Last week a married couple, Mehulkumar Manubhai Patel and Chaitali Dave were sentenced to prison in Georgia for their role in a Social Security phone scam. Phone scammers calling from India called targeted victims in the United States telling them that their Social Security numbers were somehow involved in crimes. The victims were then threatened with arrest and huge financial penalties unless they mailed cash to criminal accessories such as Patel and Dave located in the United States. According to Acting U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine, “International call centers continue to victimize the elderly and most vulnerable members of our community.” Making the problem worse is that through a technique called “spoofing” scammers are able to manipulate your Caller ID so that the call you receive appears to come from the Social Security Administration, U.S. Marshall or some other legitimate agency.
No law enforcement agency will ever call you and demand a payment in cash to resolve a problem so whenever you get a call such as this, you can feel confident it is a scam. An easy way to avoid becoming a victim of similar scams where scammers call posing as the Social Security Administration is to remember that the Social Security Administration will never initiate any contact with you by telephone call, email or text message. Any communication you receive in this manner that is not in response to your own telephone call or email is a scam. On a larger scale, it is important to remember that you can never be sure whenever you get an email, text message or phone call as to who is really contacting you so you should never give a credit card number, gift card number, wire funds, send cash or provide personal information to anyone in response to an email, text message or phone call unless you have independently confirmed that the communication was legitimate and that information from you is absolutely required. Trust me, you can’t trust anyone.
For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.” Scamicide was recently cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.
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