Scam Awareness

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.  

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.

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

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: