Social Security scams, most often conducted via the telephone, are becoming problematic across the U.S.

Scammers are pretending to be government employees.

Scammers will try to scare you and trick you into giving them your personal information and money.

They may threaten you or your family and may demand immediate payment to avoid arrest or other legal action, according to officials from the Social Security Administration in a recent news release.

To that end, government officials urge residents, especially senior citizens, to do the following things if you receive a suspicious call:

1. Hang up.

2. DO NOT give any monetary or personal information.

3. Report the scam at www.oig.ssa.gov.

Be aware of these things

Social Security officials said to be aware of the following scenarios:

• A call or e-mail says there is a problem with your Social Security number or account.

• Someone asking you to pay a fine or debt with retail gift cards, wire transfers, pre-paid debit cards, internet currency or by mailing cash.

• Scammers pretend they’re from Social Security or another government agency. Caller I.D. or documents sent by e-mail may look official, but they are not.

• Callers threaten you with arrest or other legal action.

Things that shouldn’t occur

Social Security officials said the agency may call you in some situations, but the agency will never:

• Threaten you.

• Suspend your Social Security number.

• Demand immediate payment from you.

• Require payment by cash, gift card, pre-paid debit card or wire transfer.

• Ask for gift card numbers over the phone or to wire or mail cash.

If you receive a questionable call, hang up and report it at www.oig.ssa.gov.

And if fooled, Social Security officials urge residents not to be embarrassed and to report financial loss, as well as share information.

More on Social Security scams can be found online at www.oig.ssa.gov/scam.

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