Frauds & Scams

Helping You Avoid Scams this Holiday Season

December 15, 2022 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: December 16, 2022

Helping You Avoid Scams this Holiday SeasonSocial Security-related scams continue to be widespread, especially during the holidays. Criminals pretending to be from Social Security and other federal government agencies are tricking victims into sending money or sharing personal information. The scam tactics and scripts may vary, but the ultimate goal is to pressure victims to send money using methods such as gift cards or wire transfers.

This holiday season, protect yourself from scams. Be skeptical and cautious of unexpected calls or messages. Criminals are using the names of federal government officials and sending pictures of documents, evidence, federal employee credentials, and law enforcement credentials and badges, to try to prove their legitimacy. They may change the picture or use a different name, agency, or badge number, always with the intent to scam people out of money or personal information.

Ignore suspicious calls, texts or social media messages, emails, and letters.

We will NEVER:

  • Send pictures of an employee’s official federal government identification.
  • Suspend your Social Security number.
  • Threaten you with arrest or other legal action unless you immediately pay a fine or fee.
  • Require payment by retail gift card, wire transfer, internet currency, or cash by mail.
  • Promise a benefit increase or other assistance in exchange for payment.
  • Send “official” letters or reports containing your personal information via email.

We only send automated emails and text messages if you have agreed to receive them from us and only in limited situations, including the following:

  • When you have subscribed to receive updates and notifications by email or text.
  • As part of our enhanced security when accessing your personal my Social Security account.

If you owe money to us, you will receive a letter with payment options and appeal rights. We do not accept gift cards, wire transfers, internet or cryptocurrency, or cash by mail.

Report suspected Social Security-related scams — and other Social Security fraud — to our Office of the Inspector General. Follow SSA’s OIG on Twitter @TheSSAOIG, Facebook @SSA Office of the Inspector General, and LinkedIn for the latest information about Social Security-related scams. Please share this message with your family and friends — because scammers never take a holiday break.


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  1. Lorraine S.

    I received a call today, January 6, 2023, claiming they are with Medicare. It was a local phone number. The lady told me she is with Medicare. I asked for name and phone number to call back. She refused and said that it was only a few questions. I explained I was busy and I wanted to call back. Again, stating it was only a few minutes of my time. I asked where she was calling from, or company, her name…she immediately hung up.
    I. If it is Medicare they typically don’t call. There is a legit number to call back. 2. I never give personal information, even birthdate. Easy way to get into your business.
    Only now I have to raise the flags and get in touch with Medicare.

    Reply
  2. JobzAlerts

    How can seniors avoid scams?
    Contact your phone provider. Ask your phone provider what services it provides to block unwanted calls. Put your phone number
    for more information visit this site
    https://jobzalerts.pk/

    Reply
  3. Gayle S.

    Received call in October from the FBU office in US Embassy London from an employee stating he was filing details regarding my application. Several other calls from him using embassy line.
    Then on November 4 he called from a cell number or a phone card. 8770 supposedly verifying my SS number.

    I later sent an email requesting claim status and a reply stated the Claim had been forwarded to Baltimore for final adjudication and benefits would be paid retroactively.

    Now, after no Notification of Award or bank confirmation I sent a mail and received from FBU London – Claims are taking Four (4) months to process. What happened to the Stated Thirty (30) day published processing policy?

    Reply
    • Ann C.

      Hi, Gayle. We are sorry to hear about your experience. You can submit feedback by visiting our Contact Social Security page. Once there, select the “Email Us” link. This will take you to the “Email A Question to our Support Team” form where you can complete and submit a compliment, complaint, or suggestion. We have also referred your concerns to our Operations Staff. We hope this helps.

      Reply
      • Gayle S.

        Thank you I am waiting!

        Reply
  4. Flo

    Whenever someone calls and asks for money through the phone I tell them THEY have to send me $1000.00 (COD!) FIRST, to make sure they are serious, and only then I’ll do business with them. Click…. They hang up.

    Also – IF you have nothing better to do, and some time to waste, you can play dumb and stall them for as long as you can, until they realize you are playing them. These scammers probably have to make hundreds of calls a day in order to hit a vulnerable victim. Therefore, the more you waste their time, the less victims they will hit.

    The upcoming senior citizen generations are starting to be more technology savvy than the baby boomers generation, so I hope they will be less prone to internet scams.

    Reply
    • Tony

      Placing hundreds of calls just to find one vulnerable victim is a lot of work.

      Scammers are looking for easy money. They want the victims to come to them.

      Scammers are on dating sites waiting for their victims. Scammers are wanting on people looking for free government grant money. Scammers with fake rent listings are waiting for renters looking to rent a house.

      Reply
    • Kimberly R.

      I was scammed out of nearly $12,000, by a man who gained my trust through an Army Romance Scam.

      If anybody out there has heard of a “Milly Gray,” RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION.”

      This man is dangerous. His emails: millygray47@gmail.com
      millygray423@gmail.com

      He claims to be a USA Army Captai, doctor & thoracic surgeon.

      He is a professional scam artist!

      Reply
  5. NIDIA

    I WAS SCAMMED FOR CLOSE TO $6000.00 SHE ASKED ME FOR MY INFORMATION. PHOTO, ADDRESS, DRIVER’S LICENCE ETC. SHE SAYS TO ME SHE WE HELP ME WE A PERSONAL GRANT.

    Reply
  6. Nicolette B.

    😳 BoA contacted me about my account.

    A new account was opened in Missouri and changed it to be my SSA direct deposit account and changed my email too. I was having trouble verifying I am ME! 😥

    Most translations are from Calif with “Thousands” of charges mostly online from MEXICO and COLUMBIA!! 😳. Scary.

    The bank messaged me since the email and phone was changed!!

    Reply
    • Flo

      This is SCARY.
      Did BofA notified you right away that your phone and email was changed. Did they fix the account? Did they reimburse you?

      Reply
  7. SALVADOR M.

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THE INFORMATION I HAVE A PROBLEM LOGIN IN TO MY SSI ACCOUNT AFTER I RECIVIED MY SECURITY CODE AN PUT IT IN THE SYSTEM IT AUTOMATICALY
    SENDS ME TO DOWN LOADE A UNKNOW DOCUMRNT AN I CANT SEE MY SSI ACCOUNT SORRY I NEED HELP.

    Reply
  8. Bruce B.

    Be weary as well of fake Amazon personnel calling saying that a laptop has been charged to your Amazon account and then being, “connected” to a government official who was going to have to cancel your social security number because it has been used for money laundering….there is not end to the crafty scams being carried out!

    Reply
    • Barbara F.

      I have received a similar call to this!! Caller said my Amazon account had been compromised for over $2500. I DO NOT have an Amazon account!! They wanted me to verify my phone number to to which I asked them what number did you use to call me??? He wanted me to verify my bank card that’s associated with my Amazon account. I just kept giving them FALSE information to their questions. I kept them on the phone for over one hour. I explained that I was 73 and hard of hearing (which I am), so I repeated alot of his questions. Finally, I told him that he’s nothing but a “Low life scammer” and I was totally sick and tired of seniors like me being scammed out of our hard earned money!!! I told him to find a decent, honest job, instead of stealing from honest people!!!!

      Reply
  9. arthur s.

    I receive daily tel calls from India asking ‘ have you received your new medicare card.?’ When you answer in the neg they know your name and home address and state if you provide issuance date they will send a new card, an obvious scam looking to rip off Uncle Sam.

    Reply
  10. Suzanne

    Thank you so much for sending this information. We should not have to live like this, but, it feels like honesty is outnumbered by fraud these days. Thanks again for looking out for us!

    Reply

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