Scam Awareness

Social Security is committed to protecting the information and resources entrusted to us, including your personal information and investment. However, scam artists might try to trick you into sharing your personal information or money. We’re here to help you identify and report these kinds of schemes.

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has a new web page with tips on how to protect yourself from theft schemes, how to report scams, and recent fraud advisories. This is in response to an ongoing phone scheme, where individuals receive a call with a recorded message claiming to be from the OIG.

The message states the individual’s Social Security account, Social Security number, frand/or benefits are suspended, and that they should call a non-Social Security phone number to resolve the issue. When the individual calls this number, an unknown person pressures them into providing money or gift cards to resolve a fabricated issue, such as a warrant for the individuals’ arrest. Social Security does not solicit your personal information over the phone or by email, or request advance fees for services in the form of wire transfers or gift cards. If anyone pressures you to provide personal information or money over the phone, just hang up.

If you suspect fraud, report it to the OIG on their website or by calling the Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271.

For more than 80 years, Social Security has secured today and tomorrow by protecting what’s important to you. You can learn more about the tools we use to identify, prevent, and fight fraud here.

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47 thoughts on “Scam Awareness

  1. I HAD A HORRIBLE TIME ABOUT FOUR MONTHS AGO, OVER THE PHONE. SUPPOSEDLY HE WAS AN IRS AGENT, CLAIMING THAT I OWED OVER $3,000 IN TAXES. LONG STORY SHORT, I WAS OUT $1,100, I AM DISABLED AND I AM ON SSDI. HE THREATENED ME PHYSICALLY AND SAID HE HAD A WARRANT OUT FOR MY ARREST, AND THAT IF I DIDN’T COOPERATE, THEY WOULD COME TO MY DOOR AND BEAT ME UP. I WENT TO MY BANK AND CLEARED TWO ACCOUNTS WITH NOTHING LEFT. I REPORTED IT TO THE FTC AND THEY SAID THEY COULD NOT DO ANYTHING.

    • Hate to say this, but why didn’t you verify this with the IRS first? Don’t you pay attention to what is happening? The IRS constantly tells the public through many venues that they will never call you! They always write you first! And why in the world would you believe some hoo-hah over the phone? Trust but verify!

      • Hey Carol,
        Maybe everyone isn’t as “sharp”as you…..the elderly and disadvantaged sometimes get very frightened when someone threatens them.
        So keep your sarcastic opinions to yourself until you may possibly help someone.

  2. I got taken too but it was with they said a gov. grant $9.700 they wanted me at first to purchase an iTunes card for $50.00 then when I called them back they asked for 2 more $50.00cards when I said I was not able to they got mad too. So it cost me$50 to learn it’s a scam. I am sorry that that happened to you.

    • Amazing that anyone would think they could buy a government grant with an “I Tune card”. This is a condemnation of our public school system.

  3. I can’t understand in this country people can’t stop those cheft please SSA do something please We need our help.

    • I realize that the origin of these scams may be out of country but misrepresentation of a government office should be a crime whomever generates it. Why doesn’t interpol or the like investigate them? We unfortunately still have a generation alive in this country that is too trusting. This is why predators are so successful. These people need help in fighting off the vultures circling for their hard earned fixed incomes. Instead of berating them for their trusting nature, let’s go to battle against those who gain financially because of a culture (mostly elderly) who learned to trust all authority.

  4. Im sorry Ms. Margery! It doesn’t matter much sometimes old or young. If our own big time corporations can scratch each other’s backs to inch off of us who are vulnerable, in need then other’s tend to be able to create falsified credentials to do the same thing. Always ask someone you trust which is even hard in these days and that will take the time, family or friend to talk to and question it before acting! I had been taken through some things just pray for protection of finances and seek certified Congress and Commissioners to ask them what in the —– are they doing until they talk directly to you!

  5. Ms. Judy, same thing to you I’m of age and was also contacted also about tge grant for $7000. I was in need but thank God I called my mother and questioned even though, I have experience in the world of business, sometimes we don’t think. I pray it catches up with them!

  6. Well Dixon, I’m sorry gosh that is a long time if you suspect something is not write, try having a cheap phone or recorder, that way maybe it can be investigated and transactions already made, save documents. It’s things like this why our government needs a wake up call because we are so widely open and it’s scarier than ever before. I’ll keep you guys in my prayers!As I do for myself, family and friends from the deceivers inside and outside of our government! Take care

  7. And Please Please Note A corporation called, Credit Acceptance, lol they are another one that should not be in business. They approve for vehicles no matter what than they try to steal the vehicle back and money! Be aware!

  8. My Medicare card certainly does show my entire SSN. If new cards are available that do not have it, well, for one thing that makes no sense – how are doctors supposed to bill Medicare without knowing the number? – but if they do exist, surely Medicare might have shared that news item!

  9. I am so overwhelmed I am disabled because of a hospital error overdosed me on anastasia and then morphine I died for 35min. Now I got a second disability review and it said that I could lose my benefits don’t you think my life is hard enough now I am stressed to the max that is not good for me and my brain.. I’ll be just another homeless person nobody cares about how can you think I’m not disabled after being dead for 35min. Please pray for me I’m strong but I’m getting very very weak..

    • Hi Elizabeth! We understand that a medical review can be stressful. The Social Security Administration conducts Continuing Disability Reviews from time to time to make sure you are still disabled, and we only evaluate factors that permanently affect your ability to work. Also, we obtain and consider medical evidence from your doctor or other medical sources, if needed. For other factors that we consider in reviewing your disability status, please read our publication, “What You Need to Know: Reviewing Your Disability”. We hope this helps.

  10. I too almost got scammed. Get this one, I first got a “friend” request through face book for text messaging. Then a couple of days later (in the wee hours) I got a message from this friend and she told me about a grant she had received ($90,000). All she had to do was make contact with a particular person (in the middle of the night???), leave a message for them and they would get back to me and tell me if I was qualified for this benefit. Well, knowing this person to be smart and having known her for almost 20 years I did get in touch with this person immediately. Low and behold that person got back in touch with me immediately and with my friend’s encouragement on-going, I went ahead and answered the questions. Of course I was qualified. All I had to do was come up with a certain amount of money to receive the “grant”. There was a list of amounts going from $1000 for $75,000 to $10,000 for over a million dollars!!!! All of this seemed …yeah you know it “to good to be true”, but my friend kept talking to me and I went through with the continued questions and etc. I told them I could not come up with the money and would have to wait until my SS came in next month. So, they ask me if I could come up with something so they could put a “hold” on the “grant” for me until then. Well I said I only have xx dollars. They said I could get a $25 I-tunes card and that would be fine. So, already much against my better judgement, but, my long-time friend said she had done that too and I got the card, scanned it and sent it to them via face book messenger. Well, then they wanted to know if I could not get a day loan and then they wanted the name of my bank and all my bells and whistles finally started going off. I said NO to the loan and did not respond to the name of my bank. I then figured out that it was not my friend who had messaged me. I got a message from face book that someone had accessed my account and I got the details of that and it was from Brazil!! I then went and found my friend on face book and she had been hacked. She was hacked on the same day these people contacted me. I went in and changed my face book password and will be contacting my bank (just in case) to change any information they may have acquired by accessing my computer. I feel like a complete idiot. I have been hacked before my opening an e-mail from a friend who had been hacked but nothing as SLICK as these guys. They really got lucky with me as the friend the chose to use as a contact is really a good friend and I obviously trusted her… only it was not her. Yeck… all I lost was $25.00 but it almost was a lot more. I am on a limited income and do not need to lose anything. I will be kicking myself for a long time for losing the amount I did, but very glad I did not lose more!! So, if anyone receives a message from a friend like I did, even as official as it may appear (and they even had a very realistic government face book page) please do not fall for it. Just check out of it and then immediately contact your real friend and let them know they have been hacked. It may save someone from disaster. I will be reporting this and hopefully the authorities can stop this. As I still have the information and the contact information.

    • Sorry abut the frustration and stress you went through. Anyone that asks for money or gift cards to give you money is trying to scam you. You should have to give money to get money.

    • That same thing happened to me but before I reacted I asked my best friend to answer three questions about how he knows me he got mad and stopped texting me about this free grant you got to pay to get

  11. I received a from someone stating they were from the IRS and that I owed money, lots of it and that an arrest warrant was already issued, to stop it I needed to fork over the requested amount, like close to 10,000! I did not and informed them that IRS doesn’t call and hung up, later told my brother about this and he called the number, ( he’s a jokester) They actually told him to wait a minute while they get “his file” then came back on and started the whole line with him, he played along for awhile, had a great time, then he asked them for a number or address as he was not going to purchase an itune card, which they did not give, they asked for his social security number, excuse me, my record from the IRS is right in front of you and you don’t know my SS number? LMAO these guys are just lower then dirt preying on folks, gesh! Never ever EVER give out social security number, bank infor nor purchase an itunes card or green card for anyone unless you mean it as a gift, they are scammers! This coming from the older generation, my generation has become to trusting unfortunately, that’s why they seem to be easy targets, Please folks IRS will not call, they will not ask you for information like social security number or bank account.

  12. What if your payee claims your account was frozen due to suspected fraud and was told by the agent that she needs to hold all moneys until the fraud is investigated? I know now that my account was never frozen. So was my payee scammed or is she the scammer. And if she scammed me how do I press charges and get my money?

    • Law requires payees to use benefits properly.

      If benefits are misused, the payee must repay the misused funds to the beneficiary. A payee convicted of misuse may be fined and/or imprisoned.

      If you feel that benefits are being misappropriated, the Social Security Administration considers reports of fraud very seriously. The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) investigates instances of Social Security-related fraud, waste, and program abuse. You may report instances of potential fraud directly to OIG by one of the following methods:

      — call toll-free: 1-800-269-0271

      — send a FAX to 410-597-0118

      — send Internet E-mail to

      oig.hotline@ssa.gov

      — write to

      Social Security Administration

      OIG Hotline
      P.O. Box 17768
      Baltimore, Maryland 21235

      Be sure to include as much of the following information as you can:

      — name, address, telephone number, and Social Security number (SSN) of the person suspected of fraud. If the SSN is unknown, include as much identifying information as possible, for example, the individual’s date and place of birth, father’s name, and mother’s birth name;

      — a complete description of the potential fraud incident;

      — your name, address, and telephone number (unless you wish to remain anonymous).

      Without sufficient identifying information, OIG will be unable to act on your allegation.

      • Thank you for sharing this information, Jeff. We just want to remind our followers that for official information and announcements related to Social Security benefits or programs, they can go directly to our website: http://www.socialsecurity.gov. Also, to keep in mind that all announcement and answers that we provide through social media, contain our official seal. You’re right, we take allegations of fraud very seriously. If you suspect fraud, waste or abuse of Social Security benefits, we encourage you to report it. Please visit our Office of the Inspector General web page for complete information.

  13. Is this the reason why that after a re-determination review that the SSA office that done your review now mails out certified, restricted deliveries?

  14. Hello all,
    I have not lost money or given out personal information, but I do want to share how a couple of scammers tried to get money from me. The first call I received was an automated voice message that informed me I was going to be sued for non-payment of student loans. I had to laugh because my student loans were paid off back in the seventies.
    The next call I received was telling me that an arrest warrant has been issued that is non-negotiable, for money I owe to the IRS. My response was bring it on.
    I am not susceptible to scams, but years ago we did receive a call from our local Social Security Office that we owed them approximately $10,000. We got in the car and went right to the office and it was a legitimate claim do to the fact that when my step-son came to live with us his Mother kept his share of her SS disability. When they learned that we never received one cent from her, they informed us that we could sue her for what should have come to us, however we choose not to do that and also informed SSA that she could keep the money. We did not want it. They said that was not possible, we had to take the money. So we gave it to our boy and taught him how to budget his money.
    The sad thing is that my husband’s sister fell for a scam and lost $1,000 dollars. So these are my experiences with scammers. People need to also be aware of people who call and say your computer has a virus or severel and for a certain amount of money they can fix it from where they are now. Shame on all of them, the pukes.

  15. i think people scum that still on social security fraud are not title to cash ,they need prison cell and i mail changed based on social security fraud need to pay back .i got to changed mail on brother law enforcement it criminal.

  16. The first time I got one of those calls from “Internal Revenue Services” I was startled and angry. It was a live caller. And I knew I owed nothing to nobody! I was ready for a fist fight. Now we just get recorded messages, and quite frequently, but sometimes call back to mess with them. My daughter called one back and actively discounted the things the guy said to try to intimidate her and they ultimately had a nice conversation when he honestly described the operation and even suggested that she might like to join them. Of course she said that it was an unethical line of work that she wouldn’t participate in. We found that to be quite interesting. In any case, if you just want to give some money away, hard earned or not, you can give it to me.

    I’ve known of intelligent people who have fallen for telephone extortion schemes but if you are that easily frightened, illiterate, or infirm, get caller ID on your phone and only answer calls from numbers you recognize! The warnings against this activity are in the news media all the time and it’s easy to find information about it on the IRS site. But if you think that the U.S. Govt collects debt in iTunes cards then there is probably no hope for you.

  17. I just filled out a very detailed questionnaire with personal information at benefits.gov. Is this legitimate? I got the link from the bottom of a ssa.gov window so I thought it must be. I did want to check though as I find myself fielding fake calls more and more. I am ashamed to say I believe I was taken in for a sum I didn’t verify when I didn’t feel well one day. I’m still not sure who I paid.
    Thanks!
    Helen

    • Hi Helen. Only official U.S. government websites will have addresses that end in “.gov.” If a person has questions about any communication —email, letter, text or phone call— that claims to be from SSA, please call Social Security’s toll-free customer service number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY number at 1-800-325-0778) to verify its legitimacy. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thanks.

  18. I received 2 phone calls this morning – November 21, 2017 from a Alice Jones advising my social security number will be closed. I was told to call 667-401-7426. I did not call this number as I believe it is obviously a SCAM. Will you please tell me how to handle this matter going forward?

    • Hello Beatrice. Please be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls, or email messages. If an unknown individual claims to be from a legitimate organization, try to verify his or her identity directly with the company. Avoid providing personal information unless you are certain of a person’s authority to have the information. In a few instances, we will use marketing firms to help raise awareness of Social Security’s online services, and this includes creating a my Social Security account. We allow these firms to send E-mails that will take individuals directly to our website. Any links that you find within these E-mails should always point to a “.gov” web address. If you are not certain that an E-mail you received came from Social Security or one of our marketing partners, DO NOT click the link. Visit our “Internet Phishing Alert” web page to learn more about how to detect a fraudulent E-mail message. We hope this information helps!

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