Victim of LI phone scam

Sophia Hall/WCBS 880

Police Warn About Scammers Posing As Social Security Administration

March 07, 2019 - 3:12 pm

MELVILLE, N.Y. (WCBS 880) — Police are warning everyone of a new scam involving the U.S. Social Security Administration on Long Island.

Wayne Chertoff says he is embarrassed, upset and financially broken after he was scammed out of $1,400 in the scam.

“Now, this month, I can’t pay my rent, my car insurance, any of my credit cards,” Chertoff said. “I’m not proud of what I’ve done. It will never happen again.”

He says when his cell phone rang, he saw that it was from the Social Security Administration, as the number was already saved in his contacts. He answered the phone and was shocked when he was told somebody had stolen his identity in Texas and there was a warrant out for his arrest.

“They began to tell me that in El Paso, Texas, people were using my name and social security number to send thousands and thousands of dollars to Mexico,” he explained.

The scammers told the 67-year-old Melville man that in order to fix the situation, he would need to buy $1,400 worth of Google Play gift cards.

“They told me if anybody asked, these Google Play Cards were for my personal use,” he said. “They knew what they were doing. I heard so much noise of other people in the background speaking. I believed others about their social security money.”

Suffolk County police say the scammers used a telephone spoofing program to pretend they were the Social Security Administration.

Authorities are using Chertoff’s experience as a cautionary tale and telling residents that any legitimate company would never ask for gift cards as payment, they would instruct you to pay online or send a check.