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Social Security Imposters

Information about Social Security Imposters and how to avoid them.

How It Works

You get a call from someone claiming to be from the Social Security Administration to tell you your Social Security number has been suspended because of suspicious activity, or because it has been involved in a crime. They ask you to confirm your Social Security number, or they may say you need to withdraw money from the bank and store it on a gift card for “safekeeping”. You may be told your accounts will be seized or frozen if you don’t act quickly.

These calls may start as a “robocall” and the message may say to “press 1” to speak to a government “support representative” for help reactivating your Social Security number. The caller may also use caller ID to “spoof” it to say the call is from the Social Security Administration. The goal is to get people to give up their Social Security number and other personal information.

When people lose money through this scam, they lose a lot. If the scammer tells you to use a gift card, they will ask for the PIN numbers on the back to gain access to the funds stored on the card. Scammers have used Bitcoin to gain access to funds. Using a gift card gives the scammer quick access to your cash, while staying anonymous, and the money will be gone.

How to Prevent It

  • Do not trust caller ID. Scam calls may show up on caller ID as the Social Security Administration and look like the agency’s real number.
  • Do not give the caller your Social Security number or any other personal information. If you already provided personal information to a caller, this is probably identity theft. Take steps to protect your credit and identity by going to (click here link to identity theft page.)
  • Check with the real Social Security Administration. The SSA sill not contact you out of the blue. You can call them directly at 1-800-772-1213 to find out if the SSA is really trying to reach you and why.
  • Talk about it with friends to prevent fraud. Many people get caught off guard by these calls. Share your experience with friends and family – this will help others avoid this scam.

If you lost money you should act immediately:

  • Call the gift card or debit card company immediately. The contact number is on the back of the card. If reported immediately, you may be able to stop the transfer of funds, otherwise it may not be possible to stop the funds from being withdrawn. It is also important to alert the card company of fraud.
  • If you sent cash, report it immediately to the postal service or whatever company you used. If you act quickly you may be able to stop delivery by reporting fraud and giving the tracking number to the delivery company.
  • If you gave personal information to the scammer you may be subject to identity theft. Learn what to do.

Report scams to the Federal Trade Commission: Report Now

Learn More

Report Social Security scams to the Social Security Fraud Hotline.