Beware of Social Security Scams

by Vonda Vantil, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist

ssiThere’s a widespread telephone scam involving callers claiming they’re from Social Security. The caller ID may even show a government number. These callers may tell you there’s a problem with your Social Security number. They may also threaten to arrest you unless you pay a fine or fee using gift cards, pre-paid debit cards, a wire transfer, or cash. That call is not from us.

If you receive a suspicious call from someone alleging to be from Social Security, please:

• Hang up right away.
• Never give your personal information, money, or retail gift cards.
• Report the scam at to Social Security’s law enforcement team at the Office of the Inspector General.

Social Security will not:

• Threaten you.
• Tell you that your Social Security Number has been suspended.
• Call 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 that 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.
• Request personal or financial information through email, text messages, or social media.

Social Security will:

• Sometimes call you to confirm you filed for a claim or to discuss other ongoing business you have with them.
• Mail you a letter if there is a problem.
• Mail you a letter if you need to submit payments that will have detailed information about options to make payments and the ability to appeal the decision.
• Use emails, text messages, and social media to provide general information (not personal or financial information) on its programs and services if you have signed up to receive these messages.