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. D R.

    Since I accessed my ss information recently and am turning 65 this year I have been incessantly bombarded with calls from medicare supplemental and managed care who have gotten access to my info from the ssa. It is driving me insane since I am on the national do not call list. I do not have caller ID so pick up the phone. This is happening as many as 4 times an hour. How can I get it to stop? I do not have a need for either forms of insurance this year because I am under my husband’ insurance through his work and medicare will be my secondary for a number of years to come.



  3. James G.

    i was at my local ssa office and tje lady helping me told me that “with your payee you get your ssdi, now we are going to say you are your own payee and you get these 4checks i will go over your benifit checks so you understand tjem. I stated i did not get the Doctor to release me so i could not accept them because i do have a order by the ALJ that stayes I must have a payee. so if those are mine send them to my payee. and i ran out of their so fast that i almost forgot my form T1000 that i came in for. Now I see a cover up by those whome are able to add and delete along with changing direct payments and the like from my last payee and from changing data on my own account and not really understanding that i have a issue that evryone will not engauge to see the real truth that i am the person who is being taken advantage of and i need it to stop so i can become the best person i can be. and stop letting the select continue to take advantage of anyone.

  4. Dewayne

    I think the government should do more to protect us! Instead of telling us to simply hang up!! Go after them!! I’ve been on the do not call registry for years, and come to the conclusion that’s its worthless!! They make it so hard for you to report each call by having to remember times, days, numbers etc. hell there’s to many of them. I don’t have time for all that.

  5. Ellen M.

    These people need to find a real job! Stop trying to scam your way through life! We seniors have worked all our lives for our retirement money now it is time for you scammers to work for yours!!! LEAVE US ALONE!!!!!

    Thank you,
    A senior that don’t take their stuff and you shouldn’t either!! Stand up to them and HANG UP!!!!!

  6. Roberr

    How do I report spam Social Security calls to the FTC or the FCC?

  7. Brenda H.

    I received a call saying that there’s a problem with my card ,it was a recorded message , the number is 940-252-8286 if that helps.

  8. JOSEPH L.

    Keep the message going. Thanks for what you do.

  9. Wayne A.

    I’ve contacted FTC about I’d theft and the government agencies that issued my check,yet I have not been reimbursed ,why .also contacted IRS to write off stolen check as a tax loss’s and I have still heard nothing. I even filed occ complaint and contacted the bank that cashed the check.they refuse to you tell me what IAM supposed to do,but sue the government.

  10. Anthony W.

    What I don’t understand why FTC and FCC not doing anything about 20 plus years robocall problem? If FTC and FCC demand all stop robocall tech tools inventions on the table and ask ? owners to Vote! which is best stop robocall tools in toolbox. Clearly the ? is 1998 phone invention FTC 98 BLT 739 CALLER ID SCREENER Automatically let phone owners control all incoming calls and messages. Phone full control separating legitimate ? from bad actors. Ensuring each time phone rings or messages it’s something of importance.

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