TUPELO • The Tupelo Police Department is warning people about a new phone scam where the caller claims to be with the Social Security Administration.

TPD spokesman Capt. Chuck McDougald said callers claiming to be representatives of the Social Security Administration are attempting to convince citizens that their Social Security number has been hacked

“They then advise the citizen to electronically transfer their money to a ‘special bank’ for safe keeping,” McDougald said.

In one instance this week, a McCullough Boulevard woman told police someone with a Kentucky phone number claimed to be with the Social Security office. The caller said her Social Security number had been stolen and was being used in Texas. The caller told the woman she needed to transfer all of her money out of her bank, put it in a secure bank account and someone would contact her with her new bank account number. She transferred $20,000 using the routing number and account number the caller provided.

A variation of the same scam claims the person’s Social Security number has been frozen and they need to pay a fee to get the number unfrozen.

In early December, a Bissell man said he got a call from the “FBI” saying he needed to send them $662 because his Social Security number was frozen. The 63-year-old man was told to go to the nearest Dollar General and purchase a gift card in that amount.

He purchased the card, called the “agent” back and gave him the number on the card. The person on the phone then told him he had been scammed and hung up.

Authorities remind people that the Social Security Administration and other governmental agencies will not contact citizens by phone and request money. And government agencies will never ask for payment over the phone, ask for payment by money card or ask you to transfer money into a certain bank account.

“These scammers are playing on fear and typically target elderly victims,” McDougald said. “No legitimate government organization will do this type of business over the phone.”

Anyone who believes they have been the victim of a scam, or have been contacted by scammers, should contact their local law enforcement agency.

william.moore@journalinc.com

Twitter:@WilliamMoore_DJ

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