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

About Tracy Lynge, Communications Director for the Office of the Inspector General

Comments

  1. Karen

    I just received a call from 540-379-7508 saying my ssn # was showing fraudulent activity and my ssn # was going to be suspended and to press 1 (I think) to speak to someone regarding the suspension so I hung up.

    • Vonda

      Thanks for letting us know, Karen. 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. Alicia Strother

    I have been receiving many scam calls every day from random numbers and its an 850612216 and many others like it i get them on a daily basis and its starting to get aggressive that they threaten me that im goinv to jail for federal charges how cn i get them to stop

    • Vonda

      Thanks for letting us know, Alicia. 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. Steven O.

    Received a phone call (336)667-5968 from N. Wilkesboro,NC. Automated voice stating claim with my SSN Press 1. Gentlemen answered line sounding unaware why I was transferred to him. He asked me for my personal info name, DOB, SS#. I told him I was at work and grabbed all his info for return call.
    Claimed to be SSA Officer
    Lincoln Rodgers Badge# F29150
    El Paseo, Texas
    Contact #(970)431-6153
    This guy has a Middle Eastern Accent.
    I didn’t give him any info. He told me I could verify his identity by contacting my local SS Office. Seems fishy to me Name, accent, caller ID #/State to Contact #/state given. I was never asked for anything past my personal info.

    • Vonda

      Thanks for letting us know, Steven. 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.

  4. Felicia M

    I received multiple phone calls from a 818 La Canada Flintridge saying i need to press 1 to speak with someone from the ss administration bureau, when doing so they had no knowledge of who I was and wanted me to give up person info. he then gave me a fake name and “badge ID” number. I told him I would be calling the SSA my self to verify and he hung up.

    • Felicia

      The “officer name he gave was Phillip Colton badge # PMC315621, calling from phone number 818-952-2957

    • Vonda

      Thanks for letting us know, Felicia. 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.

  5. Margaret Collins

    I received a call today I though it was Ca EDD that is why I answered because I have been dealing with EDD . She asked for last 4 of my social and my zip code to verify me. I gave it to her and then became suspicious…. I told her I was giving her no more answers and was going to call SS. I hung up. Should I be worried about giving the info that I did ????

    • Vonda

      Hi Margaret, thanks for letting us know. You hung up and didn’t provide additional information which is what we tell people to do. If you’re still concerned, check out our Frequently Asked Questions on ways to protect yourself. We hope this helps.

  6. Ashley

    I received a call from National Disability saying I applied for benefits and she was calling to help me get set up. I informed her I had not applied. She said she could help me if I was interested and get me up to $2600 a month. I asked her how she was going to get a 40 year old with no medical issues disability. I asked her to remove me from her list. She hung up on me. I called her back and told her to remove me from their list. She said the information she was asking wasn’t personal. I said again to remove me and she hung up on me again. It was a local number from Noble, OK. 405-294-9585. She said her name was Evelyn.

    • Vonda

      Thanks for letting us know, Ashley. 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.

  7. Mary Falls

    My 85 year old mother is receiving scam calls for several months. The last one was today. She believed that they were going to replace her SS number. Fortunately my father caught the phone call and hung up. These phone calls are frequent and she believes some of what they are saying regardless of what
    family members advise to the contrary.

    • Vonda

      Thanks for letting us know, Mary. 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.

  8. Catharine F

    I received a call on 6/4/21 from numbers 929-229-2131 and 954-384-3525. The person identified herself as Grace Peterson from the SS office, ID#
    028401945 and also had a case number for me. She claimed my SS number was compromised for possible drug laundering schemes in San nAntonio, TX and she gave as address 1245 E 16th Ave in San Antonio,TX where my number was being used and that the US Marshal, the Central Trade Bureau and Better Business Bureau were investigating. She said hold on, now my supervisor Michelle Anderson wants to speak with you. She said I was on a recorded line and if I did not answer truthfully I could be charged for committing a crime. She wanted to know my address so the US Marshall could come to my house and give me a new SS number-given I was going to answer all questions truthfully. I certainly knew at that point this was a scam and did not give my bank info, etc. She wanted to know what bank I had bank accounts, how much money in them and to provide a photo ID. She wanted me to take a photo of my drivers license or passport and then she’ll give me instructions how to send the photo ID to her. At that point I hung up. She called another six times within a minute and then stopped.
    I filed a fraud report with the Office of the Inspector General.
    The scary part is that she knew the correct last 4 digits of my SS number.

    • Vonda

      Thanks for letting us know, Catharine. 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.

      Also, thank you for filing a fraud report with the Office of Inspector General. For more information on how to protect yourself, check out our Frequently Asked Questions. We hope this helps.

    • Ray Plate

      I just had someone try the same scam on me to day, but I didn’t go through with it.

  9. Jenny

    I received a call in California from someone who identified themselves as an SSA Officer Alex Rogers(ID# SSA201589), located at SSA office at 411 Richland Hills in San Antonio Texas. Said there was suspicious, fraudulent activity happening under my SSN, then asked for my birthdate and SSN so that he could tell me what the suspicious activity was. When I refused to provide my SSN, he began to threaten me that he would report me as being uncooperative and potentially complicit with the criminal activity in question. I asked him to provide me with his identifying information, told him that I was going to call an SSA agency to verify his information and then call back (which obviously I won’t). He asked that I call him back at the following number: 915-205-4299.

    • Ann C., Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi, Jenny. 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.

  10. Melissa

    Two “wireless calls”, a third with a actual name listed and all three left VM warning me my SS # shows suspicious activity and could be frozen. All within two hours. 802 area code numbers where I’m from.

    • Vonda

      Thanks for letting us know, Melissa. 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.

Comments are closed.