Concord NH – Mike Cronis WMUR-9
The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office scams targeting Social Security numbers have been on the rise in the state.
In the past month, authorities said they have seen a general increase in scams, particularly scams targeting older people.
“They’re just isolated,” Assistant Attorney General Bryan Townsend said. “They’re feeling lonely and so, they’re answering phone calls that they shouldn’t be and giving out information that they shouldn’t be.”
Townsend said scammers target people, especially the elderly, using an automated phone message. Telling them their Social Security number has been compromised.
“It instructs them to either stay on the line or press one for more information,” Townsend said. “They’re then connected to a live person, a scammer and then that scammer tries to tease personal information out of them like dates of birth, Social Security numbers.”
It is a sophisticated and coordinated effort. But, Townsend said the Social Security administration will never threaten you into giving personal information or money.
“Really what you need to do is hang up,” Townsend said. “Don’t feed into it. Don’t try to play along with the game. Just hang up the phone and contact the Social Security administration if it’s a Social Security scam. Contact the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Hotline.”
Townsend urged vigilance and to check in with relatives, and that the damage is done once scammers get what they want.
“If you provide them money, you’re typically not getting the money back,” Townsend said. “If you provide your personal information, that is out there for anyone to steal and use your identity whenever they want.”
If you know someone who has been exploited, you can contact the New Hampshire Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services at (800) 949-0470.