(KIX) – Idaho’s attorney general says there has been an increased number of consumer complaints this summer about a social security impostor scam.

Unfortunately, some victims have fallen prey to the scam, given the caller sensitive information such as their social security number or date of birth.

That’s a big no-no if you want to keep your identity safe. Other have mailed gift cards to the scammers.

“This day and age, we have to keep our guard up against these scammers,” Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said. “If you find yourself being asked to share personal information with someone who called you, it is very likely a scam. Even if it means being curt, hang up the call as soon as the call feels suspicious. Remember, these are scammers and you owe them no courtesy whatsoever.”

Wasden said the scam usually works like this:

Once on the phone with a scammer, the recipient of the call is told their Social Security number has been linked to a crime. As a result of this made-up crime, the target is told their Social Security number has been blocked or suspended, but that it can be reinstated for a fee. The recipient of the call is also asked to confirm their Social Security number. Scammers sometimes vary their pitch, but the scam usually follows this general script.

He said in some instances scammers have approached victims through email, designed to look as though it came from the Social Security Administration. The email directs recipients to a website where victims are asked to update their personal information so they can receive an annual cost-of-living adjustment.

Wasden, who said it's a good idea to chat with family, friends and neighbors about scam so all are in the know, reminds folks of the following:

  • The Social Security Administration will never call and ask for your Social Security number or ask you to pay a fee. It won’t call to threaten your benefits, either.
  • Your caller ID might show the SSA’s real phone number (1-800-772-1213) but it’s not the real SSA calling. Computers make it easy to show any number on caller ID. Thanks to this phenomenon known as spoofing, caller ID can’t always be trusted.
  • Never give your Social Security number to anyone who calls you. Do not confirm the last four digits. The same goes for bank account or credit card information. Remember, when you receive a call, you have no way to know for sure who is on the other end of the line.
  • Anyone who tells you to wire money, pay with a gift card, or send cash is a scammer. Any request for this type of payment is a huge red flag.

If you believe you’ve been targeted by a scammer, call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 800-432-3545. More information also is available online at the Federal Trade Commission.

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