Frauds & Scams, Social Security Number and Card

Slam the Scam: How to Spot Government Imposters

March 9, 2022 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: March 9, 2022

senior couple checking laptopDo you know how to spot a government imposter scam?

That’s the question we’re asking as part of our annual Slam the Scam Day on Thursday, March 10, 2022. Scammers continue to evolve and find new ways to steal your money and personal information. On Slam the Scam Day and throughout the year, we raise awareness about Social Security-related scams and other government imposter scams. We want you to know how you and your loved ones can avoid becoming victims!

There are common elements to many of these scams. Scammers often exploit fears, threatening you with arrest or legal action. Scammers also pose as Social Security or other government employees and claim there’s a problem with your Social Security number (SSN) or your benefits. They may even claim your SSN is linked to a crime.

When you identify a potential scammer:

  1. Hang up right away or ignore the message.
  2. Never give personal information or money.
  3. Report the scam immediately to our Office of the Inspector General.

If you owe money to Social Security, we’ll mail you a letter with payment options and appeal rights. We only accept payments electronically through, Online Bill Pay, or physically by check or money order through our offices. We will never:

  • Threaten you with arrest or legal action because you don’t agree to pay us money immediately.
  • Promise a benefit increase in exchange for money.
  • Ask you to send us gift cards, prepaid debit cards, wire transfers, Internet currency, cryptocurrency, or cash through the U.S. mail.

Help protect your loved ones and people in your community this Slam the Scam Day. You can:

  • Educate your friends and family about government imposter scams. Let them know they don’t have to be embarrassed to report if they shared personal financial information or suffered a financial loss. The important thing is to report the scam right away.
  • Share our Scam Alert factsheet and Fraud Prevention and Reporting webpage to educate people on how to protect themselves.

Please help us spread the message to make sure no one else falls victim to these criminals. Together, we can “Slam the Scam!” on March 10 and beyond.

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About the Author

Dawn Bystry, Associate Commissioner, Office of Strategic and Digital Communications

Deputy Associate Commissioner, Office of Strategic and Digital Communications


  1. Lisa L.

    I receive d a letter from the Department of the Treasury Bureau of the Fiscal service from Birmingham, AL Stating I owe the US Government $#### they have a treasury code & agency code. They is social security taxes I owe. I retired in 2021 How do I know if this is a scam or not. I am thinking it’s a scam Then if I pay I send payments to US Department of the Treasury P.O. Box in St Louis, MO

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Lisa. Thanks for visiting our blog. You should contact the Department of Treasury to determine if the letter is legitimate. We hope this helps. 

  2. Olivia B.

    I was scammed by people who say they work for OASI. You apply online for a grant, if you qualify they congratulate and tell you qualify. You give your name and address a d email, and phone number. They don’t ask for social number. Then they tell you you have to pay a fee ($550). They tell you to go to Walgreens or CVS to get a Vanilla gift card and, First I did pay the $550 thru Zelle to this email they give you a made up name. Then later you pay $300 for FedEx pay them which they never came, they tell you take picture of the and front and back and of vanilla card. Then I had to pay another amount thy asked for 1570. I did not have but a friend paid half and I paid small amount. Then they tell you have to pay a Stamp fee which they asked for 350. I did not pay, I told them I am not paying anymore money. I have not heard from them. I know about OASI but I don’t think this how they operate, unless there are some people in the agency doing on the side. I was suppose to get 135,000 check. This money probably from were people work hard thru their social security and money for disability. A friend she got a check but she paid what they wanted. Not no more money from me, I probably won’t get my money back, bit I don’t feel pressured since I told them I was not giving them no more money. I asked the Lord to forgive me for even getting involved in this. Always seek God first for everything don’t disobedient. I probably left something out, it was not a good feeling and now I see how these people work.I will start reading more about these scammers. I am a government worker. If I can’t a grant the right way, I don’t need it. Wrong is wrong. Thank you for allowing me to share.

  3. Jeff R.

    It’s amazing how sophisticated scammers have become in swindling people out of their sensitive information.

  4. Adrienne

    I had a scammer call and tell me that my social security was not correct and that I must pay $5000 to fix it. I hung up and blocked the phone number.

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