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Scammers trying to trick residents into giving out personal information

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Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is warning residents of scammers who will try to get them to reveal personal information, including their Social Security and bank information.

Morrisey said the latest scam targets senior citizens: A caller purporting to be a Social Security Administration employee tells them their benefits have been underpaid and need to be adjusted. The caller will tell the individual the payment error is in the process of being fixed, but the department needs their bank routing numbers to complete the transaction.

"These scammers are unfortunately targeting the elderly and making false promises to them in order to get access to their financial information," Morrisey said. "Citizens should try to remain alert and do their homework before giving out any personal information over the phone."

Morrisey warns the public to always be wary of aggressive callers or deals that seem to be too good to be true. He said red flags should always go up if anyone calls out of the blue and asks for personal information, such as a Social Security number, bank routing numbers or credit card numbers.

"During these difficult economic times, many West Virginians are looking for ways to receive some extra cash," he said. "Unfortunately, some people are trying to take advantage of that situation.

"Our office wants to make sure that citizens do not get caught up in something that sounds legitimate but is really a scam."

Do not surrender personal information to unknown callers, even when they say they represent the government, he said. Instead, try to collect as much information about the caller as possible – such as name, title, phone number and address – before hanging up. Then, call the local Social Security Administration office or 800.772.1213 to independently check whether any benefits have changed.
If benefits have not changed, file a report with the Social Security Administration and the Office of the Inspector General by calling 800.269.0271. Reports also may be filed online at https://www.socialsecurity.gov/fraudreport/oig.public_fraud_reporting.form.htm.

Consumers also are urged to report scamming calls to the Attorney Generals' Consumer Protection Division at 800.368.8808 or online at www.wvago.gov.

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