Frauds & Scams, Guest Bloggers

Avoid Scams! Join the FTC and SSA During National Consumer Protection Week

March 2, 2020 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: November 2, 2023

Want to protect yourself from identity theft and scams?  Learn how during National Consumer Protection Week, the first week of March.  This year, we at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have joined with Social Security to help protect you.

What’s the latest?  Government imposter scams were the number one fraud reported to our Consumer Sentinel Network in 2019, with Social Security imposters leading the way.  There were 166,190 reports about Social Security scams, with people reporting individual losses of about $1,500.

If you haven’t received one of these calls yet, here’s what the scam sounds like.  Someone pretends to be a caller from Social Security.  Caller ID may even display a Social Security office number.  Sometimes the caller says your Social Security number has been suspended and you need to pay a fee to reactivate it.  The caller may even say your Social Security number has been linked with a crime, and you need to take immediate steps to avoid being arrested or to protect the money in your bank account.  Either way, when the person asks, do not provide your Social Security number.  You also should not buy gift cards (and read them the number) or wire money.

How can you protect yourself from Social Security fraud?  Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Your Social Security number is not about to be suspended. You don’t have to verify your number to anyone who calls you out of the blue.
  • Social Security will never tell you to put money on gift cards, wire money, or send cash. Anyone who tells you to do those things is a scammer.
  • Don’t trust caller ID. Scammers can make it look like they’re calling from anywhere – even a real Social Security phone number.

If you get one of these calls, hang up!  Do not provide any personal information or comply with any request for payment.

Want to learn more about how to protect yourself from Social Security imposter scams?  Join us March 5 at 7:00 p.m. ET for a Facebook Live with Social Security. I’ll join Gail S. Ennis, Inspector General for Social Security, to talk about how you can protect yourself and your loved ones from imposter scams.

If you already received one of these calls, please report it to the Federal Trade Commission.  If it’s a Social Security imposter, please also report it to Social Security’s Office of Inspector General.  If you gave your Social Security number to a scammer and are worried about identity theft, visit our Social Security Identity Theft website for what steps you can take toward recovery.

In the spirit of National Consumer Protection Week, please pass along these tips to friends and family – help them avoid scams, too.

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About the Author

Monica Vaca, Associate Director for the Division of Consumer Response and Operations, Federal Trade Commission

Monica Vaca is Associate Director for the Division of Consumer Response and Operations in the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. The Division hears from consumers across the country about problems they experience in the marketplace, manages and provides law enforcement access to the Consumer Sentinel Network, and delivers refunds to consumers resulting from FTC law enforcement actions.  Between 2002 and 2016, Ms. Vaca litigated or supervised litigation against companies and individuals the FTC charged with engaging in fraudulent or deceptive practices.  In 2011, Ms. Vaca was honored to receive the Wasserstein Fellowship from Harvard Law School’s Office of Public Interest Advising.  Ms. Vaca began her career by clerking for the Honorable John F. Grady in the Northern District of Illinois, and later, by serving as an Equal Justice Fellow at the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago. She is a graduate of Northwestern University School of Law (cum laude, Order of the Coif) and the University of Virginia.


  1. ZITA C.

    The best! I have a phone at home that has a built-in voicemail—which is always on—and I recorded an outgoing Star Trek message dealing with a transporter malfunction, so if anyone calls and wants to leave a message he/she has to listen to the whole story about the transporter! About 90% of the time the caller just hangs up—all they have to hear is “You have reached the bridge of the Starship Enterprise”, and click. If it’s really important they will leave a message. A couple of months ago a couple of would-be scammers tried, and as soon as I heard what they were up to I either pushed a “delete” button on the phone, or hung up, or both. THIS FISH AIN’T BITIN’!

  2. Thomas M.

    Plase open maine SSN card originale have plase call DHS fur open SSN-070922195 tu return back tu the usa fur work only thanks thomas germany.

  3. rita w.

    I was scammed by a Tech person acting supposedly from DELL. After he had remote access, he disabled my NORTON to fix a problem??? The problem was fixed but 10 min. after hanging up. He called back asking me to work for them, he was going to send me (for example) say, $5,000.00. I would keep 500 for myself but send the rest to a list he’d email me!!! I told him I had to think about it, so he would call back in a few days. I then called Dell, the Police, my bank and changed ALL account NO#’s including SS#, Medicare etc.!!!

    • Jamella H.

      I didn’t know you could change your social security number.

  4. VASCO S.

    thanks I will join

  5. Gwen C.

    I am sick and tired of these foreign speaking men calling claiming to be my computer technician! I am not stupid enough to fall for this but it does make me mad! Latest one came today – 80030002454. Yes, that’s an odd number but it’s what shows on my iphone.

  6. harold m.

    thank you your information is so great

  7. Julia F.

    the scammer called me about my SS card being cancelled . I want to leave you the number

  8. John w.

    To The SSA. Thank you so much for your help with catching and exposing scammers who prey on the aged and unsuspecting people who have worked hard for their money. Please send me numbers to contact the correct office to report my suspicions on scammers. Also sign me up for additional information on how to protect my family and friends.

  9. Sandra G.

    Necesito protección por scams, ciber delitos, fraudes crediticios, robos ..MUCHAS GRACIAS

  10. frank a.

    I want to get a replacement social security card

    • Finley L.

      Go to the SS local office, they will take , info. and issue new card.

    • Sheila C.

      I believe someone illegally change my social security number and they are drawing my benefits what do I do ive tryed asking ssa they look at me like I’m a liver and give me no help what do I do I’m disabled I am fixing to be on the street again we cannot stay with our daughter because they will put her on the street

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