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

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