Frauds & Scams

Inspector General Warns Public About Social Security Advisory Board-Related Scam

May 17, 2019 • By

Last Updated: May 17, 2019

The Inspector General of Social Security, Gail S. Ennis, is warning the public about a new variation of increasingly common government employee impersonation scams, this time involving the Social Security Advisory Board. The Advisory Board has reported that individuals are receiving scam phone calls displaying the board’s phone number on caller ID. The callers are reportedly attempting to obtain personal information, including Social Security numbers. If you receive this type of call, you should not engage with the caller or provide personal information or money in response to requests or threats.

These callers are employing tactics similar to impersonation schemes involving the IRS, SSA, and the SSA OIG. Inspector General Ennis advises that callers may use a variety of false scenarios or threats to obtain personal information or payments, often requested through gift cards or prepaid debit cards.

However, the Social Security Advisory Board typically does not contact the general public to request personal information over the phone. Moreover, government employees will never threaten you to obtain personal information or payments. In those cases, the call is fraudulent, and you should just hang up.

“This caller-ID spoofing scheme has unfortunately evolved to include the Social Security Advisory Board, but it is the same type of scam, attempting to mislead people by using the trusted name of Social Security,” Inspector General Ennis said. “I encourage everyone to alert your family and friends about how common these scams are, and to be very cautious when speaking with unknown callers, even if you recognize the caller ID.”

Inspector General Ennis urges the public not to provide sensitive information over the phone or internet unless you are certain of who is receiving it. You should also never wire money or add money to a prepaid debit card to pay for any official government service.

If you receive a suspicious call, you may report that information online at https://oig.ssa.gov/report or by calling (800) 269-0271, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time. You can also report these scams to the Federal Trade Commission through a new site specific to Social Security scams:  https://identitytheft.gov/ssa.

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About the Author

Andrew Cannarsa, OIG Communications Director

Comments

  1. Michael A.

    Received a call from “the department of social security” advising me that my social security number had been cancelled. The call came from (800) 099-7282. This was a message on my voicemail. Thanks.

    • Luis A.

      Hi Michael. Thank you for letting us know about these calls. We do not usually make random calls. If you or anyone receives calls saying that they are from Social Security, do not give out any personal information. Suspicious calls should be reported to the Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online. You can also report these scams to the Federal Trade Commission through a new site specific to Social Security scams here. We hope this helps.

  2. Maria W.

    social security details are confidential. I got this kinda call regarding details of my SSI. They bug me most of the time by telling that this is the last chance to avail social security facilities.
    Thank you for sharing this information to aware people about the these spammers.

    • Luis A.

      Hello Maria. Thank you for letting us know about these calls. We do not usually make random calls. If you or anyone receives calls saying that they are from Social Security, do not give out any personal information. Suspicious calls should be reported to the Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online. You can also report these scams to the Federal Trade Commission through a new site specific to Social Security scams here. We hope this helps

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  4. Paula H.

    Another scam to look out for,
    I know I have personally received at least half a dozen of these calls. Someone calls saying that are from the US Federal Grant Department and that your phone number has been randomly selected from a group determined to be eligible because they have paid their taxes and dont show a bankruptcy in the past year. You are being given a one time grant award of $14,000 and change I dont Remember the exact amount. But between 14 and 15K. It’s yours to do with as you please and doesn’t have to be repaid. All you have to do is give them your bank acct information, your bank card information or a prepaid credit card account information for them to deposit the grant money on. I told the callers I dont give out that information they could send me a check.. They replied that they couldn’t do that. They could only direct deposit the funds. I called Bullshit and told them they were scammers. And they hung up on me.

    • Belinda m.

      Paula, I’ve gotten calls exactly as you said. One call was for $9,400, another $9,000, another $5,400, another $8,000, another $5,600. I said send to me in the mail. One called was very convincing but I didn’t fall for it she was gonna deposit it to my bank. She said no I don’t need a prepaid card ” those other calls you got were fraud”. I hung up and called back the number and it was a tux rental in New York. He told me he has been getting calls from people for several days with same complaint. He said he reported it. Please federal government please take action because our elderly people could fall for this scam and most of them are on small income. My heart goes out to them. So please everyone hang up on them. I just received another call while writting this. His name is micheal from number 315-497-7316 he also let me speak with his supervisor. They both have eastern Indian ascent. When I tell them they are scammers they hang up on me. Gosh everyone please say safe from these SOB.

  5. Vicki M.

    I have received calls of this sort!
    Thank you so much for this information!

  6. Tammy L.

    Yes I think this has happened to me..
    My passport and my social security card has been stolen I keep getting calls from this place about disability stuff I don’t know what’s going on but my life is destroyed

    • Sally

      I have had calls too, I feel for you, so sorry, but I’m seeing a bit of a pattern here, are most of us on any kind of disability benefits? May be that could be a common potential target.

  7. DougDavidK

    I think they should go after these scam artists even if they are over sea’s. Yes it will cost the government some money but we are sick and tired of the scams. The only thing the scam artists understand is a very long time in prison.

  8. herbalist32

    This is on-going; and yet the SSA or Our Federal government does very little!!?? – It would be easy to prosecute the criminal phone companies involved. So get busy Congress on this WMD , or continue to do Nothing as usual.

  9. Ellie K.

    This article was hard to read–small, light print. Aimed at seniors, should be easier to read. But, thanks for the important message!

  10. ENRIQUE B.

    I m 80 years old My wife passed away on March 29 2012 & my only son at 48 years old on march 15 2011 I been claiming my survivor rights plus the years I worked in I,T,T as an accountant & I d been unsuccessful I m alone and I can , survive with $-780.00 per months

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Enrique. We are to hear about your situation. 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, Monday through Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. Generally, you will have a shorter wait if you call later in the day. You can also contact your local Social Security office. You may be eligible to receive social services from the state in which you live. These services include free meals, housekeeping help, transportation, or help with other problems. To get information about services in your area and find out if you qualify, you will need to contact your state or local social services or welfare office. We hope this helps!

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