Social Security 'blacklist' alert shows up in Central Florida

Bogus voice message claims you are under federal investigation

By Mike Holfeld - Investigative Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - The latest Social Security impostor calls showing up in Central Florida claim your Social Security account has been “blacklisted” and your account has been shut down.

The recorded message uses a female voice that begins, “There is a red flag notice on your Social Security number for an ongoing federal investigation.”

Judy and Laura Ann Boatright, of Orlando, admit they were rattled when the robocalls came in, once before noon, another at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday.

“I wasn’t sure what to think at first," Judy Boatright said. “They didn’t state a name of who they’re looking for or the company they’re from.”

Judy Boatright, who lost her sight from juvenile diabetes, said the messages didn’t make sense.

Her mother, Laura Ann Boatright, 65,  just retired from Lockheed-Martin, and wondered, “Why me?”

“It kind of scared me because I just retired and I thought, 'Oh, great, this is all I need,'" Laura Ann Boatright said. “(I was thinking) what did I do?”

Both calls came from area code 713, serving Houston, Texas not Washington, D.C.

Judy Boatright said she decided to call the Social Security Adminstration to check their accounts and was told both accounts were clear.

“She’d (Social Security representative) never heard of it," Judy Boatright said. “She just stated not to ever call any numbers back or give them any of your information and that I did the correct thing in calling her.”

Both mother and daughter say their phone number has become a gateway for dozens of robocalls and telemarketers this year, ranging from IRS threats to pain creams to Social Security alerts.

“We get them every day,” Judy Boatright said. “Four, five calls at a time, I called the 1-800 number (for the Social Security Administration) and they said both of our accounts were clear.”

There have been several variations of Social Security imposter calls this year.

In July, AARP advised its members of two Social Security schemes in which callers posed as employees of the Social Security Administration in order to steal personal information.

In the first, an individual would receive a phone call with an automated recording saying that his Social Security number “has been suspended for suspicion of illegal activity.”  Like the “Blacklist” threat, the fraudster provides a phone number and says the person must call it to fix the problem. 

In the other scam, the caller pretends to work for Social Security and asks the person to verify personal information, including Social Security number, date of birth and address. The SSA first alerted the public to this scheme in January.

If you receive a suspicious call from someone claiming to be from the SSA, you should report that information to the OIG at 800-269-0271 or online.

If you have questions about a phone call, email, text message or any other type of communication claiming to be from the SSA, you can contact any Social Security office or call Social Security’s toll-free customer service number at 1-800-772-1213 to make sure it is legitimate. Social Security’s TTY number for the deaf or hard-of-hearing is 1-800-325-0778.

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