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You’ve probably gotten calls claiming to be from the Social Security Administration. Watch how two people handle these calls and learn what you can do to avoid government imposter scams.


Al Richardson:
I got a phone call.

Someone identified himself as a representative of the Social Security office. And that a warrant, a no-bail warrant, had been issued for my arrest.  I'm 83 years old and it scared me to death.

Monica Vaca
The Social Security imposter scam is very widespread right now. What these scammers are trying to do is they are trying to induce a state of fear.They are trying to make you feel very very panicked.

David Smalls:
They actually said federal authorities including an armed marshal would appear at my door within the next 24 hours. That had me sort of feeling jittery.  

Sometimes they'll rachet up that anxiety by telling you, that there are marshals, or police officers or sheriff's deputies that are about to arrest you.  That's very very scary for people.

So what they are doing is they are playing on your fear on your anxiety and on you wanting to do the right thing. That's how they are going to next try to control the next actions that you take.

Al: They told me to get in my car, drive to the store and get a Google Play card and put the five hundred dollars on it and give them the number.

Once they've got those pin numbers, they've got your money.  So how do you take control back?  Well, the first thing you want to do is just stop and take a breath. Take a moment and say, "Ok. Thanks for the call. I need to investigate what's going on here."  Hang up the phone.  Go talk with somebody that you trust.  Do a search on the Internet.

When it happens, let other people know.  Because the more that it is talked about, the better armed people are to behave assertively, when someone is behaving aggressively towards them.

AL:  Since then, I have told everyone that I know, and a whole lot of people that I don't know.

Monica: This scam is hitting all parts of the United States.  And it is hitting people at every age level, every education level, every income level.  If this isn't happening to you, this is happening to your neighbors. This is happening in your community. So, if it does happen to you, please talk about it.  We know that when people are familiar with scams, they are much less likely to lose money.

Report it to the FTC, at

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