Frauds & Scams

Social Security is Taking Action to Prevent Scam Calls

March 6, 2020 • By

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Last Updated: March 6, 2020

Social Security phone scams are the number one type of fraud reported to the Federal Trade Commission.  Callers claim that you have a problem with your Social Security number or benefits and demand immediate payment from you to avoid arrest or other legal action.

We recently announced two landmark civil complaints, filed by the Department of Justice in the Eastern District of New York, seeking injunctions against five telecommunications companies and their owners.  The complaints allege the companies and their owners have, for years, knowingly facilitated government imposter telephone scams.  The Department of Justice issued a news release about the filing and request for court orders, and held a press call with U.S. Attorney Richard Donaghue, Inspector General Gail S. Ennis, and Chief Postal Inspector Gary Barksdale.

If granted, the court orders will prevent the five enjoined companies from continuing to allow “the delivery of millions of fraudulent ‘robocalls’ every day from foreign call centers to the U.S. telecommunications system.”

You can read the entire press release at

If you receive a call or email about a problem with your Social Security number or account that you believe to be suspicious, hang up or do not respond.  We encourage you to report Social Security phone scams using our dedicated online form at  Please share this information with your friends and family to help them learn how to protect themselves from phone scams.  For more information, please visit


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About the Author

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

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


  1. Mick

    So if I understood you correctly If my wife collects social security now on my earnings and I die before her full retirement age my benefit would cease and her benefit would cease also. She then has the option of getting no social security at all until full retirement age and the apply and get full survivor benefits or apply at the time of my death for a reduced survivor benefit. Would this be the same situation if she applied now for her benefit based on her earnings which are far lower than mine rather on her benefit based on my earnings. Thanks for your patience.

  2. Mick

    I appreciate your help and am looking forward to your response.

  3. Mick

    So ok, How do they hold off if it automatically switches over from the reduced benefit for filing early to the reduced survivor benefit. I have read several places that it switches automatically. My most important concern is that my wive gets the full survival benefit for the rest of her life. I don’t want to do anything to disrupt that.

  4. Mick

    Still confused. This did not answer my question. I cannot find the answer anywhere. If my wife files early for SS benefit I understand completely that she will get the highest amount of her working benefit or a portion of 50% that I receive as she is collecting before her full retirement age. However, If she does this and I die before she is full retirement age can she stop her benefit from automatically switching to a survivor benefit which is higher but a reduced rate because she is not at full retirement age. Can she stop this from switching over and continue getting her reduced benefit and then file for a survivor benefit at full retirement age.

  5. Mick

    Still confused. So if my wife files now on my benefit which is higher and I die before her full retirement age can she stop her benefit from switching automatically as it does to a higher survivor benefit and just keep getting the reduced benefit for filing early and wait until her full retirement age to collect the full survivor benefit?

    • V.V.

      Hi Mick. When someone is entitled to spouse’s benefits and we receive notice that the worker died, both benefits are terminated. We will then convert the spouse’s benefit to a widow(er)’s benefit if the widow(er) is full retirement age (FRA) or older. If the widow(er) is under full retirement age, they would need to elect to receive reduced benefits or they can hold off until their full retirement age to receive the full widow(er)s benefit. Hopefully this helps.

  6. Mick

    I filed and get SS after filing at full retirement age. My wife born September 1956 is thinking about filing for SS. Currently she could get $650.00 on her own work record and $950 on mine. Can she collect one of these benefits and if I should die before she reaches full retirement age not automatically switch to a reduced survivor benefit and instead wait until she reaches her full retirement to file for the survivor benefit and get the full amount. Or will she never get the full survivor benefit because she collected a reduced benefit because she collected before full retirement age. Or does she have to stop or suspend her benefit If I die before her full retirement age and wait until full retirement age to get the full retirement benefit. We want to insure that she can get the full survivor benefit at her full retirement and not less because she file early for other benefits. I can not find this answer anywhere. My wife went to file online and apparently it said that she would get the larger amount of her work record or based on my work record and could not choose her own earnings. not sure how that works. very confused. Please help

    • V.V.

      Hi Mick. Thank you for using our blog to ask your questions. Your wife can file for her own retirement benefits whenever she chooses as we will always pay a person’s own retirement benefit first. When she files for retirement, we will also check into additional spouse’s benefits. If her benefits as a spouse are higher than her own retirement benefits, she will get a combination of benefits equaling the higher spouse benefit. However, keep in mind that she is only going to receive additional spouse’s benefits if her own full retirement benefit (not the reduced amount that she may be receiving) is less than half of your full retirement benefit (not the reduced amount that you may be receiving). Check out our Frequently Asked Questions web page for details on how to apply for benefits.

      Typically, a widow or widower at full (survivors) retirement age or older generally receives 100% of the deceased worker’s amount. A widow or widower under full retirement age receives about 71 to 99 percent of the worker’s benefit amount, and a widow or widower with a child younger than age 16 receives 75 percent of the worker’s benefit amount. For more information about how much your benefit would be, visit our Survivors Planner. We hope this helps!

  7. David S.

    I have been appointed of two months to process my SSN
    and well pleased. Good Job.

  8. Guest U.


    • ST S.

      This is not a good place to reveal personal information. Nor is it a place to get personal assistance.

    • V.V.

      Hi. Where possible, we are suspending our processing and collection of overpayments. You can call your local office’s General Inquiry (GI) line for dire situations. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. You can also call our national toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. For more information, please visit our Social Security and Coronavirus (COVID-19) web page. We hope this helps!

  9. Alfred R.

    Yesterday I got a phone call from UNKNOWN, which I didn’t answer the recorded message indicating that I was being investigated by three government agencies, The Federal Trade Commission, The Better Business Bureau, and The Financial Crime Investigation Network, indicating that this could be ID theft. I was to call an SS administrative officer pressing one (1) on my phone now. Of course I didn’t do it, and have filed a report with SS, which I believe was forwarded to the Inspector General.

  10. mustafa

    • Ben R.


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