LITTLE ROCK – A new variation of social security fraud has invaded the State of Arkansas, threatening the livelihood of Arkansans. This phone scam is typically initiated by someone saying they work for the Social Security Administration and claiming that your social security number has been cancelled due to fraud or misuse. In response, Arkansans will often verify their social security number over the phone. Once the number is shared, the scam artist steals the victim’s identity and uses it for their own monetary gain and to wreck the credit of the victim.
“From Lake Village to Salem to Lewisville, I have met with Arkansans who have received calls from someone claiming to be with the Social Security Administration stating their number has been cancelled,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Let me be clear: this is a scam to steal your identity to open up fraudulent credit cards — the Social Security Administration will never contact you by phone about your number.”
Social security fraud continues to be a big problem for Arkansans. The Attorney General’s office however, is taking back the fight. In March of this year, Attorney General Rutledge announced that Joseph Sensabaugh, from Conway, was ordered to pay more than $300,000 in restitution for the part he played in a social security scam. Likewise, Carl Smith, of Fort Smith, was ordered in June to pay $72,000 in restitution after being convicted on charges of social security fraud.
Attorney General Rutledge endorsed the following Federal Trade Commission tips for Arkansans who may be dealing with a government imposter:
Never give out or confirm sensitive information, such as a bank account, credit card or social security numbers unless the caller is trusted and his or her identity has been confirmed.
Be cautious of callers using organizational or familiar-sounding names similar to existing agencies. Scammers use internet technology to spoof area codes, so although it may seem that a call is from Washington, D.C., it could instead originate from anywhere in the world—even from scammers.
The Social Security Administration and other government agencies have warned about these scams. If contacted, hang up and call the government agency directly at a trusted number.
The Social Security Administration can be contacted at 1-800-772-1213 to verify the reason for the contact and the person’s identity prior to providing any information to the caller.
To report this scam to the Social Security Administration, contact its Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271, or file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
For more information about other common scams and consumer-related issues, please call the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.
About Attorney General Leslie Rutledge
Leslie Carol Rutledge is the 56th Attorney General of Arkansas. Elected on November 4, 2014, and sworn in on January 13, 2015, she is the first woman and first Republican in Arkansas history to be elected as Attorney General. She was resoundingly re-elected on November 6, 2018. Since taking office, she has significantly increased the number of arrests and convictions against online predators who exploit children and con artists who steal taxpayer money through Social Security Disability and Medicaid fraud. Further, she has held Rutledge Roundtable meetings and Mobile Office hours in every county of the State each year, fdand launched a Military and Veterans Initiative. She has led efforts to roll back government regulations that hurt job creators, fight the opioid epidemic, teach internet safety, combat domestic violence and make the office the top law firm for Arkansans. Rutledge serves as Chairwoman of the National Association of Attorneys General Southern Region and re-established and co-chairs the National Association of Attorneys General Committee on Agriculture. As the former Chairwoman of the Republican Attorneys General Association, she remains active on the Executive Board.
A native of Batesville, she is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. Rutledge clerked for the Arkansas Court of Appeals, was Deputy Counsel for former Governor Mike Huckabee, served as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Lonoke County and was an Attorney at the Department of Human Services before serving as Counsel at the Republican National Committee. Rutledge and her husband, Boyce, have one daughter. The family has a home in Pulaski County and a farm in Crittenden County.