Authorities are issuing a warning about a new Social Security phone scam which has already claimed a number of victims on the Central and South Coasts.
Some people have been receiving recorded phone messages saying that the Social Security number has been suspended, and that they are at risk of losing benefits.
They are told to push a button to be connected to a live person. The person asks the victim to verify their personal information, and tells them to go take money out of the bank and convert it to gift cards. The cards are then accessed by the scammers.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s office detectives say one victim lost $11,000 this week.
Officials say the Social Security Administration communicates by mail, and will never call to threaten your benefits, or tell you to buy gift cards.