Frauds & Scams

SSA Inspector General: New Tactics for Government Imposters

April 27, 2021 • By

Last Updated: August 19, 2021

A woman using a cellphone Last month, we partnered with our Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the annual National “Slam the Scam” Day to help you learn how to identify and avoid government imposter scams. These scams are widespread across the United States and often involve Social Security number-related issues. Scammers’ tactics continue to evolve.

Most recently, the OIG has received reports of phone scammers creating fake versions of the identification badges most Federal employees use to gain access to Federal buildings. The scammers may text or email photos of the fake badges to convince potential victims of their legitimacy. These badges use government symbols, words, and even names and photos of real people, which are available on government websites or through internet searches.

If you receive a suspicious letter, text, call or email, hang up or do not respond. You should know how to identify when a call is really coming from Social Security. We will NEVER:

  • Text or email images of an employee’s official government identification.
  • Suspend your Social Security number.
  • Threaten you with arrest or other legal action unless you immediately pay a fine or fee.
  • Require payment by retail gift card, wire transfer, internet currency, or mailing cash.
  • Promise a benefit increase or other assistance in exchange for payment.
  • Send official letters or reports containing your personal information via email.

We only send text messages if you have opted in to receive texts from us and only in limited situations, including the following:

  • When you have subscribed to receive updates and notifications by text.
  • As part of our enhanced security when accessing your personal my Social Security account.

If you owe money to us, we’ll mail you a letter with payment options and appeal rights.

Inspector General, Gail S. Ennis, encourages you to report Social Security scams or fraud to the OIG’s website. You can watch the video below to learn more. Please share this information with your friends and family to help us “Slam the Scam” every day.


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About the Author

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

Comments

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  1. Dovie A.

    Let’s talk about fraud and scam’s shall we. Let’s tell these kind folks about “Direct Express” who the social security administration swears are god gifts to direct deposit when in fact several and I mean several have been scammed including myself because on 9/1/2021 when I was supposed to receive my regular SSI payment guess what that direct express card is shut down knowing the card don’t expire until 2024 and I proceed to call the number on back of the card and listen to everything they say and follow everything they say to do and then I’m placed on hold for a “Fraud” representative for 5 straight hours and when someone finally answered I was greeted by a person who was not from the united states now this is the 1-888-741-1115 number and he proceeded to ask If I could hold on the line I finally got through on just so he could call my cell number I asked why when I was done on the home phone with him and guess what I get hung up on. I then call the social security administration only to be told they released the funds and are not responsible, I know have a family hungry and bills unpaid.

    Reply
    • Patty

      Hi Dovie. We are sorry to hear about issues you are experiencing. We can only advise you in regards to your Direct Express debit card. Please contact Direct Express Customer Service at 1-888-741-1115. If that’s the number you already called, and you are still having problems, you can log into your card account at https://directexpress.mycardplace.com/ or you can call their toll-free number listed on the website for assistance. We hope this helps.

      Reply
  2. J. H.

    SSA Commissioner Andrew Saul and the SSA staff are not giving any statements on the fraud and severe Identity Theft that we are being victimized by between the SSA and EDD.

    There are fraudulent claims being made by criminals (and possibly SSA and EDD staff who we can see are being indicted) to the EDD with illegal use of our SSA information and our disability funds are being illegally delayed and withheld. The SSA is also mailing out documents with severely incorrect and fraudulent information, including incorrect and fraudulent residential addresses in the body of their letters that us victims have never lived at nor notified the SSA nor the EDD about. The SSA is also trying to falsely accuse us innocent disabled victims of these crimes, and also illegally delay and withhold our disability funds. These severe criminal complex Identity Theft crimes are happening to several of us who are innocent and the agencies are blaming each other and are also illegally sending the fraudulent residential information to our medical insurance companies and other agencies to illegally indicate a fraudulent residential address and the receipt of funds from EDD by way of fraudulent EDD claims, and where on the SSA and IRS data and computer systems there is $0.00 as the employment earnings amount.

    I have contacted several law enforcement and other agencies including the OIG, FBI, FTC, IRS, FTB, DMV, United States Postal Police, United States Postal Inspectors, local police departments, police departments handling the fraudulent residential address that the SSA is illegally indicating (which is out of the jurisdiction of my actual residential address), Sheriffs Department, Detective Bureau, and other high ranking law enforcement, and they are all blaming the SSA and EDD.

    The IRS, Board of Equalization, and high ranking law enforcement had already notified me years ago and confirmed that criminals were illegally trying to use my information in severe criminal complex Identity Theft crimes that the FTB was illegally trying to falsely accuse me of which was a severely illegal IRS tax filing when I was deemed disabled and not employed, so I report it immediately when it starts to happen again.

    I am finally receiving my funds back on schedule from the SSA and have received some of the guaranteed stimulus and economic impact payments.

    The SSA needs to stop illegally delaying and withholding our disability funds and especially when we have proof from our doctors and medical staff of our ailments and disabilities whether they are temporary or permanent. Staff of agencies including those who call themselves “Case Managers”, “Social Workers”, and “Housing Case Managers” are also illegally causing the SSA to illegally decrease, delay, and withhold our disability funds due to their own incompetence and ignorance on how to truly assist us. Many of these “Case Managers”, “Housing Case Managers”, and “Social Workers” do not know how to use approved housing vouchers for their clients and instead illegally prolong their work time and then also illegally report false information to agencies such as the SSA. These agencies, with the inclusion of DPSS are not suppose to be so fragmented and are not suppose to do this illegal work as to illegally cause degradation, repeat crime victimization, theft, assault, severe loss, severe criminal complex Identity Theft, severe housing displacement, and destitution towards the innocent disabled, and especially those of us who have been deemed disabled and have no association with illegal drugs (including any forms of Cannabis) and no criminal activity and behavior.

    All of these agencies are suppose to work together for the greater good of the human being, no matter what these criminals and criminal staff are illegally typing into their computer systems. JH (IT Industry Professional)

    Reply
  3. shaziiii

    How do I know the phone number is a social security phone number?
    Is there a list of legit SSA phone numbers somewhere? I have been unable to find the phone number in SSA websites so far.
    Apkhutt

    Reply
    • Patty

      Thanks for using our blog to ask your question. Unfortunately, we do not have a list of all of the possible phone numbers that Social Security uses. However, you can find your local office phone number at our Social Security Office locator or call our national toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213. Please note that we generally do not contact you unless you have requested a call or have ongoing business with us. If you receive a suspicious call: 1) Hang up. 2) Do not give out any personal information. 3) Report suspicious calls at oig.ssa.gov. For more information on how to protect yourself, check out our Frequently Asked Questions. We hope this helps!

      Reply
  4. amelia

    It’s been really beneficial to me. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. with regard to
    Apkhert

    Reply
  5. ارز .

    How do I report elder abuse by a relative being perpetrated on my friend in a nursing home. She is 97-98 and has been there since having hip surgery Dec. 20, 2019. Did well, but when the Covid hit, she wasn’t allowed to leave. She had a phone and looked forward to talking to her friends. Then, her granddaughter took her phone away! Another friend gave her another one. Granddaughter took it away. And, then, another one! Unbelievably, she is still alive. I know she hates it there. How is this not elder abuse? Not being allowed to talk to her friends? I’ve known her for 30 years. Last time we were able to talk, she was still very alert.
    ارز دیجیتال

    Reply
    • Diana V.

      Hi Celia, thank you for using our blog. We are sorry to hear about your friend’s situation. For information on how you can help, please visit the National Center on Elder Abuse webpage for resources on how you may report suspected abuse. We hope this helps.

      Reply
  6. Scott M.

    How do I know an e-mail is actually from the SSA?

    My wife received an e-mail asking me call a phone number and and divulge my social security number.
    How do I know the phone number is a social security phone number?
    Is there a list of legit SSA phone numbers somewhere? I have been unable to find the phone number in SSA websites so far.

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Hi Scott, thanks for checking in with us. Generally, we will only contact someone if they have requested a call or have ongoing business with us. If your wife recently applied for Social Security benefits, we may need to speak to you about potential benefits. To see if Social Security did send that email, you would need to call your local office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

      Reply
    • EARLENE K.

      I HAD AN IMPOSTER FILE MY SSA DÍSABILITY CLAIM WITH AN ATTORNEY In Wisconsin, TABAC LAW, JIM BENZ (?) Who has without my consent a. Laim (denied)
      EARLENE KAY McCAIN
      3355 E. CERNWOOD RD, A PT.1102,NEWBERG OR 97132
      (503) 702- 6016

      Reply
      • Earlene K.

        OOPS! CLAIM. I NEVER SPOKE WITH HIM HE IS ALLEGED UNAUTHORIed ”payee* PLEASE HELP ME STOP I. D. THEFT. I AM ON SEC 8 HOUSING AND HAVE NO INCOME. NOT DISABLED JUST INNURED.
        EARLENE McCAIN

        Reply
  7. Celia H.

    How do I report elder abuse by a relative being perpetrated on my friend in a nursing home. She is 97-98 and has been there since having hip surgery Dec. 20, 2019. Did well, but when the Covid hit, she wasn’t allowed to leave. She had a phone and looked forward to talking to her friends. Then, her granddaughter took her phone away! Another friend gave her another one. Granddaughter took it away. And, then, another one! Unbelievably, she is still alive. I know she hates it there. How is this not elder abuse? Not being allowed to talk to her friends? I’ve known her for 30 years. Last time we were able to talk, she was still very alert.

    Reply
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  10. John D.

    It’s been really beneficial to me. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. with regard to
    Fair Oaks Home Care

    Reply

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