FORKED RIVER — Chances are, you have received a phone call in the past month saying that you won money or owe money. The likelihood that you receive a phone call stating that you won the lottery is slim to none, and the Internal Revenue Service does not call you when you owe money from back taxes -- so why do we keep getting calls like these?

The sad and unfortunate truth is likely because people are still getting duped by these otherwise fraudulent phone calls.

In this case, a Forked River woman was the victim of a being scammed out of hundreds of dollars.

The resident told officers that she was contacted via a phone call by someone who said they were from the Social Security Administration. The person on the line told her that her account was deficient and must forward gift cards.

The unidentifed Lacey Township woman complied with the phone scammer and is now out $800.

Phone scams are not just happening in Lacey Township, Ocean County, or even only in New Jersey. Hundreds of thousands of people throughout the United States have been targeted.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, "Scammers are saying your Social Security number (SSN) has been suspended because of suspicious activity, or because it's been involved in a crime."

While people are becoming more aware of the threat of phone scams, phone scammers are adapting and becoming more and more adept at getting what they want.

The FTC says that the Social Security Administration would not suspend your social security number and to never give any or part of your social security number over the phone, "SSA will never call to threaten your benefits or tell you to wire money, send cash, or put money on gift cards. Anyone who tells you to do those things is a scammer. Every time."

In 2018, successful scam calls were on the rise amounting to over $10 million being lost.

Mark Anthony is a reporter with Townsquare Media: Mark.Kowalski@townsquaremedia.com

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