CHARLESTON — Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has warned senior citizens to be aware of a new scam happening in West Virginia in which a caller impersonates a Social Security Administration employee and tells citizens their benefits have been underpaid and need to be adjusted.

The caller says the payment error is in the process of being fixed, but the Administration needs the citizen’s bank routing numbers to complete the transaction.

“These scammers are unfortunately targeting the elderly and making false promises to them in order to get access to their financial information,” Morrisey said in a statement. “Citizens should try to remain alert and do their homework before giving out any personal information over the phone.”

Morrisey said citizens should always be wary of aggressive callers or deals that seem to be too good to be true. He said red flags should always go up if anyone calls out of the blue and asks for personal information, such as your Social Security number, bank routing numbers or credit card numbers.

“During these difficult economic times, many West Virginians are looking for ways to receive some extra cash. Unfortunately, some people are trying to take advantage of that situation,” Morrisey said. “Our Office wants to make sure that citizens do not get caught up something that sounds legitimate but is really a scam.”

The AG's office says that if you receive a call like this, do not surrender personal information. Instead, try to collect as much information about the caller as you can (such as name, title, phone number, address, etc.) before hanging up. Then call your local Social Security Administration office or 800-772-1213 to independently check whether your benefits have changed.

If benefits have not changed, file a report with the Social Security Administration and the Office of the Inspector General by calling 800-269-0271. Reports also may be filed online at https://www.socialsecurity.gov/fraudreport/oig.public_fraud_reporting.form.htm. Consumers are also urged to report the call to the Attorney Generals’ Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808 or online at www.wvago.gov.

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