Receiving a call from an unknown number could be a part of a phone scam and for a 70 year old man in Clinton, that was the case.
He thought someone from the Social Security Administration was on the other end of the line. They asked him to buy $5,000 worth of gift cards and threatened him with criminal charges if he didn’t.
When the man went to go buy the gift cards, he was only allowed to buy $1,000 worth. Then, he called the people trying to scam him and gave them the gift card information.
Within an hour, the money was spent at a store in Pennsylvania and he had lost his money.
The man didn’t want to speak on camera.
“He’s very upset with himself at this point, but he was terrified at the time and he just couldn’t think of any other way to get out of this jam,” said Randy Meier, Seniors vs. Crime director.
While someone threatening you or demanding money over the phone may alarm you, there are some red flags to help prevent this from happening to you.
“If you get a call out of the blue from the social security administration, it’s bogus, it’s going to be bogus,” Meier said. “If it’s not bogus, you’re going to have some kind of a relationship, you’re going to know what’s going on. The second thing to know is nobody from the social security administration is ever going to demand immediate payment from you for any reason.”
He continues to spread the word about these scams.
“People get a threatening phone call, they’re intimidated, they’re threatened with arrest, people tell them there’s going to be someone coming to your door in 30 minutes, 24 hours, whatever it is to arrest you unless you cooperate with us, it can be very jarring to people and it works, it doesn’t work all the time, it doesn’t even work most of the time, but it works enough of the time.”
If you want to report a call, you can contact your local police or do it through the Social Security Administration’s website.