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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Andrew Cannarsa, OIG Communications Director

Comments

  1. Sandra K.

    I received a phone call from a man who said he was an employee of the Social Security Dept. and someone had used my social security number and they were holding my check until the investigation was over.

  2. Judy B.

    Someone keeps calling me from (786)206-7265 reportly from the social security administration going by officer Gary Williams and when you ask what this is about they hang up

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Judy: 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 http://www.oig.ssa.gov/report.

  3. Margaret W.

    A voicemail came to my cell phone. A male voice said: “We are suspending your Social Security number due to suspicious activity. Press 1 to continue”. I hung up and went online to “Reverse Phone Lookup”. Others have received this call and some did not hang up. They were asked for their SS# or bank account. I felt that this was a scam and listened to the recorded instructions at the fraud hotline.

  4. Michael T.

    I was called today ( 03/01/2019) about my SS number being frozen I knew it was a scam so just wanted you to know the phone number they called from, +1-425-578-1480, they did not fool me

  5. Raymond j.

    On 26 February my wife received a call from 12052731280 claiming to a representative of SSA, demanding a reply to insure non loss of benifits .She told them thank you, and we would call the local number and discuss.

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Raymond. Thanks for letting us know. We do not usually make random calls. If 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 find additional information here. We hope this helps.

  6. Cynda W.

    2-26-19 9am EST I received a call from “SS” stating they are with holding my SS checks due to money laundering/drug running against my SS number. There is a warrant for my arrest for this “extremely serious crime I committed”. I was guilty of this crime because “other criminals claim their innocence.” He forwarded my call to the “deputy commissioner of SS investigations” They both were very abrupt with my uncontrollable upset crying. The “DCOSS ” told me my answers to 9 questions (in addition to previous interrogating question s) needed to be clear and precise because the BBB Fed Trade and Financial institutions are recording every word I say and “if they can’t hear the answers clearly it will be difficult to find me not guilty”. After approx 1 1/2 hrs of their constant
    continuation of questioning the “DCOSS” told me he will speak with his investigation team to determine further actions against me” “as he cannot take my word about this crime”. I was way beyond upset and when my husband came home he was extremely upset about what the scammers did to me. I called all the fraud phone numbers AND COULD NOT GET A LIVE PERSON!. I feel let down by the system and can’t explain how unimportant I feel to have gone through this and have no where to turn. NOBODY CARES ANY MORE ABOUT ANY TYPE OF CRIME!
    Too busy? Not big enough concern? ?????

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Cynda. We are sorry for your frustration. We do not usually make random calls. If 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 find additional information here. We hope this helps.

  7. Christine

    I got a call from this number asking for spousal divorce documents to collect from my ex who is filing for his SS benefits. (Maybe)
    Ms Melvin, 1-410-965-1234.
    She left a voicemail. I called back to 1-410-965-1234… (It’s a landline in Maryland.) Then called the number she stated in her message since there was no prompt to access her at 1-410-965-5825.

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Christine. We do not normally make random calls; however, you can contact us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. or contact your local Social Security office to determine if the call came from us. We hope this helps.

  8. C D.

    caller from 678-701-8258 claiming he was a Officer Babbitt from tx that someone was committing something suspicious nd fraudulent activities in the state of texas

    • Vonda V.

      Hi there. 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.

  9. Linda F.

    Here is a number that you should avoid. They ask for SS number and date of birth. Don’t give them any information.

    12254343070

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Linda. Thanks for letting us know. 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.

  10. Jack M.

    I have gotten three phone calls on my message machine telling me to call a certain number before they begin legal proceedings against me. It is very un-nerving.

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