Inspector General Warns Public About New Twist To Social Security Phone Scams

The Inspector General of Social Security, Gail S. Ennis, is warning the public that telephone scammers may send faked documents by email to convince victims to comply with their demands. The Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has received reports of victims who received emails with attached letters and reports that appeared to be from Social Security or Social Security OIG. The letters may use official letterhead and government “jargon” to convince victims they are legitimate; they may also contain misspellings and grammar mistakes.

This is the latest variation on Social Security phone scams, which continue to be widespread throughout the United States. Using robocalls or live callers, fraudsters pretend to be government employees and claim there is identity theft or another problem with one’s Social Security number, account, or benefits. They may threaten arrest or other legal action, or may offer to increase benefits, protect assets, or resolve identity theft. They often demand payment via retail gift card, cash, wire transfer, internet currency such as Bitcoin, or pre-paid debit card.

Inspector General Ennis urges continued vigilance against all types of phone scams no matter what “proof” callers may offer. As we continue to increase public awareness of phone scams, criminals will come up with new ways to convince people of their legitimacy. Social Security will never:

  • threaten you with arrest or other legal action unless you immediately pay a fine or fee;
  • promise a benefit increase or other assistance in exchange for payment;
  • require payment by retail gift card, cash, wire transfer, internet currency, or prepaid debit card; or
  • send official letters or reports containing personally identifiable information via email.

If there is ever a problem with your Social Security number or record, in most cases Social Security will mail you a letter. If you do need to submit payments to Social Security, the agency will send a letter with instructions and payment options. You should never pay a government fee or fine using retail gift cards, cash, internet currency, wire transfers, or pre-paid debit cards. The scammers ask for payment this way because it is very difficult to trace and recover.

If you receive a call or email that you believe to be suspicious, about a problem with your Social Security number or account, hang up or do not respond. We encourage the public to report Social Security phone scams using our dedicated online form, at https://oig.ssa.gov. Please share this information with your friends and family, to help spread awareness about phone scams. For more information, please visit https://oig.ssa.gov/scam.

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192 thoughts on “Inspector General Warns Public About New Twist To Social Security Phone Scams

  1. Call me back please 7326089478 possible social security fraud my checks have been stopped for over 3 months now.

    • For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance or you can contact your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

  2. Tried to provide a report of attempted scam but the form requires the perpetrators email address – which I do not have.
    Frustrating – probably prevents a lot of reports being sent to you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. 904.338.8838 This is the number that was used to call stating that my social security number had been compromised and they canceled my benefits and if I would wish to talk to someone they would connect me right then… This isn’t the first time. I personally don’t receive benefits as of yet. My hope is you find a way to zap these evil people who pray upon people who are on a fixed income and really aren’t aware there are scams….
    Thank you for letting me vent.

    • Hi Allen, thanks for checking in with us. 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.

    • I was almost targeted with the Scam with protection plan insurance for a Loan took out acouple months ago!Have no idea how they managed to interfere with a possible skyped with both me, and possible insurance on this! Came as a Email! Totally took me by surpirise. I was careful, and this still almost happen. My agent caught it!

  4. Brad F. Just received a call from a local number 941-724-5615it was a robo call when I heard social security I immediately hung up.

  5. I’ve received a letter (not email) that says my pension has not bee paid because they need my address. I’ve received my deposits for several years now and never had an issue. Are scammers using snail mail as well?

  6. I rec’d two call’s before 7:10 from 916-378-8418 saying my social security has fraud against it and that it was going to be suspended that I need to call the above number. I didn’t call the number but thought I should notify someone.

    • Hi Irma, thank you for checking in with us. If the caller is claiming to be from Social Security—it is critical that you pay attention to the tone and content of the message from the caller. In some cases, the caller states that Social Security does not have all of your personal information, such as your Social Security number (SSN), on file. Other callers claim Social Security needs additional information so the agency can increase your benefit payment, or they threaten that Social Security will terminate your benefits if they do not confirm your information. This appears to be a widespread issue, as reports have come from people across the country. These calls are not from Social Security.

      If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from Social Security, we urge you to always be cautious and to avoid providing sensitive information such as your SSN or bank account information. Never reveal personal data to a stranger who calls you, and never send the stranger money via wire transfer or gift cards.

      Social Security 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 or pay a fee. In those cases, the call is fraudulent, and you should just hang up. If you receive these calls, report the information to the Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online at oig.ssa.gov/report.

  7. I received a recorded call that said to call a illegal action was taken . 210-802-3957, was this from Social Security?

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