NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Times change, and so do the tactics used by those who engage in phone fraud.

Remember the recent IRS scam? $75 million taken from 15,000 victims.

As awareness grew, the fraudsters got a lot of hangups.

So now, instead of the IRS, they claim to represent the Social Security Administration.

Westchester’s Department of Consumer Affairs is hearing from people worried about the latest twist to the old scam.

“There’s millions of dollars stolen every year with these types of fraud, like the Social Security fraud,” Westchester Consumer Affairs Director Jim Maisano told CBS2’s Tony Aiello.

The scam starts with a phone call, and caller ID that matches the Social Security Administration’s toll free number.

They’re using “spoofing technology” to have the call coming in look like it’s an official number,” Maisano explained.

Some people are being told to call a number to clear up a problem that could lead to loss of benefits. When CBS2 called, we immediately encountered a red flag.

“Hello, please state your name after the tone and Google Voice will try to connect you,” said a message that answered the call.

Obviously, the Social Security Administration isn’t using an Internet phone service such as Google Voice to conduct business, Aiello reported. Eventually, CBS2 got another recording.

“Thank you for calling Social Security. All our officers are busy right now. Please leave your name and a brief message after the tone,” it said.

CBS2’s Lisa Rozner got one of the fake Social Security agents on the phone. When she questioned him, he got nervous and hung up.

People who fall for the scam report being pressured to buy gift cards to pay a fine and avoid a cut in benefits. However, the scammer doesn’t need you to send the card to steal your money.

“They don’t need the physical card. They just need the codes and numbers off the card so they can get the money off the card,” Maisano said.

The bottom line is no government agency is going to call and demand money paid by an unusual means, so just hang up.


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