Frauds & Scams, Guest Bloggers, Office of the Inspector General

Inspector General Warns Public about Phone Calls from OIG “Imposters”

March 6, 2017 • By

Last Updated: March 6, 2017

woman looking at cell phone The Acting Inspector General of Social Security, Gale Stallworth Stone, is warning citizens about a nationwide telephone “imposter phishing” scheme. The Social Security Administration (SSA) and its Office of the Inspector General (OIG) have received several reports from citizens across the country about persons receiving phone calls from individuals posing as OIG investigators. The caller indicates an issue exists pertaining to the person’s Social Security account or Social Security number (SSN) and directs the person call a non-SSA telephone number to address the issue.

The reports indicate the calls include a recording from a caller stating she is “Nancy Jones,” an “officer with the Inspector General of Social Security.” The recording goes on to say the person’s Social Security account, SSN, and/or benefits are suspended, and that he or she should call 806-680-2373 to resolve the issue. Citizens should be aware that the scheme’s details may vary; however, citizens should avoid calling the number provided, as the unknown caller might attempt to acquire personal information.

OIG investigators occasionally contact citizens by telephone for investigative purposes, but they will not request sensitive personal information from a citizen over the phone. If a person receives a similar suspicious call from someone alleging to be from the OIG, citizens may report that information to the OIG at 1-800-269-0271 or online via https://oig.ssa.gov/report.

Acting Inspector General Stone said, “This phishing scheme is targeting unsuspecting persons for the purpose of Social Security benefit theft or identity theft.” She warns citizens to be cautious, and to avoid providing personal information such as your SSN or bank account numbers to unknown persons over the phone or internet unless you are certain of who is receiving it. “You must be very confident that the source is the correct business party, and that your information will be secure after you release it,” Stone said.

If a person has questions about any communication—email, letter, text or phone call—that claims to be from SSA or the OIG, please contact your local Social Security office, or 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. (Those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can call Social Security’s TTY number at 1-800-325-0778.)


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About the Author

Andrew Cannarsa, OIG Communications Director

Andrew Cannarsa, OIG Communications Director

Comments

  1. Charles Buck

    If someone wants your SS# all they have to see is your Medicare card and gov’t will never change that because it would not be cost efficient. Right? Hey SS guys/gals; answer Augusto’s question. How do we know you is you?

    • John

      Call SSA at their published # and ask them.

    • Ray Fernandez, Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi Charles. OIG investigators occasionally contact citizens by telephone for investigative purposes, but they will not request sensitive personal information from a citizen over the phone. We generally send a letter asking you to contact us if we need more information. Remember that our official agency correspondence will always include our SSA seal and proper letterhead. When in doubt, please call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thanks.

      • Ronnie Bennett-Bray

        There you go again – “… We generally send a letter … ”

        HOw is your incessant “GENERALLY” aimed at helping people with serious doubtys and questions?

        Get a strict policy and run with it and no more GENERALLYs.

        • ahsummer

          You can also ask for a badge no. (Same thing as employee id no.)

        • Marc

          And you ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS DO EVERYTJING exactly the same way. Come on, get real @Ronnie Bennet Bray! Thete is NO SUCH THING as an absolute, it does not exist, so your little tirade about “generally” is a tempest in a teapot and frankly, childish. Get over it.

      • Calvan North

        How are bwe supposed to call any # while on the phone? I had a call from someone who gave me a name: Ellie Smith, and a supposed gov. ID #. How was I to know? I checked online at Robokiller After giving my address and last 4 and found out that was a known scammers # Goody!

  2. Walter Ference

    Someone is still answering calls at that no. and stating that it is the SSA. Why are these people still in operation?

  3. Dee Bickford

    I hope when I tried to report the calls that I received got to someone. The caller would assure me my file was ok, but they needed to update information! I gave them nothing in return except to tell them the call may be recorded on my end, now tell me again the purpose for your call… and they promptly hung up! If an official truly wants information from you they send letters.

  4. Richard Jean

    Doesn’t SSA mail out notices about issues concerning your account instead of calling?

    • Laura Waddell

      SSA and IRS ALWAYS mail out notices on just about everything, but definitely anything that affects your benefit, either positively or negatively.
      What these criminals are hoping is they get some sweet, trusting Senior or disabled person on the line who figures if the caller says they’re from the government, it must be the truth. Unfortunately, Baby Boomers (mostly) were raised to absolutely respect government officials, so they tend to be the targets of scams like this.
      Stealing from anyone is wrong, but from the elderly or disabled just makes it that much worse.
      Scams like this and many others are becoming the rule and not the exception & it’s just sad. Personally, I’m completely disabled and cannot work any longer. It’s almost a blessing because it gives me time each day to wade thru this junk.

      • Marc

        You sound like a compassionate person. Wish we had more like you out there. Thank you for a positive, kind post.

    • Ray Fernandez, Public Affairs Specialist

      You’re right Richard, we generally send a letter asking you to contact us if we need more information. Remember that our official agency correspondence will always include our SSA seal and proper letterhead. When in doubt, please call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thanks.

      • Ronnie Bennett-Bray

        There you go again with “GENERALLY!”

      • tim turner

        the ssa seal and letterhead can also be duplicated

  5. Patricia Lemoi

    I receive such a call stating that I owed money from 10 years ago. Explained to them that SSA or the IRS do not call and hung up!

    • Ray Fernandez, Public Affairs Specialist

      You’re right Patricia, we generally send a letter asking you to contact us if we need more information. Remember that our official agency correspondence will always include our SSA seal and proper letterhead. When in doubt, please call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thanks.

      • Ronnie Bennett-Bray

        What you “GENERALLY” do is most unhelpful to those that get calls such as are here com[pained of>

        Eithjer you have a strict policy of NOT EVER calling for SS#s or else you DO NOT have such a policy.

        “If the trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who shall prepare for battle?”

        Firm up yopur [policies or else remain foprever supect.

  6. Imogene Brown

    I receive calls stating that their records show I have back or knee problems, and they wish to set me up with implements to relieve the pain. I asked where the calls are coming from. Several came from CA. Is it coincidental that I moved back to NJ from NV 1 1/2 years ago? Did the physicians in Vegas sell my records? Or do the callers assume all older folks have joint problems? I’ve told these callers do not call me with their scams! Any other calls, I immediately hang up. I don’t have time for them.

  7. Shannon Bigham

    Thank you for the warning!

  8. GRADY PHILLIPS

    IT IS ALWAYS IMPORTANT TO CHECK THE SOURCE FOR YOU CANNOT BE TOO CAREFUL !

  9. augusto romano

    How are you able to distinguish if the caller is really from OIG?
    The article mentions “being confident” the calls really comes from OIG.

    • sRae

      they simply will not call about that kind of information. government agencies send a letter on official letterhead

      • Ray Fernandez, Public Affairs Specialist

        You’re right, we generally send a letter asking you to contact us if we need more information. Our official agency correspondence will always include our SSA seal and proper letterhead. Thanks.

        • Julie

          This is incorrect. I had a SS person call me and act strange. I asked him to hold while I verified he was from SS and he hung up on me…..after finally getting through to the local office and their search he was a ss employee calling to ask my ss#. Now I have been under review for about a year.
          All because i had the audacity to question somebody with the last name smith calling and asking my SS#. I was told i should not have yelled at him and now I will have to wait some time to know if I lose my SS because of an unknown SS person calling me asking my SS number. Shouldn’t that person have had it?

          • Madhvi Singh

            U are fine. Social security will write a letter and also they will themselves have ur number

    • Ray Fernandez, Public Affairs Specialist

      OIG investigators occasionally contact citizens by telephone for investigative purposes, but they will not request sensitive personal information from a citizen over the phone. If a person receives a similar suspicious call from someone alleging to be from the OIG, citizens may report that information to the OIG at 1-800-269-0271 or online via https://oig.ssa.gov/report.

  10. johanna shreve

    What resources do you provide to the blind?

    • Ann Clifton

      Hi, Johanna. Thanks for your question. We have several special services to help people who are blind or have low vision, and people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. For more information, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions. There are also different ways to receive information from us if you are blind or have a visual impairment. To learn more, visit our page, “Special Notice Option for the Blind or Visually Impaired.” You can also request Social Security publications in enlarged print. To request copies of these publications, visit our webpage called How to Order Alternative Media. We hope this helps!

      • Lesly Francois

        Dear Mr what do you think if I am an disability ssi checks and social security administration send me a letter let me know I old ssa $19,68.00 to pay back I am 63 years old and I am disable what I can do

        • John

          Follow the appeal instructions in the letter.

        • Ray Fernandez, Public Affairs Specialist

          We wish we could be more help Lesly, but for security reasons we do not have access to personal records in this blog. To request “partial withholding of your benefits” to repay the overpayment, you need to contact your local office as soon as possible or call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. For more information and to learn about an appeal and waiver rights, read our publication on “Overpayments“.

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