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.


Tags: ,

See Comments

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. Brenda

    The highlight of my day to start with was a call from “social security.” from phone number 806-642-4630. Was not an American speaking person.

    This was the content of my call:

    What is your name? Jane Doe
    What is your zip code? 90210

    Placed me on hold:

    Again stated: Legal suspicious for criminal activities and we will suspend your account. Do you have a pen and paper to write this down?

    My name is Officer Jeffery Bartoloa
    Fed ID number-00C312B
    My case Id-TX701036
    My Reference no 26093V

    This information has been recorded by the social security and treasury department.

    Me: I am glad so glad! Pause………….. because I recorded it too and the police will be notified.

    He hung up on me

    • Vonda V.

      Thanks for letting us know, Brenda. Generally, we will only contact you if you have requested a call or have ongoing business with us. Recently, scams—misleading victims into making cash or gift card payments to avoid arrest for Social Security number problems—have skyrocketed. Our employees will never threaten you for information or promise a benefit in exchange for personal information or money.

      If you receive a suspicious call like this: 1) Hang up. 2) Do not provide personal information, money, or retail gift cards. 3) Report suspicious calls here. For more information on how to protect yourself, check out our Frequently Asked Questions. We hope this helps.

  2. CHARLES H.

    Recently I got a call from a scammer who said he was from amazon and my social security number was used to make several fraud entry charges on amazon. I was asked if I wanted to dispute the charges, but I told the caller that I didn’t have an account at amazon so why would I want to dispute the charges? The caller wanted access to my computer and when I refused he hung up.

  3. info f.

    Nikmati berbagai Promo Bonus dan Info Betgratis yang di berikan oleh Situs Judi Online Terbaik dan Terpercaya. Bersama Gudangbetgratis temukan berbagai Promosi terbaru baik dari Info Freechip dan Freebet Gratis Tanpa Deposit hingga Promo Terbaiknya yang dimiliki Oleh Situs Judi Online Tersebut

  4. onlinehefaz

    thanks
    onlinehefaz

  5. Manuel V.

    I have edema and leakage of the veins that causes swelling due to water retention that causes pain aching and burning. I cant stand for very long or sit. my legs start to go numb. I have been on ssi disability benefits for 12 years and I went to see a doctor for ssi that was scheduled for me by them. And as of January 1st I received a letter stating that my benefits were gonna be terminated due to weight loss. I have lost weight. but that’s not my disability it’s my legs that are the disability yes my weight is part of it. but how can they base their decision on my weight loss and not the condition of my legs. I’ve also had left knee surgery for a torn meniscus. and umbilical hernia surgery as well. I have diabetes poor blood circulation high blood pressure. I’ve now no income to pay my Bill’s or even support myself or my family. and with the Coronavirus going on. what am I supposed to do?

    • Susie H.

      Oh my goodness? How are you now?? What happened since then? Did ssi pick back up, I pray? Was it a scam tactic when they said weight loss? This scares me too!!!

  6. Ritubansal

    How Social Security scams work
    Social Security impostors create phony problems or scenarios in a bid to steal money or get their hands on sensitive data, such as your bank routing number. Along with calling and texting, the criminals send emails and letters. No matter how they communicate, the stories they spin are designed to deceive. They purport that there is a Social Security problem that must be remedied, and they sometimes threaten arrest. Or they promise an increase in benefits — for a fee. They also might offer to protect your assets from identity theft by transferring the money into a “protected” bank account. Another hallmark of a scam: Con artists will demand secrecy from you with regard to the alleged problem or issue, telling you to make up a story to tell your family members or bank employees, Ennis said rajssp scholarship

  7. Rangga

    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 Social Security phone and text scams through our dedicated online form at. ease share scam awareness information with friends and family, to help spread awareness about phone scams.

  8. Rangga

    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 Social Security phone and text scams through our dedicated online form at https://panenpoker.cc. Please share scam awareness information with friends and family, to help spread awareness about phone scams.

  9. Kim

    I got a call saying they been charging me 400 a month for Microsoft edge an if I wanted to cancel call this number 855.948.3811 it was first an automated call so I called back to tell them I didn’t have that an he some how long into my computer when I turned it on an I had to pull the battery out cause I could see he turned on the camera which was already covered with a piece of paper anyways all he got was my ss number he got very mad I would not put in my checking account number but before I could delete my ss number he click out all screens he opened on my computer an said I won’t get a refund an they would continue to charge me I hung up called my bank she said it was a scam an thank god I didn’t give him my account number he only got my ss number he didn’t get name he got old address that’s it so I submitted the call number name of website they have me an the mans name an position an turned it in to the fraud department of the ssa just Incase he does anything with my ss number I could not believe I was so stupid to almost fall for that just glad I didn’t give him my name or bank info he only got my old address an ss number but did file a claim in the fraud department trust me I usually never answer calls I don’t know but was in hospital six weeks last year so they are usually bill collectors but I will not be answering any more calls I don’t know oh yeah when I hung up on him they called me back twice from the Netherlands I forwarded to vm an they just kept calling back an finally stopped after third time never left a message I made a dumb stupid mistake that won’t be made again bank said she will note my account just because he did get ss number but not having my name and bday he won’t get in my account thank god

  10. Shirley

    I use to get calls from the IRS (LOL) on one day my credit was so good that they wanted to send my $10,700.00. I had to go and get a cashiers check for $300.00 The guy actually started calling me names when I told him I knew it was a scam and if the called again I was contacting the Attorney General – the phone went dead, but the next day from someone else In the IRS (LOL) called to tell me I owed X amount of dollard and if I didn’t pay with credit card right then I would be arrested once again tell them I will call Attorney General and Do Not Call Me Again. Click and have not heard from them since!

Comments are closed.