April 17, 2019 — The Nationwide wave of Social Security imposter scams has reached Tom Green County.
Claiming to be a government authority is a tried and true way that scammers trick people, often senior citizens, into sending money. Among the most common government imposters have been scammers pretending to be agents from the IRS – until now.
In the past few months, the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network database has seen Social Security Administration (SSA) imposter reports skyrocket while reports of IRS imposters have declined sharply. In other words, the SSA scam is the new IRS scam. Locally, two senior victims were scammed out of $9K and $2K.
The Inspector General of Social Security, Gail S. Ennis, is warning citizens about a caller-ID “spoofing” scheme misusing the Social Security Administration (SSA) Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) Fraud Hotline phone number. The OIG has received recent reports of phone calls displaying the Fraud Hotline number on a caller-ID screen. This is a scam; OIG employees do not place outgoing calls from the Fraud Hotline 800 number. Citizens should not engage with these calls, provide personal information, or send money to the caller via pre-paid gift or Visa cards.
How the scam works:
These scammers often use robocalls to reach people, and the message is hard to ignore. SSA imposters tell you your Social Security number has been “suspended” because of suspicious activity, or because it’s been involved in a crime. You may be told to “press 1” to speak to a government “support representative” for help reactivating your Social Security number. With such deception, these scammers are good at convincing people to give up their Social Security numbers and other personal information. They ask you to confirm your Social Security number, or they may say you need to withdraw money from the bank and to store it on gift cards or in other unusual ways for “safekeeping.” You may be told your accounts will be seized or frozen if you don’t act quickly.
The SSA will not contact you out of the blue and they 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. You can always call the SSA directly at 1-800-772-1213 to find out if SSA is really trying to reach you and why.
If you receive a suspicious call from someone alleging to be from SSA or OIG, you should report that information to the OIG online at https://oig.ssa.gov/report or by calling (800) 269-0271, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern Time. You can also report these scams to the Federal Trade Commission through a new site specific to Social Security scams: https://identitytheft.gov/ssa
April 16, 2019 — Earlier today, the San Angelo Police Department’s Street Crimes Division directed a traffic stop on a Honda Accord that was occupied by a wanted subject in the 700 block of Macann Street.
During the stop, Officers located 33-year-old Gabriel Lopez, who was wanted on warrants of arrest for Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle and Going Off Bond for Criminal Trespass of a Habitation/Shelter/Superfund/Infrastructure. The driver, identified as 41-year-old Robert Perez, was wanted for Parole Violation.
Pursuant to the field investigation, Street Crimes Division Investigators located and seized approximately thirty-four (34) grams of suspected Methamphetamine along with narcotic distribution paraphernalia.
The pair were arrested for their warrants and Lopez was additionally charged with First Degree Felony Manufacture Delivery of Controlled Substance Penalty Group 1.
The Department’s Patrol Division assisted with today’s operation.
April 15, 2019 — Today, members of the San Angelo Police Department’s Street Crimes Division executed a Search Warrant at a residence located in the 2700 block of Jomar Street.
The warrant, issued by Justice of the Peace Fred Buck, named 83-year-old Victor Samaniego to be in possession of Methamphetamine at the residence.
Samaniego was located at the residence along with 36-year-old Soraida Gonzalez. The pair was detained without incident and investigators located and seized approximately twenty-eight (28) grams of suspected Methamphetamine along with narcotic distribution paraphernalia.
Samaniego was charged with First Degree Felony Manufacture Delivery of Controlled Substance Penalty Group 1. Gonzalez was charged with State Jail Felony Possession of Controlled Substance Penalty Group 1. The pair was booked into the Tom Green County Jail.
The Department’s Patrol Division, K-9 Unit and the Center for Tactical Medicine assisted with today’s operation.
April 12, 2019 — The San Angelo Police Department will be celebrating the third full week of April (April 14-20) as National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week.
This week, sponsored by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International and celebrated annually, honors the thousands of men and women who respond to emergency calls, dispatch emergency professionals and equipment, and render life-saving assistance to the world’s citizens.
This week-long event, initially set up in 1981 by Patricia Anderson of the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office in California, is a time to celebrate and thank those who dedicate their lives to serving the public. Our San Angelo Public Safety Communications family will be honored for their hard work and dedication by several local businesses that have made donations as a show of appreciation for the sacrifices dispatchers make in order to make a safer world for the public.
National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week Local Donors:
Christian House of Prayer Women’s Group
Little Caesars Pizza
South 277 BBQ
The San Angelo Police Department is pleased to announce that it has joined the free Neighbors app by Ring to provide the San Angelo community with real-time, local crime and safety information. The Neighbors network already has millions of users and has been instrumental in catching package thieves, stopping burglaries, and keeping neighborhoods safe.
Residents can text ‘StaySafe’ to 555888 from their smartphone to download the Neighbors app for free on iOS and Android and use the app to; join their neighborhood, share crime and safety-related videos, photos and text-based posts; and receive real-time safety alerts from their neighbors, local law enforcement and the Ring team. For more information visit www.ring.com/neighbors.
“I am a proponent of citizens using video technology as an effective way to deter crime on their property and in their neighborhoods. Easily installed and affordable video cameras are readily available to the consumer. The increased use of cameras has already resulted in solving several criminal cases, and aided in the identification of thieves in our community. The San Angelo Police Department is proud to have collaborated with Ring by joining the Neighbors App. This app will provide the San Angelo community with real-time local crime and safety information. It is a virtual neighborhood watch. Citizen safety is always a priority for us.” — Chief of Police, Frank Carter
Jamie Siminoff, Chief Inventor and Founder of Ring, said: “We’re excited to have the San Angelo Police Department join Neighbors to keep their community up-to-date on local crime and safety information. Over the past few years we have learned that, when neighbors, the Ring team and law enforcement all work together, we can create safer communities. Neighbors is meant to facilitate real-time communication between these groups, while maintaining neighbor privacy first and foremost. By bringing security to every neighbor with the free Neighbors app, the San Angelo community can stay on top of crime and safety alerts as they happen.”
How It Works
- Download the Neighbors app on iOS and Android here: download.ring.com/neighbors or by texting ‘StaySafe’ to 555888 from your smartphone.
- Opt-in to join your neighborhood.
- Customize the geographic area you want to receive notifications for (users must verify where they are located and cannot participate in other neighborhoods).
- Receive real-time alerts from your neighbors, local law enforcement and the Ring team that inform of crime and safety alerts as they happen.
- View local crime and safety posts via a live feed or interactive map.
- Share text updates, photos and videos taken on any device, including Ring’s home security devices.
- Work with your community to make neighborhoods safer.