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If you get a call saying someone is using your social security number, it may be a scam

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File photo | EastIdahoNews.com

IDAHO FALLS – After giving out personal information to people claiming to be from the federal government, a local woman is warning the public to beware of scammers.

Jenny Schults is a trial court administrative assistant in Bonneville County. She received a phone call Monday morning from someone claiming to be from the Social Security Administration.

“The phone rang and it was one of those automated voices saying there was a problem with my social security number,” Schults tells EastIdahoNews.com.

A woman came on and told Schults her social security number had been used to open several accounts, rent vehicles and make purchases. An abandoned vehicle rented in Schults’ name had allegedly been found back east with a couple of kilos of cocaine and other drugs.

“She said I would be linked to federal charges because of my social security number. I started to laugh and said, ‘Good luck,'” Schults says.

The lady gave her a case number and told Shults to write it down. Schults then asked if she could call back because she was driving at the time.

“Why can’t you pull over and write it down?,” the lady responded. “Don’t you have a pen in your car?”

This was an immediate red flag to Shults, but she agreed to pull over.

“I asked her name and she said Evelyn Grace. She gave me the case number and said she would connect me to the treasury department. They would discontinue my current social and give me a new one,” Shults says.

Schults asked for the phone number so that she could call back later.

“What is your problem?” the lady responded.

“What do you mean?” Shultz asked.

“Why don’t you just cooperate?”

“Do you know how many scams are out there?” Shults said.

“This is not a scam,” the lady replied. “The call that you received is from the Department of Treasury.”

Shults repeated she needed to call back and questioned why the woman would respond this way. The lady hung up and when Shults called back “all circuits were busy.”

“In the beginning, I did give them the last four digits of my social security number and my address. That concerns me quite a bit,” says Shults.

Jeremy Johnson with the Better Business Bureau says Shults did all the right things and that the SSA will never call you.

“If you do get a call claiming to be from them, that’s definitely a red flag,” Johnson says. “Anytime it becomes a high-pressure situation or they start threatening you with jail time or other penalties, those are huge red flags.”

Calls like this are increasing all the time, Johnson says, and the best thing you can do is not engage.

“Anytime you get a call like that, immediately hang up. The more you engage with these callers, (the more you put yourself at risk). They’re listening for things: the age of your voice, whether there is children or pets in the background, and they’re gathering information to approach you with other scams.”

Getting back personal information that you’ve already divulged is unlikely, she says. If you do get a call like this, report it to the BBB scam tracker website.

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