Frauds & Scams

3 Ways to Fight Scammers Who Target Your Social Security Benefits

March 4, 2021 • By

Last Updated: July 19, 2021

woman on couch making a phone callScammers are always finding new ways to steal your money and personal information by exploiting your fears. The most effective way to defeat scammers is to know how to identify scams and to ignore suspicious calls and emails.

One common tactic scammers use is posing as federal agents and other law enforcement. They may claim your Social Security number is linked to a crime. They may even threaten to arrest you if you do not comply with their instructions. Here are three things you can do:

  • Hang up right away or do not reply to the email.
  • Never give personal information, money, or retail gift cards.
  • Report the scam immediately to our law enforcement team at the Office of the Inspector General.

You should continue to remain vigilant of phone calls when someone says there’s a problem with your Social Security number or your benefits. If you owe us money, we will mail you a letter explaining your rights, payment options, and information about appealing.

Related: Inspector General Announces 2nd National “Slam the Scam” Day

There are a few ways you can identify a scam call or email. Remember that we will never:

  • Threaten you with benefit suspension, arrest, or other legal action unless you pay a fine or fee.
  • Promise a benefit increase or other assistance in exchange for payment.
  • Require payment by retail gift card, cash, wire transfer, internet currency, or prepaid debit card.
  • Demand secrecy from you in handling a Social Security-related problem.
  • Send official letters or reports containing personally identifiable information via email.

If you do not have ongoing business with us, it is unlikely we will contact you. Again, if you get a suspicious call claiming to be from Social Security, you should hang up and report it right away to our Office of the Inspector General. Please share this important information with your friends and family—and join us for “Slam the Scam” Day on Thursday, March 4.

Here’s a list of our “Slam the Scam” Day events:

  • 1:00 pm – Spanish language Twitter chat. Use hashtags #OjoConLasEstafas and #NCPW2021 to follow and participate.
  • 3:00 pm – English language Twitter chat. Use hashtags #SlamTheScamChat and #NCPW2021.
  • 7:00 pm – Facebook Live on government imposter phone scams featuring Tracy Lynge, the Communications Director at our Office of the Inspector General, and Drew Johnson, the Chief of Staff at the Federal Trade Commission’s Division of Consumer and Business Education. Be sure to ask your scam-related questions in the blog comments below—and we will answer them.
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About the Author

Darlynda Bogle, Assistant Deputy Commissioner

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