Frauds & Scams

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

December 7, 2018 • By

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 https://oig.ssa.gov/report.

For more information, please visit https://oig.ssa.gov/newsroom/scam-awarenessFor media inquiries, please contact Andrew Cannarsa, OIG’s Communications Director, at (410) 965-2671.

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About the Author

Andrew Cannarsa, OIG Communications Director

Comments

  1. Algerlin Willis

    I put all my info to them when they called today, then later after i called the real police, i found out they was a scam.i had to change everything.i want to know cou OK d they go into my account with ssi and can that be stopped.help me

    • Vonda

      Thanks for letting us know, Algerlin. Generally, we will only contact you if you have requested a call or have ongoing business with us. Recently, scams—misleading victims into making cash or gift card payments to avoid arrest for Social Security number problems—have skyrocketed. Our employees will never threaten you for information or promise a benefit in exchange for personal information or money.

      If you receive a suspicious call like this: 1) Hang up. 2) Do not provide personal information, money, or retail gift cards. 3) Report suspicious calls here. For more information on how to protect yourself, check out our Frequently Asked Questions. We hope this helps.

  2. MLB

    I received a recorded phone call from 787-469-1554 from Caguas, Puerto Rico leaving a voicemail stating, “this is to inform you that there’s a legal enforcement actions filed on your social security for fraudulent activities. In order to connect to federal agent press one and you will be connected to the concerned department. If we don’t hear from your social will be blocked permanently. Press one and you will be connected to the concern department.” Assuming this is a scam.

    • Vonda

      Thanks for letting us know, MLB. Generally, we will only contact you if you have requested a call or have ongoing business with us. Recently, scams—misleading victims into making cash or gift card payments to avoid arrest for Social Security number problems—have skyrocketed. Our employees will never threaten you for information or promise a benefit in exchange for personal information or money.

      If you receive a suspicious call like this: 1) Hang up. 2) Do not provide personal information, money, or retail gift cards. 3) Report suspicious calls here. For more information on how to protect yourself, check out our Frequently Asked Questions. We hope this helps.

  3. Idrissa

    I received a call today and the person said they were from the U.S. Marshals office and that I was the prime suspect of a recent investigation into drugs and money laundering. That my SS# was used to rent a car found with drugs and traces of blood in El Paso Texas and that there were more than 13 accounts opened in my name being used to launder approx. $240,000. That a court order was obtained to freeze all my accounts by the end of the day. When I mentioned this is a scam they said to check the usmarshals.gov website and they were able to show that they called from a number listed on the contacts page which did match the number on the caller ID. I was ultimately given the option to go to the banks, withdraw all the cash and go to SS office to turn it all into some type of federal bond. Only then would I be able to access the money from my accounts earlier than the 6 months or longer it would take to have the money returned once the investigation is completed. When exonerated I would be issued a new SS# number. I called my local police to try and confirm the information and since they also said it is a scam I hung up the phone. The scammers continued to call back and when they heard my husbands voice on the line they finally gave up. I then called the general number from the U.S. Marshalls website and as soon as I asked what agency is this and where are you located they immediately indicated it was a scam and confirmed they do not make outgoing calls from that location. This was a very scary situation for me and I am not a senior citizen and do not receive any SS benefits. My advice would be to not pick up calls from any numbers that are not familiar.

    • Vonda

      Thanks for letting us know, Idrissa. Generally, we will only contact you if you have requested a call or have ongoing business with us. Recently, scams—misleading victims into making cash or gift card payments to avoid arrest for Social Security number problems—have skyrocketed. Our employees will never threaten you for information or promise a benefit in exchange for personal information or money.

      If you receive a suspicious call like this: 1) Hang up. 2) Do not provide personal information, money, or retail gift cards. 3) Report suspicious calls here. For more information on how to protect yourself, check out our Frequently Asked Questions. We hope this helps.

  4. Winston Clark

    I have received multiple telephone threats for prosecution from a series of telephone numbers that I have blocked.
    (901) 233-5667
    (901) 273-5627

    • Vonda

      Thanks for letting us know, Winston. Generally, we will only contact you if you have requested a call or have ongoing business with us. Recently, scams—misleading victims into making cash or gift card payments to avoid arrest for Social Security number problems—have skyrocketed. Our employees will never threaten you for information or promise a benefit in exchange for personal information or money.

      If you receive a suspicious call like this: 1) Hang up. 2) Do not provide personal information, money, or retail gift cards. 3) Report suspicious calls here. For more information on how to protect yourself, check out our Frequently Asked Questions. We hope this helps.

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  6. Tim R

    I got a call from Rajive Mathurs saying that I would be arrested on drug charges and murder in Texas. He told me that I would lose all of my savings and get a new social security card. He told me that the local sheriff would arrest me as soon as possible. I gave him my SS number thinking he was a law officer. Last week my credit card was frozen and a new one issued due to suspicious activity so that is why I let the conversation go as far as it did. Phone numbers given were 606-723-2323, 606-359-0393 and 726-666-7641 San Antonio TX

    • Vonda

      Thanks for letting us know, Tim. Generally, we will only contact you if you have requested a call or have ongoing business with us. Recently, scams—misleading victims into making cash or gift card payments to avoid arrest for Social Security number problems—have skyrocketed. Our employees will never threaten you for information or promise a benefit in exchange for personal information or money.

      If you receive a suspicious call like this: 1) Hang up. 2) Do not provide personal information, money, or retail gift cards. 3) Report suspicious calls here. For more information on how to protect yourself, check out our Frequently Asked Questions. We hope this helps.

  7. Peggy Dennard

    I just received same kind of recorded message from 352 538 7178

    • Vonda

      Thanks for letting us know, Peggy. Generally, we will only contact you if you have requested a call or have ongoing business with us. Recently, scams—misleading victims into making cash or gift card payments to avoid arrest for Social Security number problems—have skyrocketed. Our employees will never threaten you for information or promise a benefit in exchange for personal information or money.

      If you receive a suspicious call like this: 1) Hang up. 2) Do not provide personal information, money, or retail gift cards. 3) Report suspicious calls here. For more information on how to protect yourself, check out our Frequently Asked Questions. We hope this helps.

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  9. Michael

    I have got a call from a 866 number claiming to arrest me if I don’t pay my debt. I don’t have any debt with anyone so I reported them here:
    https://calldetective.net/866-484-2614/

    Is there any other place this number should be reported to?

  10. Carmen Stidham

    I got a call today that said I was being charged with fraudulent activity on my SS. I figured it was a scam and I was already mad about something else so I said a few choice words back and hung up!

    • Vonda VanTil, Public Affairs Specialist

      Thanks for letting us know, Carmen. Generally, we will only contact you if you have requested a call or have ongoing business with us. Recently, scams—misleading victims into making cash or gift card payments to avoid arrest for Social Security number problems—have skyrocketed. Our employees will never threaten you for information or promise a benefit in exchange for personal information or money.

      If you receive a suspicious call like this: 1) Hang up. 2) Do not provide personal information, money, or retail gift cards. 3) Report suspicious calls here. For more information on how to protect yourself, check out our Frequently Asked Questions. We hope this helps.

      • Algerlin

        I had the same thing happen to me today, i upset about something else today too, and i mistakenly gave all my info and i had to change everything.i hope that none one else get scammed on the phone like i did when they called again i hung up.what else i need to do so they wont take my money.i gave them my ssi number

    • Ted ladd

      I have received a number of calls from a “social security office” telling me that I am in legal trouble. Recently they left a message on my phone. I called them back and just listened to the voice of the person that picked up my call. It’s always a foreign sounding dialect. I told him I was an officer with homeland security. He broke the sound barrier hanging up. 🤣😂🤣😂

Comments are closed.