Ocean City Police Warn Residents of Social Security & Bitcoin Scam
OCEAN CITY, MD – (June 26, 2019): The Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) is warning residents and visitors about scam phone calls from those who falsely claim to be from the Social Security Administration or a local, state or federal law enforcement agency. Most commonly, victims are contacted by the “Social Security Administration” and advised that their Social Security number has been used to open numerous accounts or is involved in some sort of illegal operation.
To protect their money or to avoid being arrested, victims have to send various sums of money to help resolve the situation. The most common forms of payment requested are prepaid gift cards, Bitcoin and bank wire transfers. “It is unfortunate but all too prevalent for scammers to use highly complex technology and the trust victims have for their own governmental and law enforcement agencies against them,” commented Ocean City Police Chief Ross Buzzuro. “Victims of this type of phone scam are not limited to senior citizens—these criminals are targeting every strata of society and every demographic is vulnerable.”
In many of the cases, a person posing as a “Police Officer” or “Law Enforcement Official” will intimidate or threaten victims to gain compliance. Victims are told that they will be arrested and/or their assets will be frozen. Scammers have claimed to be law enforcement and employ technology called “spoofing” to manipulate caller IDs to display the number of the Social Security
The scammers will often stay on the phone with the victims while they are going into stores to make their Bitcoin or gift card purchases and tell them not to let the store clerks know what is going on. They even tell them stories to make up so they will not be refused purchase of gift cards.
“Individuals will never be contacted by the OCPD, Social Security Administration or any Law Enforcement Agency and be asked to submit money or information over the phone,” Chief Buzzuro finished. “If contacted by anyone claiming to represent any such agency and asking for money, you should immediately hang up the phone.”
For more information, or if you have been a victim of a scam, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website at FTC.gov. In addition, victims who have lost money in one of these scams are encouraged to file a report at their local law enforcement agency.