Frauds & Scams

Inspector General Warns Public about Widespread Social Security Scam Texts

March 4, 2020 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: August 19, 2021

The Inspector General of Social Security, Gail S. Ennis, is warning of a new tactic by government imposters to reach — and victimize — Americans by phone. We have received reports of text messages on cell phones that appear to come from Social Security. The texts warn about a Social Security number problem. They ask the recipient to call a number back to resolve the problem and avoid legal action.

This trick appears to be the latest development in continuing widespread scams meant to deceive Americans into providing money and personal information to scammers. Social Security will never send a text asking for a return call to an unknown number. Social Security will only send text messages if you have opted in to receive texts from the agency and only in limited situations, including the following:

  • When you have requested or subscribed to receive updates and notifications from Social Security by text.
  • As part of Social Security’s enhanced security when accessing your personal my Social Security account.

Our office wants you to know 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, wire transfer, internet currency, or by mailing cash.
  • Send official letters or reports containing your personal information via email.

If you owe money to Social Security, the agency will mail you a letter with payment options and appeal rights. You should never pay a government fee or fine using retail gift cards, cash, internet currency, wire transfers, or pre-paid debit cards.

Inspector General Ennis has designated this Thursday, March 5, 2020, as National “Slam the Scam” Day to educate every American about these sinister scams. You can learn more at https://oig.ssa.gov/scam. Join Inspector General Ennis and Monica Vaca, Associate Director, Consumer Response and Operations at the Federal Trade Commission, for a special joint Facebook Live. It’s called “Slam the Scam:  That call is not from Social Security,” and starts at 7:00 p.m. ET. Join us and stay ahead of the scammers by hearing directly from the experts.

Inspector General Ennis urges the public to be very cautious when receiving unsolicited calls from any purported government agency, and to discuss any major financial decision only with trusted family members or friends.

If you receive a call, text, or email that you believe to be suspicious about a problem with your Social Security number or account, do not respond or engage with the caller or sender. Report these Social Security scams through our dedicated online form at https://oig.ssa.gov. Please share scam awareness information with friends and family to help them avoid becoming victims.


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About the Author

Tracy Lynge, Communications Director for the Office of the Inspector General

About Tracy Lynge, Communications Director for the Office of the Inspector General

Comments

  1. Barbara A.

    These are the two phone numbers that called me two days ago. Apparently these crooks are working the central Texas area.
    301-567-8644 and 915-334-7580.

  2. Mimi P.

    Thank you for helping us elderly people. I will be very careful not to fall prey to experienced fraudulent people.

  3. Chet

    Thank you all for your interest and response. This has been going on for over a year. I am a law enforcement and physical security specialist
    Be very careful!

  4. Charles

    Try catching the scammers
    I suppose ask “Congress to enact a law against scamming, punishable by death, comes first. Then catch and kill a few, after trial. But above all, try catching them and publicizing it.

    • Tamika

      This threat is real and it seems something more can and should be done.
      It’s sad that greed preys upon this disabled.

  5. Matt

    Thank you for the valuable information.

  6. Tomas C.

    This number calls me several times a week and tells me that my social security number has fallen victim to fraudulent and serious crimes. (202-625-8514).

  7. Carmen C.

    Unable to sign-in to read my email. Please help
    Thank you

    • Candice

      Social Security will NEVER contact you by email, phone or by text! Do NOT respond.

      • Kathy V.

        I received a call early this morning from a scam number
        From Switzerland and the voicemail was a recording about my SS
        Please don’t even answer these call

  8. Elaine L.

    Thank you I was scammed one time but I m. More careful now and the scammer was arrested. Thanks have a good day

  9. Ms J.

    Your social security I’ve been on Medicare and social security since 2005. Ever since then actually starting maybe a year or year-and-a-half ago I’ll get these erroneous social security calls. Threats continually calling and I told social security about it after it happened the first time. Do you not believe these guys they have nothing but nefarious reasons for trying to get your money and they prey on seniors that are not informed. If you get one of these calls or texts please Ashley younger person in your family or a designated person that handles your affairs but never ever give your social security number nor any other financial information over the phone. As a fact I know that social security never calls you on the phone, they will send you correspondence by mail and no threats. Please please question these people and or do not, I repeat do not answer the phone when you don’t recognize the phone number, or hang up when somebody is threatening you. If you have the capability 2 block them on your phone please do so. Thanks for listening.

  10. David B.

    Thanks for this information.

Comments are closed.