Fraud

New Updates to Our Warning About Social Security Phone Scams

January 8, 2021 • By

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

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. Harold Harris

    I received a call today sent to my voice mail from a # in Poland +48 91 317 70 74 fraudulent activity against my social security number, press 1 to speak with an officer, neglecting the call lead to prosecution.

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Thanks for letting us know, Harold. 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
      • Mike Eley

        478-288-3890 just called me with the same story about fraudulent activity in Texas

        Reply
        • Vonda

          Thanks for letting us know, Mike. 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
          • Jose

            Just received the same call today. Phone number +48 81 825 53 96
            Lublin, Poland

    • Marc

      Just received the same phone call from 360-656-8727. In my case it was an automated voice.

      Reply
  2. Michele Peters

    I got a phone call, from ms. Hernandez while I was plurality about to shower one morn. She said she could extend my ssa.gov benefits for about one month until I get a rep. payee for my account/ money. If I did not I had one month only to get a rep/ payee or the money would be suspended. I was some what aware that I had probably signed up or CLICKED in MY ACCOUNT, my SSA.gov account online that I do want an advanced directive, then she calls. me. I was astonished by the remote workers intelligence here in Fort Myers Florida. they seem to have no discretion when It comes to business protocol over the telephone, nor did I really at that sudden time of the phone call. So then I received several like MARKETING advertisement like solicitations from it seems the last criminal company; providence family life center here and another one referenced which I considered mailing list fraud. I write the ssa.gov OIG and about that company and maybe i forget Sunshine from St Parkersburg since they were referenced together. but that one here ..providence did snotty businesses. I might have even clicked on line years ago paying my bills. with the speed of into going out..it is strange that the cust. service agents dealing with me. never seem to answer my questions about the online account and the simple area where you can CHOOSE literally ADVANCE Directive..I mean now several Years later with trying to research my rights under the Consumer financial bureau. which providence explicitly went off/ against …in their explanation of my rights, their responsibilities as a rep payee. they were undoubtedly wrong..they also kept an separate account with some of my payments Now they are mailing me letters from here..reference with NO Appeal letter connected and some other name typed in the ..name field..it is a scam YET They still via online cancelled my money this month. SO I made sure i went online into my ssa.gov m ya account and again CLICKED NO I DO NOT WANT A ADVANCED Directive..can you speed up the process. I have no money this month what to do today? can you check my funds today? can you speed up my mail send me one today.? thank you sincerely, Ms Michele Peters end. RUTGERS ALUMNI. FDU alumni. UCONN, ECC. National PTA/ FL, VA member.

    Reply
    • Vonda

      For your security, Michele, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance or you can call your local Social Security 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.

      Reply
  3. mike farmer

    I HAVE RECEIVED ABOUT 10 CALLS IN THE PAST 2 WEEK FROM THIS NUMBER 828/696-8832 TELLING ME I HAD FRADULENT ACTIVITY ON MY SOCIAL SECURITY ACCOUNT. HOPE YOU CAN STOP THIS SCAM SOON.

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Thanks for letting us know, Mike. 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
  4. Pat Yardley

    I received a call on 3/3/21 from 408-636-1999 Sunnyvale, Ca. who left a recorded message that there was suspicious activity involving my social security number and they will be forced to suspend my benefits unless I press 1 to speak to an officer of their legal Dept. now. Of course, I did not respond.

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Thanks for letting us know, Pat. 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
  5. Richard Warren Dehls

    I know that Social security does not initiate contact over the telephone, so I knew the call I received this morning, 3/5/2021 saying that unless I called the legal office that they were going to suspend my account and all payments. They spoofed the telephone number of Fair Market Farms in Connecticut.

    Reply

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