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BBB of Central Ohio received hundreds of social security scam complaints

A version of the scam involves a badge that mimics one from the Office of Inspector General.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Columbus Division of Police said scammers are using a badge to make a social security scam look realistic.

According to the Better Business Bureau of Central Ohio, there have been hundreds of reports involving some sort of social security scam in 2021 -- each is a little different, but with a similar premise.

Mtima Davis said he gets called by potential scammers pretty often; he was called by a scammer the day he spoke with 10TV. 

But one of his worst calls was with a social security scammer.

“The scammers called me. They are very aggressive and have threatening language and say that their deputies are police officers and they say that your social security number is in danger, but the first thing I want to know is what is your social security number,” said Davis.

Davis said the caller told him he was a deputy sheriff and was going to get charges pressed against him.

“They said that someone had used my social security number to purchase a car…that I need to help pay or I was going to get sued and I was like ‘where is the car?’ They even gave me a make and a model of the vehicle,” he said.

Davis told the caller he was going to call the Better Business Bureau and eventually hung up. The BBB calls these "imposter scams." 

Columbus police say, in a recent version of this scam, an imposter sent a picture to a victim of a Social Security Administration badge.

Credit: Columbus Division of Police

“A lot of victims think that they were stupid or that they were gullible,” said Lee Anne Lanigan, who is the director of investigations for the Better Business Bureau of Central Ohio.

The BBB said the scammers can be convincing, so here's how not to fall for it:

  • Know that the Social Security Administration won't call asking for your social security number.
  • Never trust the caller ID, even if it says it's the Social Security Administration!
  • If you do happen to fall for the scam, file a police report and call the BBB.

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