Frauds & Scams

Inspector General Warns Public About Caller-ID “Spoofing” Scheme Misusing SSA Customer Service Number

October 22, 2018 • By

Last Updated: October 22, 2018

woman looking on phoneThe Acting Inspector General of Social Security, Gale Stallworth Stone, is warning citizens about an ongoing caller-ID “spoofing” scheme misusing the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) national customer service phone number. SSA has received numerous reports of questionable phone calls displaying SSA’s 1-800 number on a caller-ID screen. This is a scam; citizens should not engage with those calls or provide any personal information.

These reports indicate the calls display the 1-800-772-1213, SSA’s national customer service number, as the incoming number on caller ID. People who have accepted the calls said the caller identifies as an SSA employee. In some cases, the caller states that SSA does not have all of the person’s personal information, such as their Social Security number (SSN), on file. Other callers claim SSA needs additional information so the agency can increase the person’s benefit payment, or that SSA will terminate the person’s benefits if they do not confirm their information. This appears to be a widespread issue, as reports have come from citizens across the country.

SSA employees do contact citizens by telephone for customer-service purposes, and in some situations, an SSA employee may request the citizen confirm personal information over the phone. However, SSA employees will never threaten you for information or promise a Social Security benefit approval or increase in exchange for information. In those cases, the call is fraudulent, and you should just hang up.

“This caller-ID spoofing scheme exploits SSA’s trusted reputation, and it shows that scammers will try anything to mislead and harm innocent people,” 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 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

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About the Author

Andrew Cannarsa, OIG Communications Director

Comments

  1. Jose M.

    I got a call about benefits, that they needed my SS#

  2. Joe D.

    We should ALL be in contact with elected officials and urge them to MAKE THIS ILLEGAL…..the software or app used to alter the phone number than shows on our caller ID should be outlawed!!

    • Little S.

      They already are illegal

  3. Debra L.

    I had a call said if I didn’t call them back I would lose my benefits

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Debra, thank you for checking in with us on the legitimacy of the call. Social Security Administration (SSA) employees occasionally contact citizens by telephone for customer-service purposes. An SSA employee may call you in limited situations, such as if you recently filed a claim or have other Social Security business pending. In only a few limited special situations, usually already known to the citizen, an SSA employee may request the citizen to confirm personal information over the phone.

      If you have questions about any communication — email, letter, text or phone call — that claims to be from SSA, 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 (TTY number at 1-800-325-0778). You may also report the information to the OIG at 1-800-269-0271 or online via https://oig.ssa.gov/report.

      • Josh K.

        Hi Vonda,

        The article above explicitly states that “SSA employees do not contact citizens by telephone for customer-service purposes”. In your comment above, you contradict this and state ” Social Security Administration (SSA) employees occasionally contact citizens by telephone for customer-service purposes”.

        Can you please confirm which statement is correct? This is very confusing for people dealing with this issue. And if the SSA does, in fact, contact people for customer services purposes, the article above needs to be corrected as few will scroll through the comments to find your reply, and will only be confused if they do.

    • Carol J.

      Yes I had the same call minutes ago. I was told my benefits were cancelled or suspended since my SS # was being used suspiciously in NY.

  4. Sherry W.

    Thanks for your protection over our information ,finances, and well being. Please keep us posted

  5. W.B.Manley

    To whom it concerns:
    I have received calls from Social Security and my T-Mobile phone showed SCAM.
    Didn’t answer.
    W.B.Manley

  6. Tom

    Please get laws passed to imprison scammers with severe penalties – of 5 -10 years- These crooks must NOT be allowed to flourish any longer. Every day a new scam shows up – Its an intolerable offense and must be stopped. .

    • Bernadette

      These are people in other countries and they have no regulations in their country so they can do what they want.

      • Dave

        We need to charge for ALL calls coming into the US.

    • Lou K.

      Most come from foreign countries. Never call back the # to call. Look up in your phone book for the local # and call that. I had a friend get a call from who was suppose to draw $18,000 in $100 some one would be by to pick money up. Went to her bank even though I had previous told her about the Grandad do you know who this is. I always right away say yes its Andy. When they tell you in jail need bailed out. I say I don’t want Grandma to hear this call me back on my cell. I give them local Police #. Same when I won a big sweep stake

  7. otton e.

    Received several call from out of state from California, when they call they will tell you that your social security benefits have been compromised and to call this Number: 1- 915-321-3285. I’m from Texas and why would I want to talk to some individual in California about my social security pension? Does not take a genius to figure out it’s a scam. I threaten them by saying I will call the IRS, FBI, and Social Security office and they “Hung Up”. When they call you, the background sounds like a typical busy office with people talking and phones ringing.

    • David i.

      Does their speech sound like foreign?
      India has many such scammers.

      • Csmidt

        Yes. Definitely sounds Indian

        • MICHAEL L.

          YEP @PHLIPINNES

    • Shaneen H.

      Omg I just received a call stating the same thing and the caller id was from California, that’s why I came on here to see if it was the real deal.
      The number was (707)814-4213 just sharing just in case they try this with someone else. It says its from Geyserville, CA.

  8. Rodney M.

    This language leaves a serious question unanswered :
    “…an SSA employee may request the citizen confirm personal information over the phone. However, SSA employees will never threaten you for information or promise….” Nothing would prevent a scammer from avoiding threatening or promising anything, especially now that you have posted this warning. Should people simply hang up on any calls that appear to be from Social Security? Is there a better way to determine the legitimacy of the call? Your postings are very helpful and appreciated, but this one seems to create a potential for confusion. Thank you.

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Rodney, thank you for using our blog. If anyone has questions about any communication — email, letter, text or phone call — that claims to be from SSA, they should contact their 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 (TTY number at 1-800-325-0778).

      • Ann B.

        That’s great advice, Vonda, except that when I called my local office, I received a recording that the phone number had been cancelled. When I called your national customer service number, after dealing with an impossible robot for a while, I finally found out there was a 45 minute wait to talk to a real human being. When I called the number on this section of your website, again the robot nonsense, finally got to a voicemail box which could not accept any messages. And none of your menu options include receiving a suspicious phone call voicemail. So, unless SSA can make itself accessible, we’re really at the mercy of the wolves and scammers.

        • Edward G.

          Welcome to smaller govt budget cuts. With baby boomers applying in droves, we should be spending MORE on beefing up staff. Instead we’re cutting.. and in some departments, outsourcing, which leads to the possibility of even more fraud.

      • L M.

        Just received a call claiming to be SSA, “your SSN has been suspended for suspicious activity. To learn more press 1, thank you”.

        • Roslyn

          I have just received a call stating they are from ssa and my SSI benefits have been suspended due to suspicious activity please press 1 to speak with someone..the number that was calling is 8587881165

          • Lucy

            Just received the exact same voicemail from 18556181111. Saying they were from the dept of social security and to inform me that they suspended my social security number because the found some suspicious activity and to find out about that case press 1.

        • Michael J.

          Got a similar call 1-866-125-5686

      • Jesse W.

        Have received multiple calls with similar messages from 18009516523, 18009891307, and 18009702944

    • AE

      I received a call today from 800 772 1213 no message left on voicemail, just static. I called back and avoided using my SSN and waited one hour and could not wait any longer. Does SSA reach out normally? I have no dealings with them at this time for years. I am still of age to work for another 16 years. I don’t know why they would be calling me and if this is legit? Thanks for any help you can provide.

      • Ann C.

        Thank you for checking in with us. Unfortunately, there are some Social Security impersonation schemes that we are warning citizens about. See our recent blog posts:

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

        Beware of Scammers Pretending to be Social Security

        If you receive these calls, please report the information to the Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online. Thanks, again!

        • Theresa

          You are ask to report these calls but it is next to impossible to contact anyone at the number given. I was told that there was a 40 minutes wait. I sure hope there is no fraudulent activity on my card and I am ignoring an important call. I was given the number 410-441-5170 to call but I did not call it. Hopefully is was a scam because I did not return the call.

  9. Ruby L.

    I have forward this to all of my Family and Friends.
    Thank you so much..

  10. larry d.

    as of yet I haven’t received any of these calls but I will be on the alert for them.

    • Steven A.

      I been receiving a phone call telling me, to avoid permanent suspension
      Of social security number and it’s benefit. I should call the SSA at 469 -257-1583. I feel that this is a scam. So I’m contacting you with this information. To find out if this is a scam or not.

Comments are closed.