Scam Awareness

Please report Social Security-related scams here.

COVID-19 Scams

SSA OIG is aware of COVID-19 scams involving Social Security. We will continue to monitor and provide updates on these scams. We recently issued a fraud advisory warning the public that SSA will not suspend or discontinue Social Security payments as a result of COVID-19 office closures:

March 20: Inspector General Warns Public About New Social Security Benefit Suspension Scam

Scammers may also offer a benefit increase due to COVID-19. We urge you to be very cautious of any unsolicited calls, letters, emails, or texts offering a benefit increase. Social Security will never offer a benefit increase in exchange for payment.  

Links to Agency Coronavirus Pages

Social Security Administration

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

USA.gov

Health & Humans Services OIG COVID-19 Portal

Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA)

Scam Awareness

The Inspector General of Social Security, Gail S. Ennis, continues to warn Americans about widespread phone scams where callers may impersonate Social Security or claim a Social Security-related problem, to gain your trust and steal your money.

The Social Security Administration will NEVER :

  • Call to threaten you with arrest or legal action if you do not immediately pay a debt, fine, or fee.
  • Tell you that your Social Security number has been suspended, or offer to increase your benefits or resolve identity theft problems in exchange for payment.
  • Require payment via retail gift cards, prepaid debit cards, wire transfers, or internet currency like Bitcoin, or by mailing cash.
  • Demand secrecy in handling a Social Security-related problem, or tell you to make up a story to tell your friends, family, or store/bank employees.
  • Text you unsolicited to tell you about a problem with your Social Security number or benefits.
  • Email you attached documents containing your personally identifiable information.

Be very cautious if you receive an unsolicited call from the government and you don’t recognize the problem or issue they’re calling about. Do not provide personally identifiable information over the phone.

Discuss major financial decisions with trusted friends or family. If you owe money to Social Security, the agency will mail you a letter with payment options and appeal rights.

If you receive a suspicious call:

  • HANG UP!
  • DO NOT GIVE THEM MONEY OR PERSONAL INFORMATION!
  • REPORT SOCIAL SECURITY SCAMS AT OIG.SSA.GOV
  • REPORT OTHER IMPOSTER SCAMS AT FTC.GOV/COMPLAINT.

 Let’s SLAM phone scams together!

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more information about Social Security scams and other fraud topics.

Learn About and Report Scams

The Federal Trade Commission has many resources to help you learn about scams, and report and recover from identity theft at the links below:

Gift Card Scams

Government Imposter Scams

Identity Theft

Please report Social Security-related scams here.

If you believe you have been a victim of an IRS impersonation scam, please report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.Other agencies and organizations with helpful scam information (we are not endorsing these sites):

Social Security Administration’s Social Security Matters blog

AARP

Better Business Bureau

 

Fact Sheet: Slam the Scam

Click the image to download a PDF:

 

 

Scam artists go to great lengths to trick you out of your personal information or money. As the above video explains, by educating yourself and knowing how to identify and report scams, you can stay several steps ahead of these thieves.  

3 Tips to Protect Yourself  

Understand the threats. Fraudsters use several forms of impersonation, advance fee, and phishing schemes. They might contact you and claim to be from SSA, the IRS, or another government agency and request your information. They might claim that you have won the lottery or become eligible for an investment if you pay an upfront fee. They might design emails or text messages that look legitimate and request your immediate response. Be aware of these types of schemes, so you can identify them and guard against them.    

Exercise caution. In general, no government agency or reputable company will call or email you unexpectedly and request your personal information, or request advance fees for services in the form of wire transfers or gift cards. Build a habit of verifying the identity of anyone who asks for your personal information over the phone, and say you will respond through the entity's customer service channels. If anyone pressures you to provide information or money over the phone, it's a scam and you should just hang up.   

Secure your information. Store your Social Security card in a secure location; avoid carrying it with you. Shred documents that list personal information such as your Social Security number and banking information. Avoid opening emails from unknown sources or clicking on suspicious hyperlinks. Equip your computing devices with strong anti-virus software and maintain strong passwords. Regularly check your credit reports for suspicious activity.  

Recent Fraud Advisories

March 2020: Inspector General Warns Public About New Social Security Benefit Suspension Scam

March 2020: Inspector General Warns Public About Widespread Social Security Scam Texts

February 2020: Inspector General Announces "National Slam the Scam" Day

January 2020: Inspector General Announces Civil Action to Prevent Social Security Scam Calls from Reaching Consumers

January 2020: IG Warns Public About New Twist to Social Security Phone Scams 

November 2019: Social Security OIG Launches Online Scam Reporting Form

October 2019: IG Warns Public About "Spoofed" OIG Media Line Calls 

May 2019: IG Warns Public About Social Security Advisory Board-Related Scam

April 2019: IG Warns Public About Caller-ID "Spoofing" of Social Security Fraud Hotline Phone Number

December 2018: IG Warns Public About Fraudulent Phone Calls Threatening Arrest or Other Legal Action

October 2018: IG Warns Public About Caller-ID "Spoofing" Scheme Misuing SSA Customer Service Number

October 2018: Inspector General Warns Public About OIG Impersonation Scheme

Beware of Fraudulent Letters Impersonating SSA and SSA OIG

Phone scammers may offer to send official letters or reports by email to convince you they are legitimate government employees. Do not believe them! The letters may appear to be from Social Security or Social Security OIG, with official letterhead and government “jargon.” They may also contain misspellings and typos. Beware! You can view fake documents used in a scam by clicking the links below.

Sample of Fake Social Security Administration OIG Letter

Sample of Fake Social Security Administration Letter

Sample of Fake Social Security Administration OIG Report

Sample of Fake Social Security Administration OIG Abbreviations Page 1 and Page 2

Fact Sheet: Beware of Social Security Phone Scams

Click the image to download a PDF:

 

Fact Sheet: Protecting Personal Information

Click the image to download a PDF: