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Norma Gellerstein didn’t like the idea of people getting scammed out of their money.
“I don’t want anybody else to get scammed,” she said. “This is ridiculous.”
That was the reason why when the Sunrise resident recently received a call from someone claiming to be with the Social Security Administration, she took action.
“I called 911 and 911 told me that it’s a scam,” she said.
Norma was among a growing number of people who have received suspicious calls from scammers posing as social security employees and asking for personal information. She did not fall for the scam.
“He just kept talking and I just hung up,” she said.
But one person told our NBC station in Dallas they were scammed out of $300. Another consumer wrote: “They are saying that your bank accounts are frozen and that you have arrest warrants in your name.”
“When they tell you what’s going on and you don’t respond how they expect you to respond with concern or worry, they start to get very pushy and threatening,” said Cinthya Lavin of the Better Business Bureau of Southeast Florida.
The BBB told NBC 6 Responds there had been a substantial increase in complaints about the so-called social security scam in the past year.
“Anybody can be targeted,” Cinthya said.
One consumer told the BBB they had been scammed out of more than $5,000.
“The terrible part about this is that you can’t find these scammers,” Cinthya said. “They work from all over the world and they know the system, they know what to say and you can’t track that money back.”
That was why Norma said she was glad she hung up. She wanted others to do the same if they received a similar call. She also had a simple message to scammers.
“We’ve worked hard for our money,” she said. “Leave us alone.”
If you get a call you’re unsure about, you can always hang up and call the Social Security Administration directly to see if they are legitimately trying to reach you. It is never a good idea to give your social security number or bank information over the phone.
To read more about scams involving the impersonation of a Social Security Administration employee visit the Office of the Inspector General’s website.
If you fall victim to this scam (or any others), you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission. To learn more about how to file a consumer complaint with the FTC, click here.
The BBB also keeps track of scams nationwide. You can check out their Scam Tracker or report a scam to them by clicking here.