Frauds & Scams

Is that Phone Call From Us?

October 30, 2017 • By

Last Updated: August 19, 2021

woman talking on the phone It’s the morning of a busy day at home and you get a call from an unknown number. You answer only to find yourself on the receiving end of a threatening message saying your Social Security benefits will stop immediately unless you provide your personal information. It happens every day to thousands of Americans.  And it’s not Social Security calling.

Scammers have many ways to lure their victims into providing information and then stealing their identities. Sometimes they call under a guise of helping you complete a disability application.

Protecting your information is an important part of Social Security’s mission to secure today and tomorrow. SSA employees occasionally contact citizens by telephone for customer-service purposes.  In only a few special situations, usually already known to the citizen, an SSA employee may request the citizen confirm personal information over the phone. If you do receive a call from one of our representatives, they will provide you with a telephone number and extension.

The Acting Inspector General for Social Security, Gail Stallworth Stone, urges everyone to stay vigilant of impersonation schemes and to not be afraid to hang up.

You must always remember that you’re in control. Also remember that Social Security will never do any of the following:

  • Call you to demand an immediate payment.
  • Demand that you pay a debt without the ability to appeal the amount you owe.
  • Require a specific means of payment, such as requiring you to pay with a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask you for your personal information or credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten you with arrest or deportation.

If you receive one of these scam calls or emails, do not provide them with any information. You should:

  • Hang up immediately.
  • For Social Security impersonations, contact Social Security’s Office of Inspector General at https://oig.ssa.gov/report.

If you receive a notice from Social Security, please use the telephone numbers provided in the notice sent to you. You can also call 1-800-772-1213 or visit ssa.gov for how to contact Social Security. Remember that scammers try to stay a step ahead of the curve. You can do the same by protecting your information.


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About the Author

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

Comments

  1. Robert D.

    I received a call from a private phone number. The caller claimed they were a SSA employee and they had problems with their official phone line.

    Does SSA ever allow employees to make calls from their own phone?

    • Vonda

      Hi Robert, thanks for checking in with us. Generally, we will only contact someone if they have requested a call or have ongoing business with us. To see if Social Security did make that call, you would need to call your local office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

  2. Philip E.

    My wife received a call from someone saying they wanted to know if they should process her Medicare application. I took the message and they said she should call them back at the following number in Missouri: 877-772-4309

    Is this a legitimate Social Security phone number?

  3. Vicki G.

    I received a voice mail from someone who said they are with the Work Load Support Unit of the Social Security Administration. The callback phone number they left is:
    800-842-0588, with a 5-digit extension number. However, the number that showed up on my phone is 312-575-6999, with a recorded message only (no access to anyone via that number). Is that a verifiable SSA phone number?

    • Vonda

      Hi Vicki, thanks for checking in with us. Generally, we will only contact someone if they have requested a call or have ongoing business with us. To see if Social Security did make that call, you would need to call your local office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

  4. Ann

    I just got a call from +1 (504) 468-3238 claiming to be from Social security and they claimed to have sent a notice to me at my old address. They claimed to need to do a quick review of my payment records. This is the first time I have ever heard of this. And the number they told me to call back on is not the one that they called me from. I hung up. This is what they told me to call back on 8885022322 direct extension 18021 pretty sure it’s a scam

    • Vonda

      Hi Ann, thanks for checking in with us. Generally, we will only contact someone if they have requested a call or have ongoing business with us. If you’re receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security may be calling for a redetermination which is a review of non-medical eligibility factors (i.e., income, resources, and living arrangements) to determine whether you’re still eligible for and receiving the correct SSI payment. To see if Social Security did make that call, you would need to call your local office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

  5. Janice M.

    A private number called me claiming to be law enforcement and my social security has been stolen. Press 1 to be connected to a ssi operator.
    I hung up

    • Vonda

      Thanks for letting us know, Janice. 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.

  6. Deana V.

    I just received a call with a voice message saying that my SSN has been compromised in Texas & has been reported in Texas. The call stated that a court process could begin if I ignore them I hung since I didn’t want a scam. What shall I do next?

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Deana. Thanks for checking in with us. 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.

    • Juan

      That just happened to me

Comments are closed.