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. Joan Lecus

    I’ve received some text messages telling me someone in TX has used my SS number and if I don’t respond I’ll be arrested. I ignore it. I haven’t been arrested yet.

    Reply
    • Donald Ward

      I also get these calls and have for a few years..that’s the original spam. Just hang up.

      Reply
    • Donna Crawford

      I have gotten a lot of calls from Texas saying my social security number was used And will be cut off And I might face charges

      Reply
      • Vonda

        Thanks for letting us know, Donna. 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
    • Vonda

      Thanks for letting us know, Joan. 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. Donald Ward

    The most recent scam/spammer calls involve the Medicare Card..caller wants to know if we received the recent Medicare Card..Medicare changed from SSN based # to a different type. Are they planning more changes?

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Hi Donald, thanks for using our blog. Medicare issued new cards back in 2018. For details on your Medicare card, check out Medicare’s web page Your Medicare Card. We hope this is helpful!

      Reply
  3. Nelson

    GM. 2020 year, 1099?.

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Hi Nelson, thanks for using our blog. Social Security mails the SSA-1099 each year in January to people who receive Social Security benefits. It shows the total amount of benefits you received from Social Security in the previous year so you know how much Social Security income to report to IRS on your tax return.

      Check out our Frequently Asked Questions web page for options on receiving an instant replacement SSA-1099 beginning February 1st. We hope this helps!

      Reply
  4. David Block

    Great information for the elderly, of which I
    am one. However, some people do get
    confused and do not realize what they are
    doing by giving out personal information to
    these scammers.

    Reply
  5. Craig Breitner

    My wife and I get these fraudulent phone calls every day including weekends and our Holidays. They represent themselves as working for Medicare, however their English is so bad we have a very hard time understanding them through their thick Middle Eastern accents, all of them. One of the called me Friday @ 12:00 Noon, EST. When I would not give him any information, he told me, F..k you Craig, F..k you. Which I then replied to him as a S.n of a B…h, which I love to do since I know how much it gets to them, they really take it personally while I laugh it off. I have been told by representatives of Medicare that there is nothing they can do about these harassing phone calls. We have tried calling these phone numbers back several times and all we get are recorded messages stating that those numbers are “out of service” you can not get on those phone numbers no matter how many times you try-you can’t. But these foreigners can call us always and harass us as much as they want. We are averaging about 3 to 6 of these harassing calls from these Middle Eastern spies or terrorists in our country. And my wife and I are told there is nothing we can do. I have to go my pain is letting me know I can’t sit up any longer. If you get these calls you will know just because these people are stupid, can hardly talk our English and they want to know your age, birth date, SS number and any/all of your personal information. DO NOT GIVE IT TO THEM. They will make your life miserable. If you hang up on them and they call back-hang up on them again and again, they will get tired and give up.

    Reply
  6. Patty Webb

    I get at least one call a week about this saying I’m going to be arrested because of activities on my number and I had better call right back to fix it. I just block the number everytime now. I know I’ve had at least 100 calls this past year.

    Reply
  7. Renee Norris

    I get these calls once a week. I tried reporting them. But the woman I talked to said they get to many to just hang up. They still call

    Reply
  8. Mario

    If you make the laws more harsher for people that are committing crimes like a lifetime sentence if you’re caught I’m sure the scammers were stop our problem is that our government this to corrupt especially the Democratic Party

    Reply
    • Shelia Mahoney

      Thank you, and I agree 200%. I got I guess around 100 or so of those calls last year alone, and have already started getting the same calls this year and it’s only the 10th of the month! When you answer your phone and no one replies right off, you know that it’s going to be a recording of the scammers saying there has been suspicious activity on your SS# and it has been blocked and a warrant has been issued for your arrest. Then they say that you need to contact some Detective, but they have never given a name for me. I wind up hanging up and blocking that number, but they always find a way to call from a different number. And the area code that they have been calling from is from the state that I live in, South Carolina!! That really pisses me off. I actually talked to one guy last year, and let him know that I knew it was a scam. He tried to assure me that it wasn’t, in his broken English. I told him that he was being recorded and that my lawyer and the proper authorities said that they would take care of the situation. He ask me why I called him? I said, I didn’t call you, you called me, and he hung up on me!! I tried to call the number back, and as someone else said, it said that the number wasn’t able to be reached as dialed or was no longer in service! If you feel you’ve reached this recording in error, please hang up and try your call again later.

      Reply
    • Mimi

      You are correct. The radical, far left wrote the book on scams and harassment.

      Reply
  9. Patricia A. Roper

    I get calls from Florida they keep changing the number on me. I just love to block them.

    Reply
  10. JSmith

    Real old cons need to go back to the pen.I told him find a job!!!!

    Reply

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