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

January 9, 2020 • By

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 Please share this information with your friends and family, to help spread awareness about phone scams. For more information, please visit

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About the Author

Tracy Lynge, Communications Director for the Office of the Inspector General

Tracy Lynge, Communications Director for the Office of the Inspector General

About Tracy Lynge, Communications Director for the Office of the Inspector General


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  1. Abram

    I received a call from 202- 738 -1073 say Social security will take action to sue me and to call them. They say call is from social security administration. It is a machine.

  2. Susan Skalinski

    I have voice mails on my cell phone from someone claiming to be an officer Victor Frank of the SS Administration claiming my SS number is being used for fraudulent purposes and to avoid legal proceedings I need to call them back immediately. When I do they want my SS number or the last four digits of it and when I won’t comply they hang up. Because they gave an Officer’s name I am confused on whether this may be real. Please let me know what to do.

    • Betty

      I recv’d a voicemail on my cell from phone# 302-480-9838 at 6:12PM. 05/04/20. Stating my social security number has been suspended due to fraudulent use. All benefits have been suspended and stopped and to call the phone listed above. What a bunch of bloodsuckers!

  3. Chanhthanaly Sayadeth

    I have gotten one human phone call and multiple robo calls saying that I have a case where somewhen is using my Social Security number fraudulently. And that my Social Security is going to get revoked or suspended to. I have screenshots from my phone of the numbers they have left for me

  4. Quincy Hussle

    I know they are scam every time they call they have an Indian voice and I tell them I’m going to Massacre their whole family and they hang up and then when I call back the number is disconnected ???‍♂️

  5. Fed Up with Federal Indifference

    It’s great that there are so many sweet “public affairs” representatives telling us after the fact how to avoid these scams. With all do respect, a child could do that. What about catching these predators, shutting down their criminal enterprise and bringing them to justice! Don’t tell me about how difficult that would be. Clearly they have well staffed call centers, you can hear several people giving the same spiel to other victims in the background. They are using phone numbers with USA area codes. They are traceable, with a little effort. I don’t know if our intelligence agencies are willing or able but I would be willing to bet that Frontline could find and even film them in real time, which would be very embarrassing to said agencies. I realize that they are probably operating out of Mexico etc. So what! These borders never stopped us before when it was in the interest of wealthy corporations. How about a small return on our tax dollars by protecting the elderly the poor and the vulnerable! Who is looking out for our interest! You can shove your sweetness and your thoughts and prayers where the sun don’t shine! DO SOMETHING TO STOP THIS NOW!!!

    • Chris

      Obviously you don’t understand phone number spoofing software. Anyone anywhere can use this software on a computer or phone and spoof any phone number they want. Look it up. I can use the software to spoof your own home phone number to call you. And it would not trace back to me. The other thing you don’t understand ia that most of these scam calls are from India. The government there is not going to extradite its citizens for such a lowly crime.

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  7. Kate

    Just received this scam call
    From San Antonio Texas

    I called it back from another phone and a woman answered- I told her the # had been reported to the police
    I’m sure it won’t stop them but be forewarned

    • Ann C., Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi, Kate. Thanks for letting us know. 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.

      • Chris

        With the coronavirus going on and me out of work, I pretend to be a confused old man and keep them on the phone as long as I can. Then they figure it out swear at me and call me names and hang up on me.

  8. Tom Burgett

    I’m at my parent’s home and they are in a nursing home. I answered a phone call that caller ID showed it was the name of the nursing home. Of course I answered it. It was a man with a thick obvious Indian accent and I could barely understand what he was saying. He said something about whether I had received a new card. He knew my parents names and ages. I hung up. This looks like identity theft in addition to Social Security fraud. How could he have so much information about my parents and know the name of the nursing home. This concerns me. What should I do?

  9. Gerda M Votaw

    I received a letter from SSA yesterday that told me to call the office because they needed to speak to me. It gave a under to call back. My mistake I did. He man on the line said that my local office was closed and no phone lines and said that he would take my info to let them know for
    them to call me. I was stupid and in my heart something might be wrong but since i have been waiting so long I assumed maybe it was ok. Today I called the number again 1-877-876-3172 ext 14344. when I put the ext number in 14344 it kept telling me it was not correct. I feel to stupid. When i called the number it says Welcome to Cleveland northwest SSA office. I am so afraid now. I already had someone try to take my SS on other time. What should I do if it was a true scam?

  10. Fred Altman

    Are you a victim of the following ;
    Binary option, Forex trading, Romance, ICO Scams, Online betting, Bitcoin, Phishing, exchange scams etc
    If in any case you have lost your hard earned money. Don’t give up, I have a good news for you. Hooper Group is currently recovering funds for all victims. Service delivery is second to none. I obliged myself the privilege to announce this to everyone. Hurry and contact mail; recovery (@) hoopergroup .tech
    Thank me later.

    • Mike

      this guy is a scammer. dealt personally with hoopergroup .tech

      its a fake recovery service website. after your deposit they will stop responding to your emails.


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