Frauds & Scams

Inspector General Warns Public About SSA Employee Impersonation Scheme

July 20, 2017 • By

Last Updated: August 19, 2021

woman looking at cell phone The Acting Inspector General of Social Security, Gale Stallworth Stone, is warning citizens about a new Social Security Administration (SSA) employee impersonation scheme.  SSA and its Office of the Inspector General (OIG) have recently alerted citizens about an OIG employee impersonation scheme and a scheme targeting former clients of Kentucky disability attorney Eric Conn; the agencies are now receiving reports from citizens across the country about other phone calls from an individual posing as an SSA employee.  The caller attempts to acquire personally identifiable information from victims to then edit the victims’ direct deposit, address, and telephone information with SSA.

The reports indicate that the impersonator calls from a telephone number with a 323 area code.  The caller claims to be an SSA employee, and in some instances, tells the victim that they are due a 1.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) increase of their Social Security benefits.  The impersonator goes on to ask the victim to verify all of their personal information including their name, date of birth, Social Security number (SSN), parents’ names, etc. to receive the increase.  If the impersonator is successful in acquiring this information, they use it to contact SSA and request changes to the victim’s direct deposit, address, and telephone information.

SSA employees occasionally contact citizens by telephone for customer-service purposes.  In only a few limited special situations, usually already known to the citizen, an SSA employee may request the citizen confirm personal information over the phone.  If a person receives a suspicious call from someone alleging to be from SSA, citizens may report that information to the OIG at 1-800-269-0271 or online via https://oig.ssa.gov/report.

Acting Inspector General Stone continues to warn citizens to be cautious, and to avoid providing information such as your SSN or bank account numbers to unknown persons over the phone or internet unless you are certain of who is receiving it.  “You must be very confident that the source is the correct business party, and your information will be secure after you release it,” Stone said.

If a person has questions about any communication—email, letter, text or phone call—that claims to be from SSA or the OIG, please contact your local Social Security office, or call Social Security’s toll-free customer service number at 1-800-772-1213, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, to verify its legitimacy.  (Those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can call Social Security’s TTY number at 1-800-325-0778.)


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About the Author

Andrew Cannarsa, OIG Communications Director

Comments

  1. Marc

    My stupid ex spouse will likely fall for this one. I can only hope this time she doesn’t provide the scammers with all MY personal information again. So far this year she’s already fallen for the IRS scam and a “student loan rehabilitation” scam (she’s 65 and never attended college nor took out a student loan). Afterwards she calls to “warn” me they’ll be calling ME for payment, as she gives these callers my name, address, SSN, income information, etc. She refuses to believe it was a scam, because “how else would they have known the phone number?” She literally falls for every single scammer that calls, no matter what the scheme, and ALWAYS tells the caller I’m responsible for payment and gives them my information. Unfortunately there’s no way to prevent her from blabbing my personal information to anyone and everyone, no matter how private, confidential, sensitive, or embarrassing it might be. She simply has no boundaries, never has, and I fear it’s getting worse as she ages. She believes everything anyone tells her – except, alas, me. Sometimes I wish I’d entered a monastery high in the Himalayas at the age of 9 . . .

    • retiree

      change your phone # & dont tell your ex.

    • Carol B.

      It seems that your former wife may not be as naive as you believe. It seems that she is giving her callers your personal info to bother you. That doesn’t show her as stupid. She is making your life less pleasant. That sounds like a successful
      plan on her part.

  2. Dick

    SS should have the same rules as the IRS. No phone contact…only by mail. That would eliminate people trying to determine if it is actually a call from SS.

    • AKA

      And if you have a pending claim it would delay processing it. Most of us have caller ID and the majority of SS Offices are listed in the phone book. For those with the 1-800 number, get the name of the employee and verify the call by calling either the 1 800 # or the listed #.

      • Trina

        Phone book? We haven’t had phone books for at least ten years. Young people don’t even know what a phone book is.

    • Pat

      IRS has not given cases to debt collection agencies that will call. So if you have a debt it would be hard to know the difference. Glad I don’t have debt so I don’t worry. But when IRS did their own collecting it was a good rule to know they never call. Now that has changed.

  3. Dot

    Rick, I know…How could folks be so dumb?

  4. Annie

    My phone does not ring. So, I can later in the day find out who really called. I do not answer my phone ever…..

  5. Donna

    I got approx. 7 voice mails left on my phone saying this was my final notice that IRS was suing me and I should call them immediately. Never called them back. It was coming from 3 different phone numbers. These people need to get real jobs!!

    • Edward

      If everyone stopped answering the phone commercse as we know it will fail..so we got to get another committee to study the situation get a non partison agreement. Get it into law then see what happens..just kidding..caller ID. Probably the best… maybe we can ask the big banks they got the power so put them to work on the problem

      • Pat

        The offenders are out of the country and know they can’t be touched. I got that info from the Florida Attorney General’s office. They are spamming their phone numbers so no way to trace the calls.

  6. George P.

    You have another option, if your phone service provider offers the feature. Block the number(s). If all of us did this, maybe the caller(s) will select an honest profession?

    • John B.

      My cellphone provider has a “block caller” option on our phones, it is useless it will not block them from repeat calls.

    • Pat

      I block these numbers all the time. I filled up my 250 spots and had to erase them and start again. The offenders just change the scammed number and call back. I used to hang up on them right away. Now I talked to them to waste their time so they have less time to scam other people. That was the latest info I read to handle them. Of course you have to have the time like I do since I am retired. I also do this with the credit card people that claim to lower my interest. I give them fake numbers. I have called the Attorney General of Florida, the FCC and the FTC and they all tell me there is nothing that can be done to stop them. They are calling from out of the country and spamming the phone numbers. You can get software that will stop robo calls but then you will not receive any. My doctor does robocalling to remind me of appts so I don’t want this option.

      • katrine e.

        I AM SO SORRY TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR TROUBLE AND SORRY TO HEAR THAT THE ATTORNEY GENERAL DID NOT HELP YOU YOU DO THE RIGHT THING ON HANGING UP ON THE PEROSN ALOT OF TIMES IF YOU JUST CONTINUE TO HANG UP LATER THE PERSON STOPS CALLING OR CONTACTING YOU CONTINUE TO HANG UP BE CAREFUL

  7. Gina

    Thanks for the warning!

  8. Jay

    Is there no way to trace these people from the telephone number they give?

    • Carlos D.

      No. I have called my telephone carrier, and I was informed that nothing can be done. Just don’t
      answer the phone.

      • Oli S.

        My dear colleagues … I teach communications, and the best reply is silence, listen for 10 sec. and hang up. Any reaction is a response and they’ve got you. Such in-coming calls are usually scams. If you want/need something, you initiate the call. The worst thing is to react to “idiots”. Let them swallow their own poison.

    • com.bil

      Call state Dept.. of Justice, fraud dept., give them the phone number, and a statement. If they tell you it is a civil matter , call Federal Dept. of Justice.

      • Ruth M.

        I received a call from, 1-800-727-4558 from a person called David Cooper. He claimed to be from the Social Security office in Minneapolis. And I am one of the dumb ones you gave him more information than I should. I will call and report this if I can. Pliease let me know what I can do. Thanks

        • Ray F.

          If a person receives a suspicious call from someone alleging to be from SSA, citizens may report that information to the OIG at 1-800-269-0271 or online via https://oig.ssa.gov/report. Thanks.

          • katrine e.

            CHAPTER 22. ASSAULTIVE OFFENSES
            § 22.011. SEXUAL ASSAULT.
            (a) A person commits an offense if the person:
            (1) intentionally or knowingly:
            (A) causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of another person by any means, without that person’s consent;
            (B) causes the penetration of the mouth of another person by the sexual organ of the actor, without that person’s consent; or
            (C) causes the sexual organ of another person, without that person’s consent, to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor; or
            (2) intentionally or knowingly:
            (A) causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of a child by any means;
            (B) causes the penetration of the mouth of a child by the sexual organ of the actor;
            (C) causes the sexual organ of a child to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor;
            (D) causes the anus of a child to contact the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor; or
            (E) causes the mouth of a child to contact the anus or sexual organ of another person, including the actor.
            (b) A sexual assault under Subsection (a)(1) is without the consent of the other person if:
            (1) the actor compels the other person to submit or participate by the use of physical force or violence;
            (2) the actor compels the other person to submit or participate by threatening to use force or violence against the other person, and the other person believes that the actor has the present ability to execute the threat;
            (3) the other person has not consented and the actor knows the other person is unconscious or physically unable to resist;
            texas penal codes ch 22 22.011 from katrineelizabethsackett32463

          • katrine e.

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  9. ALAN R.

    I GET THE SAME CALLS

  10. Rick

    It’s amazing how many scam phone calls we get from some Indian accent fella who says he is a treasury agent for the IRS the same guy calls two times a week how anybody can fall for these idiots they barely speak English

    • Carlos D.

      One or twice a month I get a call from people supposed to be a Dell employee. Sometimes a woman, but most of the time a man. The caller is very polite, there is a sound
      as if the person is in a office.

      The callert says that my computer is infected with a virus, and he asks my permission to go inside it, and clean everything.

      Dell does not do it. Be careful, all of you.

      • Linda U.

        I get that call at least 3 to 4 times a week. One day I was at work and the call came thru on my area code and like a local call. I answered the call and he proceeds to tell me the above, and I let him know that I sell Dell computers and am a Gov Contractor (which I was) and told him to stop calling me. He then proceeds to call me all kinds of filthy names. I was in shock that these guys are so brave. I was at work and one of my co workers said are you ok after I hung up, and I told him what had just happen. These guys are the scum of the earth.I wish congress would get a handle on these calls and shut these people down. I understand they are now using people in the area where you live phone numbers, to get you to answer the phone. I called one of the numbers back and the guy said I have not
        called you and he had been getting calls all day from people asking the same question. Felt bad for the guy. Crazy.

        • Michael M.

          Unfortunately Congress is preoccupied with meaningless trash. It was no secret the next big issue after Y2K was computer privacy and security – yet here we are.

        • com.bil

          That was his buddy answered the phone !!

    • gary

      The fall for this scam because they are idiots.

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