Elderly man loses $ 40,000, forced to sell car in Social Security scam – CBS San Francisco
VACAVILLE (CBS SF) – Police in Vacaville issued a warning to the elderly after saying an elderly man lost tens of thousands of dollars to crooks pretending to be on Social Security.
According to a statement posted on the department’s Facebook page, a con artist called the victim to tell him that his social security number was being used in a bank fraud and that a new number was needed. He also received images of documents on letterhead from the Social Security Administration.
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Police said the victim, whom they only identify as “Mr. B” in their statement, was told he had to purchase so-called “Apple Security” cards and provide the numbers over the phone. The crooks also said the victim not to tell anyone else about his case and were threatened with arrest if he did not pay.
The victim, who spoke limited English, then purchased numerous Apple gift cards and provided the card numbers to the crooks. After telling them he was running out of money, the crooks also told him to sell his vehicle, which he did.
“Mr. B’s mental and physical health was also suffering from the stress and fear of arrest, and unfortunately we estimate that Mr. B lost around $ 40,000 in a matter of days,” police said.
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The department said it was investigating, but acknowledged that it might be difficult to develop leads to locate the money or the suspects due to the vague contact and gift cards involved in the scam.
According to the Social Security Administration website, the agency will contact someone by mail first if there is a problem and only call if requested.
The agency said in phone calls that Social Security employees do not:
• Threaten you.
• Suspend your social security number.
• Require immediate payment from you.
• Require payment in cash, gift card, prepaid debit card, internet currency, or wire transfer.
• Request gift card numbers by phone or by wire transfer or by mail in cash.
Fraudulent phone calls should be reported to the Office of the Inspector General of the Social Security Administration by visiting https://oig.ssa.gov/scam.
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Vacaville Police said anyone with information about the case is urged to contact Community Services Officer Angela Stefenoni at 707-469-4838.