Virginia police warn of social security scam

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — Another scam targeting victims' social security numbers seems to be popping up across the commonwealth.

Here's a transcription of a call received by a Harrisonburg resident:

"This call is from the Department of Social Security Administration. The reason you have received this phone call from our department is to inform you that we just suspended your social security number because we found some suspicious activity."

The message continues and instructs the person to press 1 to learn more about the case.

Virginia State Police said the scam has been reported in area codes 540, 434 and 804.

But the Social Security Administration will never contact you to alert you to such problems.

"You would get a formal letter through the mail or somebody would maybe come to your house but they're not going to call you," said Sgt. Brent Coffey with Virginia State Police's Culpeper Division.

He recommended people share information about the scam with family members before they fall victim. You should never give out your Social Security number over the phone.

Social security-related scams can be reported to the Office of the Inspector General.

If you get the call, you should hang up immediately.

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.

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).

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