Frauds & Scams, Office of the Inspector General

SSA Inspector General: New Tactics for Government Imposters

April 27, 2021 • By

Last Updated: April 27, 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

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

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

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  1. Celia Hedges

    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.

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