Fraud Advisory: Inspector General Warns Public About “Spoofed” OIG Media Line Calls

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 15, 2019
 

The Inspector General of Social Security, Gail S. Ennis, is warning the public that government imposters are “spoofing” Social Security Office of Inspector General (OIG) phone numbers to appear on caller ID, lending legitimacy to scam phone calls in which they demand payment of fines or fees from public citizens. 

Social Security OIG is receiving many reports of scam calls made from (410) 965-2671, which is used to receive press inquiries about OIG audits and investigations. The OIG will never contact public citizens from this number for any reason. If you see this number on caller ID, you should hang up or ignore the call.    

Government imposter phone scams are continuing to be widespread throughout the United States. Scammers using the good name of Social Security to mislead victims may use a variety of tactics, often stating that there is a problem with your Social Security number, and you must pay a fine or fee to resolve the problem or you may be arrested. They may demand payment through gift cards, pre-paid debit cards, wire transfers, or cash; or they may ask for your bank account information over the phone. 

If you receive this type of call, you should not engage with the caller or provide personal information or money in response to requests or threats. Government agencies will never threaten you with arrest for nonpayment of fines or fees, and they do not ask for payments by gift card, pre-paid debit card, wire transfer, or cash. In those cases, the call is fraudulent, and you should just hang up. 

“Unfortunately, scammers continue to use official government phone numbers to mislead the public,” Inspector General Ennis said. “We are working collaboratively with other agencies to combat these scams and increase public awareness. Help us by telling your family and friends about these scams.” 

Inspector General Ennis also urged continued vigilance against all types of phone scams. You should never provide sensitive information over the phone or internet unless you are certain of who is receiving it; and never pay a government fee using gift cards, pre-paid debit cards, wire transfers, or cash. 

If you receive a suspicious call, you may report that information to Social Security OIG online at https://oig.ssa.gov. You can also report these scams to the Federal Trade Commission through a new site specific to Social Security scams:  https://identitytheft.gov/ssa.

For more information, please visit https://oig.ssa.gov/newsroom/scam-awareness. Members of the press may make inquiries at (410) 965-2671.