Have you received a call or voicemail from someone warning that your Social Security number or benefits are suspended due to suspicious activity? Scammers are hoping you’ll be scared into believing their claims. They usually ask you to confirm your Social Security number and pay money to “reactivate” your number, protect it, or restore your benefits.
Social Security scams are on the rise
Social Security scams now outnumber other types of scams, including Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scams, which were formerly the most common. Pretending to be a representative of the government is a common way for fraudsters to trick people into giving up their money or personal information. Knowing how to tell the difference between a scammer and a genuine call from the federal government is important.
Here are the facts:
- The government will not threaten to take away benefits or ask for money or personal information to protect your Social Security card or benefits.
- Scammers can fake your caller ID, so don’t be fooled if the call seems to be from the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) real phone number or the SSA Inspector General’s Fraud Hotline number. You can always call the Social Security Administration directly at (800) 772-1213 to find out if they are really trying to reach you.
- If someone calls you asking for your Social Security number, bank account number, or credit card information, hang up.
Spread the word about Social Security scams and report them
- We worked with the Social Security Administration and the Federal Trade Commission to create a new fraud prevention placemat to help you avoid Social Security scams. You can order free copies of the placemat to use at a meal site, or to share with friends and family. The placemat is in English on one side and Spanish on the other side.
- Talk about it! You may have heard of IRS scams or other types of scams targeting government benefits, but Social Security scams haven’t been as common until recently. Share the message with others to make them aware of this type of scam.
- Report Social Security scams to the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov/complaint and to the SSA Office of Inspector General Fraud Hotline at (800) 269-0271 or oig.ssa.gov/report.