Inspector General Warns About New Twist To Social Security Fraud Phone Call Scams
Social Security phone call scams are the #1 type of fraud reported to the Federal Trade Commission and Social Security. Over the past year, these scams—misleading victims into making cash or gift card payments to avoid arrest for Social Security number problems—have skyrocketed.
Latest Twist To Social Security Fraud Scams
Telephone scammers may send fake documents by email to convince victims to comply with their demands. The Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has received reports of victims who received emails with attached letters and reports that appeared to be from Social Security or Social Security OIG. The letters may use official letterhead and government “jargon” to convince victims they are legitimate; they may also contain misspellings and grammar mistakes.
This is the latest variation on Social Security phone scams, which continue to be widespread throughout the United States. Using robocalls or live callers, fraudsters pretend to be government employees and claim there is identity theft or another problem with one’s Social Security number, account, or benefits. They may threaten arrest or other legal action or may offer to increase benefits, protect assets, or resolve identity theft. They often demand payment via retail gift card, cash, wire transfer, internet currency such as Bitcoin, or pre-paid debit card.
How To Identify Social Security Fraud Calls & Scams
Inspector General Ennis urges continued vigilance against all types of Social Security phone scams no matter what “proof” callers may offer. As we continue to increase public awareness of SSA phone scams, criminals will come up with new ways to convince people of their legitimacy. Social Security will never:
- threaten you with arrest or other legal action unless you immediately pay a fine or fee;
- promise a benefit increase or other assistance in exchange for payment;
- require payment by retail gift card, cash, wire transfer, internet currency, or prepaid debit card; or
- send official letters or reports containing personally identifiable information via email.
How To Report Social Security Fraud Calls
The Social Security Administration encourages you to use the new online form to report Social Security phone scams to disrupt the scammers and help us reduce this type of fraud, and reduce the number of Social Security fraud call victims.