COVID-19, Frauds & Scams, General

Social Security and AARP Work to Slam the Scam

June 22, 2020 • By

Last Updated: March 17, 2021

AARP is helping SSA and its Office of the Inspector General warn you about scammers using Social Security in coronavirus (COVID-19) scams. AARP has a new webinar available for free (registration required), advising the public that scammers’ tactics continue to evolve, and they are now using coronavirus to try to scare us. Don’t be fooled!

Scammers may contact you by phone, letter, text, or email impersonating government officials to trick you into providing money or personal information. They may tell you Social Security is going to stop your benefits because its offices are closed, or ask you to pay a fee to receive extra benefits due to the pandemic. Scammers may even pose as COVID-19 contact tracers working to stop the spread of the virus and ask for payment or your Social Security Number. Don’t be fooled!

Social Security and other government agencies will never:

  • Call you to request information or payment due to coronavirus or office closures.
  • Threaten to arrest you because of an identity theft problem.
  • Require you to put money into a protected account.
  • Ask you for payment by gift card, wire transfer, internet currency, or by mailing cash.
  • Tell you to make up a story to tell your family or bank employees about why you need gift cards or cash.

Social Security continues to pay benefits during the pandemic. Social Security has closed offices to the public to follow social distancing guidelines, but its employees are still hard at work. If you have questions about how the coronavirus has affected Social Security services, visit its Coronavirus (COVID-19) website.

If you receive a suspicious call or communication, do not call the number they give you.  Don’t respond in any way. Ignore the message, never click the link, and hang up the phone without providing any information or even giving your name.  To report a Social Security scam, contact the Office of the Inspector General. Share this information with your loved ones, and help us “slam the scam”!


Tags: ,

See Comments

About the Author

About Tracy Lynge, Communications Director for the Office of the Inspector General

Comments

  1. Jo E.

    Thank you. I have two different individuals contact me regarding my social security number in the last ten days. I hung up on both of them without giving them any information. The second individual was persistent and called me back telling me that I would go to jail if I did not give him what he wanted, I hung up on him again. He has not called back since.

    • Vonda V.

      Thanks for letting us know, Jo Ellen. 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.

  2. Thomas P.

    Can people who receive disability social security qualify for pandemic for the allowed money they can make monthly without messing up their normal benefits since the pandemic also made them unable as well as the unemployed unable to work

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Thomas, thank you for your question. If receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you do need to report all of your income, including unearned income such as unemployment. Please note that we will not consider economic impact payments as income for SSI recipients, and the payments are excluded from resources for 12 months.

      Unemployment benefits do not affect or reduce Social Security retirement and disability benefits. State unemployment compensation payments are not wages because they are paid due to unemployment rather than employment. However, income from Social Security may reduce unemployment compensation. Contact your state unemployment office for information on how your state applies the reduction.

  3. Judith K.

    I had part of my 2019 Income Taxes done at Indio Senior Community Center in California with AARP. My appointment was stopped as the man in charge (Chuck) had to leave for San Diego. I was told to bring my taxes back the next week. The conavorviris then closed up the Indio Senior Community Center. I am unable to contact anyone to complete my taxes.
    Please advise,
    Judith Killian

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Judith, thanks for using our blog. For taxation inquiries, please contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at http://www.irs.gov or by calling their toll-free number at 1-800-829-1040. Thanks!

  4. benjamin c.

    I keep getting calls from 407-632-4876 r: benefits on medicare that I’m not aware. I don’t respond but I’m just forwarding the phone number for investigation. Thank you

    • Vonda V.

      Thanks for letting us know, Benjamin. 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.

  5. Robert F.

    Thank you for the valuable information

  6. Rhonda G.

    Please How do I get a job? I Need a work from home job. Please I need help finding a work from home real job!

    • Vonda V.

      Hello Rhonda. The Ticket to Work program provides Social Security disability beneficiaries who want to work with access to free employment support services. Please check it out!

  7. Gail G.

    I’m surprised SSA would accept assistance from AARP in view of their political positions and recommendations to members. I appreciate SSA but will never join AARP.

    • Dee R.

      I have been a member of the AARP for years, and have never received a political recommendation from the organization on anything. It is wise for organizations such as SSA and AARP to collaborate to keep citizens apprised of potential scams. Get your facts straight before spreading misinformation.

  8. Irene B.

    Thank you 🙂 ,
    – Irene.

  9. Chris C.

    Why would my fiance want the address of my bank?
    I’ve only spoken to her online!!

    • Susan

      Did you ask her? Maybe she is part of a scam?

  10. Lu N.

    Thanks!

Comments are closed.