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

  1. Joscelyn. N. Sunnie called and said my San has flagged for money fraud and drug trafficker. I wasn’t thinking straight when I gave out some personal information. I didn’t not give any but they keep calling because my bank verified it was a scam. In turn I closed my bank account and opened a new one. So need to change my account number for my deposit of my check.

  2. I keep getting voice mails stating i have 24 hrs to contact the office to resolve a fraud issue with my ss cks. I know this is a scam. So I called. Not the 1st time I have called many different numbers. The only thing that’s the same is the voice on the other end. It’s a Indian with BAD English. this time when I called he wanted my SS# I told him no way was I giving him that info and he should be the ashamed of himself for prying on the elderly. He hung up.

    • Hi Charlotte. 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.

  3. I just received a phone call from two persons with non English speaking accents, phone # 272-777-4212. This phone number belongs to Vonage Company. I alerted them to the scam alert. The people answering provide common American names, Jennifer Johnson and Benjamin Foster. I could hear other people talking in the back ground so there must be a large group of them working this scam.

    Please don’t give them so much as your name. Svae yourself some headaches and delete the message and hang up!!!

    Good luck!!

    • Hi, Heather. 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.

  4. Every 15 minutes I get a call from this number:
    844-419-4553 the voice mail message reads:

    “Filed on your Social Security number we have gotten in order to suspend your social and very right moment because we have found many suspicious activities on your social number so before we go ahead and _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ kindly call us back on our number which is 844194553 I repeat 844194553 thank you…”

    It’s a male computer voice, the English is strange and the call back number isn’t complete or the same as the number coming into my phone.

    Weird, annoying and definitely a scam.

    • Hi Carol, thanks 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.

  5. Scam Call
    Receiving a robo call saying my social security card is being suspended do to fraud use. number it is call from is 833-926-8319.

    • Hi Charles, thanks for using our blog. 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.

  6. I have a complaint about a requirement Social Security administration have for individuals applying for Social Security disability who are, have an appeal pending or are requesting a hearing and are not legalized immigrants, they are requiring resident aliens legal mmigrants to mail the original copy of their immigration card or resident alien card into their office LOL they may provide an envelope, I still feel it puts that immigration at risk of being stolen by unscrupulous people, or simply being lost if that card gets lost it’s not easy to replace and unfortunately it can become costly to replace, I don’t think it’s unreasonable for them to require you to go to a notary republic and have them copy your card and sign and notarize it and maybe even and mail it with a copy of a picture of you holding the card, or go down to the Social Services office where they can copy the card have you sign it and witness it and then fax it to Social Security administration office.

  7. I need to print my SSA-1099 for 2018 and it is urgent to do it today 6/12/202
    when I try to access my SSA online account it does not recognize my email address , it’s been awhile since I entered the info and now I have a new email address , how can I enter my account NOW ??!! this is urgent.
    thank you
    Martha

    • Hi Martha, thanks for using our blog. After you sign in to your my Social Security account, you can update your email address. After inputting your username and password, you will be at the security code screen. If you receive your security code via email only, then indicate that you cannot access the options listed above and need to reset where you receive security codes. We will then send you a letter with a reset code and instructions.

      In the meantime, you may be able to request an SSA-1099 by using our automated telephone service at 1-800-772-1213. You can conduct the automated services 24 hours a day. At the prompt, indicate that you’re requesting a replacement SSA-1099. Lastly, if that doesn’t help, 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.

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