Beware of Social Security Phone Scam in Middleton

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On 01/29/20, a Middleton resident reported receiving phone calls from two individuals claiming to be from the Middleton Police Department regarding misuse of her social security number.  The individuals, claiming to be Officer Marshall and Chief Troy Hellenbrand, told the victim that they were working on finding the people who used her social security number.  They told the victim to purchase two gift cards in case her account couldn't be accessed later and, in order to verify that her personal information wasn't compromised, she needed to send them pictures of the front and back of the gift cards. While there is not an Officer Marshall employed by the Middleton Police Department, Chief Troy Hellenbrand is the Chief of Police.



According to the Inspector General of Social Security, this is one of the latest variations on Social Security phone scams, which continue to be widespread throughout the United States.  Using robocalls or live callers , fraudsters pretend to be government employees and claim there is identity theft or another problem with one’s Social Security number, account, or benefits.  They may threaten arrest or other legal action, or may offer to increase benefits, protect assets, or resolve identity theft and often demand payment via retail gift card, cash, wire transfer, internet currency such as Bitcoin, or pre-paid debit card.



Social Security will never:



• threaten you with arrest or other legal action unless you immediately pay a fine or fee;

• promise a benefit increase or other assistance in exchange for payment;

• require payment by retail gift card, cash, wire transfer, internet currency, or prepaid debit card; 

• or send official letters or reports containing personally identifiable information via email. 



If there is ever a problem with your Social Security number or record, in most cases Social Security will mail you a letter.  If you do need to submit payments to Social Security, the agency will send a letter with instructions and payment options.  You should NEVER pay a government fee or fine using retail gift cards, cash, internet currency, wire transfers, or pre-paid debit cards.  The scammers ask for payment this way because it is very difficult to trace and recover.



If you receive a call or email that you believe to be suspicious, about a problem with your Social Security number or account, hang up or do not respond.  Social Security encourages the public to report Social Security phone scams online at https://oig.ssa.gov.

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