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.

Did you find this Information helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!
See Comments

About the Author

Andrew Cannarsa, OIG Communications Director

Andrew Cannarsa, OIG Communications Director


  1. Doreen

    People be aware of scams. Don’t fall for this.

  2. Tina M.

    I have received several of these calls. They even threatened me that I would be arrest within an hour. I told them I would wait for the sheriff to come.
    I was hoping the calls would stop but they continue.
    Thanks for the warning!

  3. Samuel &.

    We appreciate your security measures,however since someone used my spouses SS number for employment you have mad it impossible for her to get retirement benefits.No one will help or cares.They just continue to send new passwords.This process is flawed because that alone doesn’t work.This has gone on for months and prevented retirement.It is wrong.

    • T. Z.

      The situation you stated is an FBI felony criminal matter. Contact your regional FBI office; also your sheriff’s fraud officer and state’s law enforcement. Have you made an in-person visit to your Social Security Office?
      Always go to the available law enforcement and the 3 credits reporting corporation; these enforcers are resources available to us, we Seniors are all targets. We must be proactive and follow-up with all resources; each one has too many cases of cyber criminal activity.
      Criminals find ways to break passwords and sell our information to the Dark Web; I personally know my information has been sold. First.I froze my credit reporting companies. Now, I use a PIN to open it, as needed for very brief window periods. Only when I need to provide a new account a release to a known. So much to our Golden Years; staying vigilance is a requirement.

    • Vonda V.

      Hello Samuel & Kathryn. We are sorry to hear about the difficulties you are experiencing in creating a my Social Security account. However, you do not need a my Social Security account to apply for retirement benefits. You can schedule an appointment by:
      •Calling us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday; or
      •Contacting your local Social Security office.

  4. Robert

    When any of these scammers threaten me with arrest, I just tell them to “come and arrest me!” , they hang up!

    • T. Z.

      Yes, I try to have ‘fun’ with these criminals to ‘tick them off’. I let them do their ‘pitch’ to catch their accent Similar to saying “how’s your weather today in… India, Africa, Philippines, China, Mexico, Nicaragua, England? They hang-up.
      It is best to freeze all of your credit with your credit reporting companies getting a PIN to use it when credit report release is needed. I open mine for a one hour period and let the potential creditor know that little fact.

  5. Claudia L.

    I love to hear that you take actions in matter like this that one make us understand that be part of this nice program from agency’s from a nice nation like this is ours responsibility to support any suspicious behavior Iam not really good whit my grammar but I hope you understand that little big I know and I would say thanks to the ones who really support programs for desabilities person like me and many ones a round this beautifull nation and is good to hear exelent news like this to communicate and protected a real nice programs like this thanks from your friend.

    Claudia L. Castro Chacon.

  6. celia c.

    I have received a number of calls threatening arrest, person speaks very quickly saying to press number on key pad to speak with representative, I listen do not speak and hang up.

  7. Marge

    Yes they called me the area code was
    405 they said someone used my SS number in Texas. They found 9 lb of coke. Told me my SS Card is being closed down at all banks within an hour. They wanted me to go to the Dollar Tree and get gift cards from my bank account and my charge card. They were very conveniency .

    • Jennifer C.

      Someone I know got a similar call. They said his info was used to rent a car, which was found with a dead body in the trunk. They requested personal info which they claimed was needed to verify his innocence. He knew something was off and didn’t provide the requested data. It was still convincing enough, however, to leave him shaken and worried.

  8. JAMES

    Who would ever thought the computers in the wrong hands would be so damaging. The government can’t protect itself, how are they going to protect me. This is all coming from prophecy. Be ready to get your number, to buy and sell. People will steal you blind, and companies are equally guilty, and more so.

  9. Jane

    I have lost count of how many of these calls I’ve received. I’ve known from the beginning they are scammers. They use the Washington DC area code. I’ve told them they are scammers and while they are still protesting I hang up. I hope they get arrested and stay in prison for a long, long time! I finally got a phone that I can now block calls. I’m 81 yo and have yet to fall for such stuff. Bottom line: Their schmooz appeals to people’s greed. Thank you for investigating this. I don’t believe they are located in the US. They are either in India or somewhere in Africa.

  10. Carmen

    I made my social security application on 08/22/18, I want to know if I received it. I also want to know after my retirement date 12/31/18 when and how much will my social security contribution be.

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Carmen. Unfortunately, and because of security reasons, we do not have access to personal records in this blog and cannot assist you.

      You can check the status of your application in your my Social Security account. If you do not already have an account, you can create one.

      If you’re unable to check the status online, you may call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. or you can contact your local Social Security office.

Comments are closed.