Social Security scammer targets woman with phony call

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A Houston woman thought someone bought a house and a car, and took money from the bank in her name, but Social Security officials warned it's all part of a scam.

Christine Waldon said she thought her world was crumbling down.

"I was shocked, because there's no way I could touch $60,000 right now," Waldon said.

Last week, Waldon received a phone call from someone claiming to be from the Social Security Administration. The caller said her identity was stolen, and someone bought a house, a car and took out money from banks in her name.

"I thought it was really real, because I spoke to these people more than twice," Waldon said. "I was thinking they were helping me and they're going to get to the bottom of it."

When we called the person, the number didn't work. That's when ABC13 called the Social Security Administration. A spokesperson for the Social Security Administration said this scam is impacting people across the country. It's so bad, the agency just released public service announcements.

"To come find out, they're not helping me," Waldon said. "They are actually helping to scam me. It's hard they would do that to me."

The agency said a real employee won't tell you your number has been suspended. They also won't demand payment, or ask for your credit card number over the phone. The Better Business Bureau also sent out similar warnings. The BBB said it's never a bad idea to monitor your identity.

"One of the things to do is to check your credit reports at least once a year. You can do that for free at annualcreditreport.com," BBB spokesperson, Leah Napoliello said. "If you see someone is opening lines of credit in your name, taking out loans, that sort of thing, that's a red flag right there that your identity has been stolen."

To protect people's identities, the Social Security Administration created a website to report this fraud. Waldon said she plans to report it, and hopes her story helps others.

"This can happen to me, but it doesn't need to happen to somebody else," Waldon said.

The agency said you can either report the scam to its website, or call 800-269-0271.

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