By Kelly Phillips Erb
The Social Security Administration issued a warning today about an ongoing Office of the Inspector General (OIG) impersonation scheme. The scheme echoes a pattern where thieves pretend to be from government agencies, like those involving scammers posing as callers from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
In the most recent scam, folks are reporting suspicious phone calls allegedly from the OIG. Specifically, the caller identifies as “Gale Stone” and states the person’s Social Security number (SSN) is at risk of being deactivated or deleted. The scammers are hoping that name sounds familiar: the Acting Inspector General of Social Security is Gale Stallworth Stone. It's also worth noting that Social Security numbers don't have an expiration date, and you don't have to re-activate or confirm them for them to be valid.
While variations on the scam exist, typically the caller advises the victim to call a particular phone number to resolve the issue. Do notcall the number or engage with the scammer (even if you think you can get the better of them). The better tack is just to hang up. You can also report the information to the OIG at 1.800.269.0271 or online.
Above all, the real Inspector General Stone urges you to be cautious and to avoid providing information such as your SSN or bank account numbers to unknown persons over the phone or internet unless you are sure who is asking.