FRAUD ADVISORY: Inspector General Warns Public About Ongoing SSA Impersonation Schemes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 17, 2018
 
The Acting Inspector General of Social Security, Gale Stallworth Stone, is warning citizens about ongoing Social Security Administration (SSA) employee impersonation schemes.  The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which receives and analyzes public complaints related to identity theft, recently reported to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) an increase in reports of suspicious phone calls from people claiming to be SSA employees.  According to the FTC, the current schemes involve a caller identifying as an SSA employee and claiming an issue exists with the citizen’s online account; the caller claims the citizen can resolve the issue either over the phone or through an imposter SSA website.
 
The FTC information follows several public alerts from the OIG in 2017 about government impersonation schemes.  The OIG previously warned citizens about an OIG employee impersonation scheme and a version of the ongoing SSA employee impersonation scheme.  In each case, the caller reportedly uses a fake name and government affiliation and tries to obtain a citizen’s personal information or money.
 
SSA employees occasionally contact citizens by telephone for customer-service purposes.  In only a few limited special situations, usually already known to the citizen, an SSA employee may request the citizen confirm personal information over the phone.  If a person receives a suspicious call from someone alleging to be from SSA, citizens may report that information to the OIG at 1-800-269-0271 or online via https://oig.ssa.gov/report.
 
Acting Inspector General Stone continues to warn citizens to be cautious, and to avoid providing information such as your SSN or bank account numbers to unknown persons over the phone or internet unless you are certain of who is receiving it.  “You must be very confident that the source is the correct business party, and your information will be secure after you release it,” Stone said.
 
If a person has questions about any communication—email, letter, text or phone call—that claims to be from SSA or the OIG, please contact your local Social Security office, or call Social Security’s toll-free customer service number at 1-800-772-1213, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, to verify its legitimacy.  (Those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can call Social Security’s TTY number at 1-800-325-0778.
 
For more information, please visit the OIG's Scam Awareness page or contact Andrew Cannarsa, OIG’s Communications Director, at (410) 965-2671.