Frauds & Scams

IG Warns Public About Fraudulent Phone Calls Threatening Arrest or Legal Action

December 7, 2018 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: December 7, 2018

" "The Acting Inspector General of Social Security, Gale Stallworth Stone, is urging citizens to remain vigilant of telephone impersonation schemes that exploit the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) reputation and authority.

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) continues to receive reports from across the country about fraudulent phone calls from people claiming to be from SSA.  Recent reports have indicated that unknown callers are using increasingly threatening language in these calls.  The callers state, due to improper or illegal activity with a citizen’s Social Security number (SSN) or account, a citizen will be arrested or face other legal action if they fail to call a provided phone number to address the issue.  This is a scam; citizens should not engage with these calls or provide any personal information.

SSA employees do contact citizens, generally those who have ongoing business with SSA, by telephone for customer-service purposes.  However, SSA employees will never threaten you for information; they will not state that you face potential arrest or other legal action if you fail to provide information.  In those cases, the call is fraudulent, and you should just hang up.

“Unfortunately, scammers will try anything to mislead and harm innocent people, including scaring them into thinking that something is wrong with their Social Security account and they might be arrested,” Stone said.  “I encourage everyone to remain watchful of these schemes and to alert family members and friends of their prevalence.  We will continue to track these scams and warn citizens, so that they can stay several steps ahead of these thieves.”

The OIG recently warned that some of these impersonation calls have “spoofed” SSA’s national customer service phone number, displaying 1-800-772-1213 as the incoming number on caller ID.

The Acting Inspector General urges citizens to be extremely cautious, and to avoid providing 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.  If you receive a suspicious call from someone alleging to be from SSA, you should report that information to the OIG at 1-800-269-0271 or online at

For more information, please visit media inquiries, please contact Andrew Cannarsa, OIG’s Communications Director, at (410) 965-2671.

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Andrew Cannarsa, OIG Communications Director

Andrew Cannarsa, OIG Communications Director


  1. director

    I been call numerous times threatening to come and arrest me if I do not resolve a issue I hang up most times it’s a 646 number.

    • Dolores R.

      I have the same info that was recorded and when I called Social Security, they told me not to answer, just delete and report it to Attorney General, but the hold was too long. Per SSA, no employee of SSA will call. These scammers are treating the senior Citizens. I just deleted the call as SSA said. The calls are coming from Unknown numbers

  2. Bonnie J.

    I let it go to voicemail now because I can no longer trust even my family calling me! These are ugly hurtful calls! These people who do this have no integrity or respect even for themselves! For me it’s about trust and honesty!

    • Greg S.

      Well said thanks ? for sharing your thoughts also the calls that I will be arrested 512 Is the number

  3. Mousielove

    Just wondering why the model in the photo is white. Shouldn’t the government shoulder a bit more responsibility for inclusion? (I am white, by the way.)

    • James

      Concur. Why is there a humanoid in the article anyway. The Director or Assistant, can’t write an article without a humanoid
      It’s a sad world.

      • Propellerhead

        Because Blacks represent only 13.5% of the population and yet are 500% over represented in ads and entertainment already. End of story, stupid.

      • Concerned c.

        There is a humanoid in the article to bring it familiarity. If your going to splay color why not gender too?
        Why can’t you just be thankful for the important notice so your gender and race isn’t compromised.

    • KAYE

      OH MY GOD. Why does EVERYTHING have to be about color. It doesn’t matter if it is BLACK, WHITE, RED or PURPLE. Stop with making everything about RACE. This is what gets things started and problems begin. YES, I AM ALSO WHITE! And who cares?

      • Neels

        Hear! Hear! The politically thought police make me sick!

      • Joseph W.

        Because, the person who made the comment is a troll that wants to force race issues when it doesn’t matter.
        I’ll bet anything that “mousielove” is a Republican voter who backs Trump 1000% on everything and doesn’t really care the model’s white. In fact, “mousielove” would probably whine and complain if the model were of the “permanent tan” variety.

  4. Faye F.

    I received one of those calls yesterday on my answering machine. Thanks for the warning

  5. M

    Fraudulent IRS calls as well.

  6. Barbara e.

    I don’t answer my phone unless a name comes up that I know. A call with just a number …. I don’t answer. That’s safer for me.

    • Deborah D.

      lately I get calls that come in as people from my neighborhood- businesses and such, but when you answer it’s a telemarketer or something. You can’t rely on your phone id anymore .

  7. Russell T.

    We should not be cowering in the wake of scammers. The technology exists to identify; trace and arrest these thieves. Why doesn’t Social Security hire IT savvy experts and work to pass legislation that will allow them to stop this extortion and theft.

    • Tom

      The same reason that offices continue to close or be understaffed. Why you have to wait to get through on the phone or sitting waiting for your number to be called. It is interesting that millions want less government, and reduce their own taxes, yet expect a Cadillac level of services. Perhaps if you cut your spending by 30% you can see how difficult it is to not only maintain your current lifestyle choices, but even expand them.

      • Marc

        BRAVO! I’ve said that here dozens of times and still see the scathing criticisms of SSA and all our government programs that keep getting cut because of cries for “smaller government” “less regulation.” Making rules & laws to protect consumers IS regulating these industries. But you are all too willing to jump on the crazy train to enrich the wealthy then blame the government when your benefits are cut to pay for walls and wars and defense contractors.

        • Allison

          I may have gotten a call that was a scam but decided not to pursue reporting other than making an appointment so that I would get a “real’ letter, then called my local office to see what they had to say. Now I feel bad for the poor woman who was likely for real and just trying to help me but my .suspicions seem to have been well founded.
          I am hoping the new Congress will be successful and stomp on the GOP for blatantly harming US citizens who need assistance, and get the funding to expand SSA. SSDI, SSI as well as ACA,SNAP, WIC and Medicaid and Medicare. I wish they would get off their lazy butts and do the jobs WE pay them to. I don’t envy the SSA employees who have to deal with all the negativity! I thank all of them for hanging in in there. ?
          Meanwhile the shutdown continues…

          • Delilah

            So do you think money grows on trees?

        • Jason S.

          I agree.

        • Buster P.

          Marc, I think it was you that mentioned the wall. This is not a forum for notes on immigration but it is the # 1 topic in our nation and since you brought it up I like everyone else has an opinion It has been a hot issue for many years under so many Presidents and their administrations. They were all afraid of the backlash. They wanted these people for their cheap labor in orchards and vegetable fields, was essential to the economy they said. It was to hot to handle. We now have a President that is not afraid to act because he cares about your protection and our country, he gets nothing from the wall except the best way to keep illegals out of the country. It scares me to see 5,000 or 10,000 immigrants from all these countries coming here because they know we are soft. They know we won’t act. They want a better life at our expense President Trump is doing above all odds to keep us from becoming a third world country also. He endures a lot of pain for what he belives ie, redicule, disrespect to himself, the office and his family, being called an idiot, etc. trying to keep illegals out of our country. Quite frankly I would not take it, i’d tell the American people where to stick this job. After all he is not taking his pay for doing the job so why else does he put up with this abuse? I think it’s because the country has been good to him and he love America and he’s rying to give back. Leave him alone and let him do his job Years ago before Pelosi and Shumer you would not have heard one American say “Open the border and let them all in” but the modern day Dems are slowly converting a lot of Americans Dems are not afraid of illegals taking our few jobs, overcrowding our all ready overcrowded schools with too few teachers, taking our SS money that we worked hard and long to get and probably won’t before it runs out. Simply put we just don’t have the room or the resources to entertain all these illegal immigrants and still accept the legal ones as well. Tired of hearing of the killings, road accidents, scams, etc. by illegals. Yes it’s a lot of money that i’d rather not spend either but for so many years no one of our leaders have had a better idea and now we must act, no more waiting. If the ones at the border now do get in more and more will come to the “Promise Land” and I don’t want to live to see it.

          One last thing, the border patrol, as good a job as they do they are unable to stop illegals from coming in especially in mass numbers as you are starting to see and wwill only get worse. They need help and the wall will help very very much and then they should be able to control the situation. It’s a very high priority with this President and thank God we have a President that is willing to stand up for what he believes is good for our country dispite the name calling. And shame on all Americans for that.. We are such good people.

          • Joseph W.

            Buster (in more ways than one), people who are in this country illegally do NOT collect a single penny from Social Security but, if they’re employed in some job that withholds FICA (that’s Social Security and Medicare), they DO pay into the system.
            As for Trump, as soon as that moron quits hiring people here illegally (plenty at his hotels and his golf courses all over the country–including Mar-a-Lago), then he can start complaining about a wall.
            And, just for the record, Trump and the GOP were in COMPLETE CONTROL OF THE COUNTRY FOR TWO SOLID YEARS but–for some unknown reason–couldn’t manage to get that damned wall paid for. But you, like all the rest of the GOP/Trump sheeple, have fallen prey to a conman who likes to scare you with nonsense and a whole lot of FAKE crap and you idiots keep voting for the INEFFECTIVE idiots who now claim the wall is so important that it has to be built now (but, again, for TWO YEARS, it wasn’t that important).

      • Jason S.

        I agree completely!

        • VENITA H.


          • Jack

            Does anyone think it’s okay to provide them with false information? I have done that just to screw with them, thinking the phone calls would stop. They don’t but it’s still fun to screw with them.

    • pj

      Russell, SS can’t hire anyone like that because Trump is taking money from them and everyone else to build his wall. Did you see and/or hear about the test results on his wall? They were getting over it yet there will be no revisions. Trump doesn’t care what anybody thinks, feel, needs or is mandatory. He just wants to think he’s right and he keeps building golf courses.

  8. Madeline M.

    Thank you for this important message.

  9. Gerald B.

    Thank you for warning me. I appreciate it very much.

  10. John E.

    You say “We will continue to track these scams and warn citizens”. Are any of these scammers being tried & fined or imprisoned? Warnings to citizens are the first step but not enough.

    • Karina R.

      I got a call from a scammer not so long ago they threatened me and my kids that they had all my information and they knew I had kids. I called the police. The police officer sounded annoyed by my call and told me “just don’t answer them or give them information” and hung up. They don’t care. Until something bad actually happens that’s when they bow their heads and do everything they can.

    • Lois C.

      We just got one this afternoon, they said we would no longer get our s.s.i, boy was that spooky, and we would go to jail if we didn’t do something, dont know what I just hung up, but my hubby is not to happy with it.” yes what are they going to do about it?

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