Fraud

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 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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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

Comments

Please review our Comment Policy before leaving a comment.

  1. Lili

    Reply
  2. Theresa R

    Received phone call threatening me that I have fraudulently use of my SS# press 1 to speak to officer. A warrant for my arrest will be issued. Phone number 903-255-2309. I answered they wanted my name, English was bad. I told them they should know they called me. He hung up on me without any explanation why I got the call.

    Reply
    • Vonda VanTil, Public Affairs Specialist

      Thanks for letting us know, Theresa. 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.

      Reply
  3. Deanna Smith

    I have been receiving calls saying my social security number has been suspended do to fruac activities . The number that shows is 443-894-4831

    Reply
    • Vonda VanTil, Public Affairs Specialist

      Thanks for letting us know, Deanna. 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.

      Reply
  4. Cj Bond

    I received a message to call 307 6i3 1192 to prevent legal action against
    Me.
    My friend called that number and was told it was from SSI. HE ASKED FOR .MY SS NUMBER WHERE I BANKED.ANDMORE.
    My friend call them 17 times and was
    Always told some of the same things would happen, Frozen accounts, arrest me .
    Please note this number so others wont be scammed.

    Reply
    • Vonda VanTil, Public Affairs Specialist

      Thanks for letting us know, CJ. 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.

      Reply
      • Timothy Swink

        If you would would you give please give me a call at 8 to 8 430 651 fort

        Reply
        • Ann C., Public Affairs Specialist

          Hi, Timothy. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue; therefore, we do not do direct calls. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., for assistance. You can also contact your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

          Reply
  5. judy jeffries

    I just received a phone call from the follow number 823-856-7622 from TX, saying “the call is from the SS office advising me , my SS# is involved in a SS# Law Suit !!!!!.
    Please tell me this is a SCAM as soon as possible , I have blocked the above phone number.

    Thank you
    Judy Jeffries

    Reply
    • Vonda VanTil, Public Affairs Specialist

      Thanks for checking in with us, Judy. 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.

      Reply
  6. Timothy Swink

    Someone has chairs called me and said someone was using my social security number in Hickory in Texas and they said it’s a long may show up and or the Marshall

    Reply
    • Ann C., Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi, Timothy. 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.

      Reply
  7. Rochelle C Berman

    I just received a second scam call asking me to push 1 to speak to someone about my attacked
    Social Security number. I immediately hung up abd called but it seems that you are crazy busy. I received a previous call last month on my house phone and this was on my cell phone.

    Reply
    • Vonda VanTil, Public Affairs Specialist

      Thanks for letting us know, Rochelle. 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.

      Reply
  8. Relana J Buttery

    I just received a scam, who had a different accent call and wanted some information about my ssi. The number they used was blocked.

    Reply
    • Vonda VanTil, Public Affairs Specialist

      Thanks for letting us know, Relana. 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.

      Reply
  9. Dawn Bricker

    I recieved a call from someone claiming to be with social security disability. I answered said hello and then they hung up on me.
    Thank you
    Dawn Bricker

    Reply
  10. Datu Ramel

    I just got a suspicuous phone call from Audrey, claiming to be a SS disability advisor. I said who do you want to talk to and she hung up. Are these scammers trying to get you to say certain sords to use in future ID fraud?

    Reply

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