If you get a call from someone claiming to be from the Social Security Administration — or some law enforcement agency claiming to represent them — you might be targeted by scammers.
The New York Police Department says it’s received more than 200 complaints so far this year from people who said they’ve been duped by this scheme. In all, some $2 million have been taken from victims.
“Sophisticated phone scams use the trust victims have in their own governmental and law enforcement agencies against them,” said Nilda Hofmann, the NYPD’s chief of community affairs, in a release. “Victims of this type of phone scam are not limited to senior citizens — these criminals are targeting every strata of society, and every demographic is vulnerable.”
Victims are reportedly told their Social Security number has been used to open numerous accounts, or is being used in some sort of drug trafficking or money laundering operation. To avoid being arrested, they are told to send various amounts of money — usually by prepaid gift cards, bitcoin or bank wire transfers.
Police warn that neither law enforcement nor the Social Security Administration will ask people to submit money over the phone. If someone gets such a call, they are advised to immediately hang up the phone.
If someone has indeed lost money to this scam, they are asked to file a police report at their local precinct.