Prompted by a wave of scammer calls targeting Oregonians, state officials are warning people to be on the alert.
The Oregon Department of Revenue said Friday, Aug. 9, that it is experiencing an uptick in "concerned taxpayers reporting fishy phone calls."
Scammers use a variety of methods to try to con people out of their money. The scam that has the Revenue Department on edge lately involves callers fraudulently claiming to be from the Social Security Administration.
A person targeted by this scam will receive a call in which the person on the other end of the line will identify themselves as a Social Security Administration representative and warn that the call recipient's Social Security account or number may be deactivated because of "suspicious activity." The caller may then ask for financial information, such as a bank account or credit card number, or ask the recipient to "verify" their Social Security number.
The caller may be either a live person or an automated recording.
In some cases, scammers use a "spoofing" device so that the number that appears on caller ID is the actual Social Security Administration number, 1-800-772-1213.
It is not difficult for an expert scammer to fake a phone number, and the tactic has become increasingly common as scammers try to thwart caller ID. Just because the number appears to be legitimate does not mean that the call is actually coming from the number that is listed on caller ID.
Personal information like bank account and Social Security numbers can be used by scammers to defraud people and steal their money. Officials urge people to never give this information out over the phone.
The Social Security Administration does not ask for bank, credit card or Social Security information over the phone.
If you receive a suspicious call from someone claiming to be from the Social Security Administration, hang up immediately and call 1-800-772-1213 to speak with a real Social Security Administration representative.
"We encourage the public to protect themselves by verifying they're speaking with authorized representatives of the Social Security Administration if they have any questions about the legitimacy of the call," said the Oregon Revenue Department's director, Nia Ray, in a statement.
It is illegal to impersonate a federal employee. Violators could face up to three years in prison.
The Office of the Inspector General maintains a tipline for people to report scam calls at 1-800-269-0271 or on the Inspector General's website. Scam reports can also be filed with the Federal Trade Commission on on the consumer protection commission's website.
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