Frauds & Scams

New Updates to Our Warning About Social Security Phone Scams

January 8, 2021 • By

Last Updated: January 13, 2021

A photo of a man using a laptop with a Scam email graphic being displayed on the monitorThe Inspector General for Social Security, Gail S. Ennis, is again warning the public about widespread Social Security-related telephone scams. These scams may use sophisticated tactics to deceive them into providing sensitive information or money.

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has recently received reports of telephone scammers using real Social Security and OIG officials’ names — many of which are publicly available on our websites or through an online search. Other common tactics to lend legitimacy to scams are citing “badge numbers” of law enforcement officers. Some request that people send email attachments containing personal information about an “investigation,” or text links to click on to “learn more” about a Social Security-related problem.

Inspector General Ennis wants you to know Social Security will never:

  • Suspend your Social Security number because someone else has used it in a crime.
  • Threaten you with arrest or other legal action unless you immediately pay a fine or fee.
  • Require payment by retail gift card, wire transfer, internet currency, or mailing cash.
  • Promise a benefit increase or other assistance in exchange for payment.
  • Send official letters or reports containing your personal information via email.

“Don’t believe anyone who calls you unsolicited from a government agency and threatens you — just hang up,” Inspector General Ennis said. “They may use real names or badge numbers to sound more official, but they are not. We will keep updating you as scam tactics evolve — because public awareness is the best weapon we have against them.”

If you owe money to Social Security, we will mail you a letter with payment options and appeal rights. If you receive a letter, text, call or email that you believe to be suspicious, about an alleged problem with your Social Security number, account, or payments, hang up or do not respond.

We encourage you to report Social Security scams — or other Social Security fraud — via the OIG website. You may also read all previous Social Security OIG fraud advisories on our website.  Please share this information with your friends and family to help spread awareness about Social Security scams.


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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

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  1. Denise Lenore

    I got a call today 5-15-21 from 719-557-5438 he said he was from Social Security, and he said my first name. I hung up. How do I report this phone no.?

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Thanks for letting us know, Denise. 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.

      Reply
  2. lola

    So I called the social security office at 1(800)772-1213.i CANNIOT GET THROUGH AND HAVE BEEN HOLDING for 53 minutes and the music is driving me crazy.And above all
    No One Care About You .You could be lying on the floor dead because they have your mioney and can talk to you like you are nothing.Stilk waiting now the time is 55 minutes.

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Hi Lola, thanks for using our blog. If you recently applied for a name change, you should call your local Social Security office. 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.

      Reply
  3. lola

    got a call at 8 am in the morning saying that I had a name change and what is the name I had on my birth certificate ..707-645-0806 about documents I had sent in for a name change.

    Reply
  4. James K.

    Just received a call from someone stating fraudulent activity on my social security. Please press 1

    Reply
    • Ann C., Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi, James. Thanks for letting us know. 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.

      Reply
      • Mikyas

        Iliky

        Reply
  5. Jonathan

    Recieved one an hour and a half ago from 707-483-9678. Claimed their was an arrest warrant out for me due to fraudulent account activity.

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Thanks for letting us know, Jonathan. 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.

      Reply
  6. Ann Bennett

    I have had several calls from “SS” telling me about trouble with my account… They come from 407-612-9526

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Thanks for letting us know, Ann. 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.

      Reply
    • eugene smith

      another one is 630 574 9267 said I had to call them back for my ss number been used in a crime which they are investigating, if I do not I would be arrested

      Reply
      • Vonda

        Thanks for letting us know, Eugene. 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.

        Reply
  7. Ken

    So the scamming goes on with impunity because the scammers have their right to privacy.

    Reply

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