Frauds & Scams

Don’t Become the Catch of the Day

August 31, 2017 • By

Reading Time: 1 Minute

Last Updated: August 19, 2021

hook holing a tag Verifying and protecting your identity is of great importance to us at Social Security. We dedicated an entire section of our website to explaining how we process your information online and verify Social Security numbers. We include helpful tips you should be aware of on avoiding identity theft schemes and ways to make your online presence more secure! 

Did you know that when Internet fraudsters impersonate a business to trick you into giving out your personal information, it’s called phishing? On our website, you’ll find information on how to detect a phishing scam. For example, emails from Social Security will come from a “.gov” email address. If an email address does not end in “.gov”, use caution before selecting pictures or links in the email. Also, do not respond to emails requesting you provide personal information. Social Security will never ask you to provide personal information via email. You should never respond to an email if you are not certain it came from Social Security. Do not open it or select any links contained in the email message.

Our mission is to provide you with world-class service. Part of that commitment is making sure you know who to trust and what to be cautious about when it comes to personal information and protecting your identity.

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About the Author

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications


  1. Terry C.

    Someone may of put my SS# over the internet. Is this a crime?

  2. David

    My mom who is 90 just received a letter from social security which had no seal/insignia and the postage was inked stamped from a mailing machine supposedly from the Parker street branch here in the Bronx. The letter stated to call so they can question her to verify identity for a possible increase in her benefit and must reply before Oct 21st , I think this is a scam.

    • Ray F.

      Hi David. If a person has doubts about any communication—email, letter, text or phone call—that claims to be from SSA, please call Social Security’s toll-free customer service number at 1-800-772-1213, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, to verify its legitimacy (TTY number at 1-800-325-0778). Thanks.

  3. Diane T.

    I received a letter from SSA that shows I may be able to get SSI because I am over 65. I did not apply for anything. Is this letter real or a scam?

    • Ray F.

      Thank you for contacting us, Diane. Social Security recently sent notices to beneficiaries already receiving retirement or disability (SSDI) benefits, whose records indicate that they currently receive a monthly benefit amount that is less than the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Federal Benefit Rate. While the letter does not guarantee eligibility, we want to make sure that the information makes potentially eligible individuals aware of the program, and encourage them to inquire about their eligibility for SSI benefits. To avoid potential loss of benefits follow the instructions of the letter and contact us as soon as possible. Please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 for further assistance. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Or contact your local Social Security office directly.

  4. Al W.

    Is there something that SSA is doing about the recent news on Equifax hacking? Or any additional advice/tips? I just updated my password and opted for texted security code but even cell phones can be hacked now. How can we tell if someone has used our SS#? Is there an alert? There is an Experian ad about scanning to see if you are in the dark web. Is this for real? I am very leery about providing my SS# unless there’s a compelling legitimate reason to provide it.

    • Ray F.

      Although we sometimes use Equifax to help verify your identity when setting up a my Social Security account, Social Security never shares Social Security numbers with Equifax. For concerns regarding the Equifax data breach, please contact Equifax directly at 866-447-7559 or

  5. Joanne

    HA! If verifying and protecting my identity is of great importance to Social Security, then why did a representative call me, after I applied online for Social Security, to discuss my claim want all of my personal and confidential information to verify who I was, yet there was no way I could verify who he was at that time? I asked him to provide the online confirmation number of my claim and he said “That’s not the way it’s done”. Well that’s the way it could be done (at least from my perspective). This process definitely needs to be improved!

  6. Donna D.

    Someone else in Illinois has used my SSN. Is there anything you can do about that? I discovered that when I was still working my last full time job at Collect America. They had the software that pulled up another name on the usage of my SSN.
    I have the guy’s name here somewhere in my paperwork, but I have to look for it. Would this affect my benefits at all?

  7. Daphne R.

    I have been phished before cause I only have a phone for internet and am not able to find out about resources here in a rual area

  8. Daphne R.

    How can I get help I’m a single mom with PTSD .two small boys and many other physical health issue I’ve moved to a different state for the safety and well-being of my family and found it impossible to get the correct help or access programs for us I’m scared and don’t want to die because of not knowing what to do I’ve asked everyone and can’t get any answers in my hometown people had heart and didn’t discriminate over race cred color or disability and here they do we’re do I turn

  9. Brandy'sMom

    Re: “look for grammatical & misspelling mistakes” – this article has misused “who” for “whom” (last sentence). “Whom” is objective, receiving the trust. “Who” is subjective, relating to the pronoun “you.”

  10. Ted

    why is my ssn used as the ID acct # on my medicare card? doesn’t this invite serious security breaches mentioned above?

    do you know if medicare will re-issue cards with new, or scrambled acct #’s in the near future? thx for the info.

    • Kenny O.

      Hello Ted. We understand your concern. Under current law, Medicare providers need to know your Social Security number in order to provide you the benefits to which you are entitled. Generally, they only have to see and verify your Medicare card at the time they provide initial medical services. The good news is that a new Medicare card is coming. The Medicare program, including Medicare cards, is managed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). We hope this helps.

      • Ted

        Thank you for the good news, Kenny.

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