Inspector General Warns Public about Widespread Social Security Scam Texts

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 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 Please share scam awareness information with friends and family to help them avoid becoming victims.


32 thoughts on “Inspector General Warns Public about Widespread Social Security Scam Texts

  1. W e receivrd 6 calls and 2 evolve mails today. I knew that the SSA never does the text and voicemail rout. I hope more seniors pay attention. Thank you.

  2. i received a call today that I had entered a sweep stake (which I had not) and I HAD WON $25,000 or a car credit of $25,000. I am to bring my SPOUSE and to show the a valid CREDIT CARD AND DRIVERS LICENSES
    on two different evening dates and times but WOULD NOT GIVE ME THE ADDRESS WHERE TO REPORT unless I could say for sure my spouse would be able to attend with me. Sounds like another SCAM TO ME.

  3. I got a call stating they were from Social Security and that I had done something wrong and an arrest warrant had been issued for my arrest. That number was 785-447-6856.

    • I would get at least 3 calls a week for the longest time, but never did pick up on them. Listening to their message was obvious to me it was a scam. They left a message stating that if I didn’t return their last phone call the FBI–yes the FBI–was out to get me. I never did return their call and…
      P.S. The FBI never did come to arrest me!

    • I would get at least 3 calls a week for the longest time, but never did pick up on them. Listening to their message was obvious to me it was a scam. They left a message stating that if I did not return their last phone call the FBI–yes the FBI–was out to get me. I never did return their call and…
      P.S. The FBI never did set out to arrest me!

  4. My Hubby got a call today but we would not give them the information they requested. I got a call a couple of days ago and I just kept saying hello until they hung up. The longer you keep them on the line wasting their time the less times they will call your number. I also will say hello then lay the phone down until they hang up.

  5. I love these bozos. They call us a couple of times a week and I tell them to stop doing it because otherwise they will burn in hell for what they are trying to do to folks like me. I hope that worries them at least a little bit!

    BTW, this print is very teensy and the shading is very light. I have a difficult time trying to read all the useful info you provide. Thanks!

  6. GM. I receive this same phone yesterday and a text message telling about the same, I was going over to SS office this morning to inquire, from where I owe that money, I didn’t answer or call that number 1-444-

  7. Thank you for the info. I’m 86 but I never pay any attention to any message concerning Social Security. If I have a question I contact Social Security even though I do not always get a reasonably explanation.

  8. I SLAM THE SCAM! That goes not only for SSA but also the IRS and Medicare—my phone has a built-in voicemail and an outgoing Star Trek message, so if anyone wants to leave a message he/she has to listen to a complaint about still another transporter problem. About 95% of the time the caller just hangs up and will not call this number again. Ahhh—peace, it’s wonderful.


  10. This will continue to occur until the phone companies institute SHAKEN/STIR, a method devised several years ago that prevents the phone company from processing calls that come from a telephone system that does not also contain “certificates of authenticity” from the calling phone processor that checks the incoming caller ID with the caller ID that is impressed on the outgoing call. If they don’t match, the call will not go through. All these scam callers “spoof” the caller ID to trick you and prevent you from identifying where the call is truly coming from, most often outside North America. To reduce or eliminate these calls, pressure your telephone carrier to implement SHAKEN/STIR (they’ll know what you’re referring to). Otherwise these calls will continue. Most of these scammers use Voice Over IP (VOIP), an internet computer-to-telephone connection to further prevent the call’s source so, until SHAKEN/STIR is activated, the calls will continue. Pressure your member of Congress to force the telephone carriers to begin SHAKEN/STIR. Tell them you want this NOW!!

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