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. Johnell L.

    I received a call from 408-925-9849 informing me that my “social security number has been suspended for suspicious activity”. I believe this to be a scam and hung up.

    • Sue

      Thanks for letting us know, Johnell. 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 Question. We hope this helps.

  2. Linda L.

    On 2-01-2021 I was at my work and recived 3 calls from a phone number that is a cell for a business number stating that I need to call back on a imporant matter reguarding my Social security which I never called back sounded like a foriener the numbeer was 651-955-7925 . which was clode to the cell number that i carry for work but not my personal number I did hang up all 3 times they called wanted to inform you of this as I work in a assisted living facility Thanks

    • Vonda

      Thanks for letting us know, Linda. 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.

  3. John A.

    Can I get my payment sent to visa debit card instead of mail

    • Vonda

      Hi John, thanks for using our blog. Check out our Social Security Direct Deposit web page for your payment options. We hope this helps!

  4. Sharon G.

    I received a letter from Western Program Service Center, Richmond, Ca. saying my monthly benefit payment for 12/2020 was returned. Payments must be stopped until they find out why payment was returned. My 12/2020 payment was deposited. They gave a 1-866-397-4234 number to call. I have called all week and couldn’t get anyone. Wanted to make sure this was really from Social Security.

    • Vonda

      Hi Sharon, 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.

  5. John S.

    I was contacted by a woman at 321 235-3404 telling me that I was not receiving my benefits. A heavy Indian accent almost impossible to understand. I refused to converse and she asked me to call 866 964-6146 and ask for (her name). Is 866 964-6146 a legitimate SSA contact telephone number?

    • Vonda

      Hi John, 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.

  6. Lisa H.

    I been contacted twice one by a 410 local Maryland number saying my ssn been compromised in Texas. They switched me over to someone else when she said social security May I help you. I said you tell me you called me. She hung up. The second one just called Monday 1/19/21 he had a creepy voice changer n told me my ssn number has been compromised. I immediately hung up. Their number is 443-458-5086

    • Sue

      Thanks for letting us know, Lisa. 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: 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.

  7. JC

    Hi, received a call from (949 656 7203) a company in irvine, ca in response to a disability/social security claim that i made. Asked me a few yes/no questions and the first lady i spoke with said that i qualify. She said i would be transferred to the claims department to complete the process. There i was asked the same series of yes/no questions, only to be told i did not qualify. They did not ask for SS # or bank info, just questions about my injury, work history, if doctor was seen and age. The thing is: I didn’t make a claim and i wasnt about to give them personal info if they asked. I didn’t even get a chance to ask why i didn’t qualify or get a word in edge wise. Just a sorry, we cant help you sir, have a nice day!

    • Vonda

      Hi JC, 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 recently filed for benefits, you may want 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.

  8. Carole J.

    I live in ny and received a phone call from a texas number. they left no voice message. When I called them back the guy barely spoke english and was having a hard time understanding me. He said he was called from the social security commissioner and his name was eric lopez. When I asked why he called he said he needed my personal information such as my name and social security number to find out. I didn’t give him any personal information and hung up.

    • Sue

      Thanks for letting us know, Carole. 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.

  9. Michael C.

    I have received numerous telephone calls from someone claiming to be an enforcement agent of the SSA. He said I was the subject of an investigation and subject to my ssn being suspended. I was being investigated for drug trafficking and money laundering in Texas. I told him he had the wrong person as I haven’t been in Texas in 25yrs. He wouldn’t verify any par of my ssn to show me he had the right person and kept wanting me to provide my ssn which I refused to do. I told him since he couldn’t prove his identity to me our conversation was over and if he had evidence come see m and we would show it to my lawyer. The call ended then. note: the telephone number the call was from a local area code and he claimed to be at SSA Hq in Maryland.

    • Vonda

      Thanks for letting us know, Michael. 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.

  10. Elizabeth R.

    Received a call from 419 213 1005 saying they were calling about social security….getting me more $$ and wanted to interview me on the phone.
    15-20 interview. Told them to mail me an appt. I didnt think u call on Saturday before 9am

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