Frauds & Scams

Scams Come In Many Different Forms

August 15, 2019 • By

Last Updated: July 16, 2021

" "Social Security is at the forefront of keeping your online data secure, but you play a vital role in safeguarding your personal information too.

Scammers commonly target people who are looking for Social Security program and benefit information. You might receive an advertisement in the mail, but it could be from a private company or even a scammer. U.S. law prohibits people and businesses from using words or emblems that mislead others. Their advertising can’t lead people to believe that they represent, are somehow affiliated with, or endorsed or approved by Social Security or the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (Medicare).

If you receive misleading information about Social Security, send the complete advertisement, including the envelope it came in, to:

Office of the Inspector General Fraud Hotline
Social Security Administration
P.O. Box 17768
Baltimore, MD 21235

Scams can also happen online. A growing tactic for scammers is to use online dating sites. According to the United States Postal Inspection Service’s recent messaging, before starting an internet-based relationship, we should always keep our personal details to ourselves until you meet face-to-face. Next, do an internet search of the other person’s name and the town they claim to be living in.

Here are indications that someone may not be who they say they are:

  • A mismatch between their name and the name embedded in their email address.
  • There are obvious spelling and grammar errors.
  • They asked if you would send or receive money/packages on someone else’s behalf.
  • They need money right away due to a medical emergency, or they need a visa or air tickets. Or, a business opportunity arose that was too good to turn down. Can you wire a loan?

If anyone asks for your Social Security number, never give it to them. And if they are specifically pretending to be from Social Security, please report the information to the Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online.

Protecting your information is an important part of Social Security’s mission. You work hard and make a conscious effort to save and plan for retirement. For more information, please visit the Office of the Inspector General’s website.

See Comments

About the Author

Mike Korbey, Deputy Commissioner for Communications


  1. SD T.

    This never ending stream of intrusive and annoying robocalls and social security scams further underscores the need to only answer calls where you can clearly see who it is on caller ID, and when you clearly know that person. Not just a company name, because the scammers are known to spoof caller ID with legitimate names like “Social Security” and the like. Say what you want about other privacy issues with Google, but I do like the Google Voice service because it’s a separate phone number you can link to your regular phone number where it’ll basically pre-screen your calls so you can hear who it is when the person identifies themselves. If the call doesn’t clearly show a recognized caller ID, or the caller doesn’t want to state who is calling to Google Voice, then they can still leave a message, but it’s my choice whether to do anthing. In most cases, I just ignore them, block the number and tag their call as Spam.

  2. Michael W.

    I get telephone calls claiming to be from Social Security and stating that my SSN has been frozen due to some misuse. This is something that you didn’t cover in your article and needs to be addressed. I know that Social Security does not operate in that manner but others may not realize that fact. Thank you for sharing this information.

  3. Yvonne c.

    These calls come in to my line in clusters. One day I had seven of them telling me my SS# had been compromised. I don’t talk to these callers and I hang up on them.
    It would be a wonderful day if these scams could be shut down.

  4. Gail O.

    I have received two phone calls on cell phone, that my SS
    is being held due to misuse of my SS number and to press
    1 to talke to a SS Representative. I didn’t press 1. I’m sure this is a scam wanting your information, it was a recorded

  5. Kish

    My ex-wife stole my daughter’s SSD from my account. I reported it to the office inspector general and local office in Greensboro NC 2014. Nothing was done. This apparatus needs to be restructured. It’s to femanin biased..

  6. Lucille V.

    Dear LUCILLE:

    On 08/15/2019 we received your request to deactivate your online account at This change will take place immediately.

    If you did not make this request, call us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213. We treat all calls confidentially. We can answer specific questions from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Generally, you will have a shorter wait time if you call during the week after Tuesday. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you may call our TTY number, 1-800-325-0778.
    Is this a scam??
    Thank you for using the Social Security Administration’s services at online.

    Please do not reply to this email, as we are unable to respond to messages sent to this address.

  7. Phyllis R.

    Before reading the article, a popup appeared with the following 3 options.
    1. Create an SS account
    2. Subscribe
    3. Retirement Calculator

    I selected 3 and then it requested my SS # however it did not hide my SS # as I put it in.
    Then I read the article and felt like I had been scammed. When entering you SS # I think the system should not display your full SS # on th input screen only the last four or not at all.
    So let me know if this was a scam or fix your input screen to not display full SS #!

  8. Wendy F.

    WOW… tut tut Social Security. I can’t read this, gray tiny font, Uggg! (especiallly with your aging audience),

    • MJ

      Wendy, You might do well to have an eye exam. I started having problems w/ small print and a checkup shows there is an eye issue that needs tending to. Better a small surgery now than blind eye later. I see thiis print quite well with the good eye. Nearly impossible to read w/ only the other one.

  9. franki b.

    Thank you. I reported several different times, calls supposedly, made from the Social security administration. Found out they were scams. After I was stressed out about them!

  10. william B.

    I would like to know when I’ll be able to get retirement

Comments are closed.