Social Security warns against growing nationwide scam

Feb 5, 2020

The Social Security Administration has launched a new public service announcement campaign to fight a growing nationwide scheme.

The administration says it continues to receive reports about fraudulent phone calls by people falsely claiming to be Social Security employees.

"The scammers mislead victims into making cash or gift card payments for help with purported identity theft, or to avoid arrest for bogus Social Security number problems," said Commissioner Andrew Saul.

The administration says people should also be on the lookout for a new version of this scam.

"Fraudsters are now emailing fake documents that appear to be from Social Security, in attempts to get people to comply with their demands," Saul said. "The letters may use official letterhead and government jargon to convince victims they're legitimate."

Social Security says it occasionally contacts people by telephone for business purposes, but never to exchange information for money. Most business is conducted my mail. If there is ever a question, the administration advises a person to just hang up.

The administration says Social Security will not:

  • Tell you your Social Security number has been suspended
  • Contact you to demand an immediate payment
  • Ask you for credit or debit card numbers over the phone
  • Require a specific means of debt repayment, like a prepaid debit card, a retail gift card or cash
  • Demand you pay a Social Security debt without the ability to appeal the amount you owe
  • Promise a Social Security benefit approval or increase in exchange for information or money