Frauds & Scams

Beware of Scams During this Holiday Season

December 22, 2020 • By

Reading Time: 1 Minute

Last Updated: February 5, 2021

Beware of Scams During this Holiday SeasonWe continue to receive reports about scam phone calls and emails from people claiming to be Social Security employees. Don’t fall for it. Those calls and emails are from scammers trying to trick you into providing personal information or money, and often threaten their victims with arrest. This holiday season, we ask that you remain extra vigilant of these fraud tactics.

While our employees are conducting most business by phone due to the pandemic, we want to remind you that our employees will never:

  • Threaten you with benefit suspension, arrest, or other legal action unless you pay a fine or fee.
  • Tell you that your Social Security number has been suspended.
  • 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 owe money to Social Security, we will mail you a letter explaining your rights, payment options, and information about appealing.

If you receive a suspicious call or email, or you’re unsure of the identity of someone who claims to be from Social Security:

Please share this message with your family and friends — because scammers never take a holiday break.

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About the Author

Darlynda Bogle, Assistant Deputy Commissioner

Darlynda Bogle, Assistant Deputy Commissioner


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  5. Nicolas

    Hello.This post was really interesting, particularly since I was looking for thoughts on this issue last Friday.

  6. Laura M.

    On 2/25/21 and again on 3/3/21 I received phone calls with a recorded message telling me that my social security number has been canceled, and that criminal activities have been tied to me and my number. They warned that they would enforce legal action against me, and after the first call, I pushed #1 as advised, in order to speak with someone. The man I spoke with was very abrupt and he insisted that I give him my name and he asked how he could help me. I advised him that he called me. I asked him for his name, he took offence to that. I asked him to spell it as he had a very heavy accent that made it difficult for me to understand. I then asked him for his address and phone number and he refused to give it to me. Assuming this to be a fraudulent call, I’ll admit that I had an attitude right back at him, and he ultimately hung up on me. I didn’t respond to the second call. Both numbers were different, from my area code 208.

    • Vonda

      Thanks for letting us know, Laura. Generally, we will only contact you if you have requested a call or have ongoing business with us. Recently, scams—misleading victims into making cash or gift card payments to avoid arrest for Social Security number problems—have skyrocketed. Our employees will never threaten you for information or promise a benefit in exchange for personal information or money.

      If you receive a suspicious call like this: 1) Hang up. 2) Do not provide personal information, money, or retail gift cards. 3) Report suspicious calls here. For more information on how to protect yourself, check out our Frequently Asked Questions. We hope this helps.

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