that payment, they claim they need a "process fee" from the victim.

Other common phone scams include: people claiming to be tech support, posing as grandchildren, and often pretending to be police.

You should ignore such calls, do not return voicemails and report any victimization to the U.S. Inspector General's Office on Tax Administration at http://1.usa.gov/1ClYZbP or email complaints@tigta.treas.gov or phishing@irs.gov.

If you receive such a call and it's too late to ignore it, get as much information as you can from the caller without giving your own information and then contact your local police department or report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The Winchester Police Department offers the below tips to help avoid falling victim to a telephone scam:

• Be suspicious of callers who demand immediate payments.
• Never give out personal or financial information to unsolicited callers, including: account numbers, social security numbers, passwords or other identifying information.
• Never wire money, provide debt or credit card numbers or Green Dot MoneyPak card numbers to someone you do not know.
• If you get an inquiry from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency seeking personal information, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement or agency's website to verify the authenticity of the request.
• Don’t answer calls from numbers you don’t know. With spoofing becoming more common, question the number on the caller ID. Be cautious and verify the person on the other end of the phone.
• Don’t be afraid to tell the caller you need time to think about your decision. Talk with a trusted friend, family member, or call your local police department.

You can learn more about other scams targeting our area and how to prevent or respond to them at whsv.com/features/scams.