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. Marry M.

    The Online Services are very much effected by the scams. So choosing the right blog will get you safe from scam. Read our Blog

  2. Rachel G.

    On 9/10/2020 I received an email from APPLE. When I contacted APPLE it was
    determined the email was fraudulent.
    Unfortunately, I had already provided my personal information including my SS number and bank card information as requested in the phishing email. What do I need to do to protect my identity and SS information?

  3. Joe K.

    Just applied for SS. My birthday 13 sept I will be 66. Applied For SS online and someone called my Cell Phone and asked me for mothers maiden name and another SS security question . I gave it to him and was informed my check will come in October. DO YOU CALL APPLICANTS ON CELL PHONES AND ASK SUCH QUESTIONS ?

    • V.V.

      Hi Joe, thanks for checking with us. Generally, we will only contact you if you have requested a call or have ongoing business with us. Because you recently applied for benefits, it is very possible that the Social Security representative needed additional information from you. However, if you’re still unsure, feel free to call us at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance or you can contact your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.


    How I get a PIN number so no body open account ya in my name because I lost my card

  5. Peggy

    My blog, is about a medicare scam in Nevada in a group home,
    Creative Possibilities of Northern Nevada,
    Reports were submitted to OIG but nothing was done.
    Investigator ‘Ike’ referred the complaint BACK to
    the state medicaid office. SSA SAYS they monitor medicare and
    medicaid fraud, but the watchdog is like a fox in the hen house

  6. Jeremy E.

    This is just about fraud!!! The man I trusted like a father to over see my SSDI stole 24,000$ out of my SSDI settlement, and claims when I’m in the hospital or rehab and now I’m being accused of taking 4,200$ that I was not entitled to yet he took it when I was in rehab, jail…. along with food stamps and before unemployment….
    but I don’t understand how he can take 24,000$ while I’m at my families house for a week without asking prior permission I did say I would give home some money to pay bills but he took it as repayment of a loan??? Really
    I’ve written 6 lettters to social security Administration and emailed 12 times with no answer nor help…. I thought that’s why they swear not to steal funds and have to sign a bond in the beginning!!!!! Now I’m broke and I have nothing to offfer he’s kicking me out with 3 garbage bags of cloths that’s it after 10 years without a penny !!
    Can someone please help

  7. onlinehefaz


  8. Nellie O.

    I received an email from stating I should review my Ss statement and that it has important SS info estimates of future benefits
    The site that is posted is your statement and sign in to account.
    They message says to enter username and password. Then to enter a security code that will be sent by text or email
    It says thanks for going green then it says that not to reply to the email as they are not able to respond to messages sent to this address.

    • V.V.

      Hi Nellie, thank you for checking in with us. Check out our Frequently Asked Questions web page on how to check your Social Security Statement and your earnings record. We hope this is helpful.

  9. Perry

    My wife and I have been victims of ID theft, by my father-and can’t even get the police to do their jobs. One example of many, the IRS directed us to go to IRS.GOV and down load a form. Next, file a police report, then call the number to make an. appt at our local IRS office to turn the paperwork in since he has changed my wife’s address at our physical address and her P.O. box, therefore, having 2 case numbers at the USPS. We were denied taking out a police report as the IRS instructed us to do. Instead, they attached it to an investigation done in 2017 showing he had COMPLETED the crime of 1180/ wire fraud etc. for illegally gaining access to my wife’s cell phone acct and still has not been arrested on, even with his own statement of doing it.(a felony) He is using all my wife’s information (drivers license, SS number, name and email) to get a lot of insurance quotes on his vehicle using her personal information, provided her email to have his vehicle serviced , has dealt with a car dealership, and not to mention, we live in the state and county where our “elected” sheriff was just recently charged with the murder of one of his deputies (racially motivated). Not to mention the detective that did the investigation of him gaining access to her phone acct and making changes to her acct.(the acct is in my wife’s name only) and since they attached the report about the IRS to the investigation report from her phone in 2017, ONLY my wife can pick up the police report even though the 2 letters from the IRS are addressed to myself.
    He also impersonated me using my first, middle and last name to give false statements under oath to the police department. Only to have my wife arrested! She spent 4 days in jail, was not given her medication while being illegally incarcerated and denied release. But the paperwork she has, shows she was taken before a judge the 2nd day and was given a bond and a receipt in HER NAME ( also illegal in this state Bc you can NOT bail your own self out of jail ) and the same day picked up a second charge which was nothing more than the original arrest paper of simple assault being copied and then domestic case put at the bottom. The papers she has also say she can NOT get out of jail until 4:51 A.M. the next day, but still was not released until the 4th day of being falsely arrested. My wife tried to get a copy of the police report and paid $5 to get it, only for a couple of officers telling the clerk to give the money back to her but they forgot to get her receipt! After nearly 5 years of being denied the report, she was lucky to catch a different person working whom just recently let her buy a copy of the FABRICATED POLICE REPORT! There are even “court records” showing she went to court on 7/20 and all charges were dropped on her Bc the witness & the victim said so. My wife nor I have ever been to court from that false arrest due to my father impersonating myself. We just went this past week to try to file a report of my father impersonating me and was denied the right to take out a police report. The so called officer on duty was very rude to us, yelling at my wife as he bullied her telling her he was about to get very angry when all she did was spoke the truth and he said she was lying based upon the police report he had. A false police report is what he had in his hand. He clearly stated that the officer from that night is who saw my wife hit me( she never touched anybody ). But she was arrested and denied release from April to June on her paperwork and the officer was a little smart ass by asking her why and she replied to him that he would have to ask the magistrate.
    He even went as far as to saying the only thing about my father on the police report is that he was my next of kin. That is NOT on the police report and if they put it there, it’s wrong Bc my wife is my next of kin, not my father! Once he found out my wife had attained a copy of the police report, he showed much aggression and told her she was not suppose to have it and basically, I was denied the right to take out a report on my father impersonating me from that night acting as if he were me. Although the police officer told us that we were calling the deputy a lie by saying he witnessed my wife assaulting me. He tried to tell us that simple assault is domestic violence when 2 people are in a relationship and my wife said she was not married to my father, he got really angry. She informed him she had all the original paperwork from that night and a copy of the falsified police report and the paper showing my father used my entire name and took charges out on her saying I witnessed my wife assaulting my father. He kept saying his officer is who witnessed it. And if that was the truth, please explain how my wife’s charges were dismissed Bc the court records show the witness and the victim had had them dismissed and not the officer that says he witnessed it. And by the way, my wife nor I have EVER been to court from that. And since going to the police department a few days ago, the police are constantly following and watching my wife like a hawk.
    Not to mention my father has broken the law by committing felony charges against my wife and has not been arrested, and assaulting my wife but nobody will help my wife or myself!

  10. Juann S.

    Hello I can’t be spending cash at the local grocery store. I’ve not received my Snap allotment as yet. They told me to wait. I am a DIABETIC. Please help

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