Social Security warns public about nationwide phone scam

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Agency Alerts Public about Telephone Impersonation Scheme

The Social Security Administration (SSA) and its Office of the Inspector General (OIG)
launched a joint Public Service Announcement (PSA) campaign addressing a nationwide
telephone impersonation scheme. Social Security and the OIG continue to receive reports
from across the country about fraudulent phone calls from people falsely claiming to be
Social Security employees. Calls can even “spoof” Social Security’s national customer
service number as the incoming number on the caller ID. The new PSAs will air on TV
and radio stations across the country to alert the public to remain vigilant against
potential fraud.

“We urge you to always be cautious and to avoid providing sensitive information such as
your Social Security number or bank account information to unknown people over the
phone or Internet,” said Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social Security. “If
you receive a call and are not expecting one, you must be extra careful – you can always
get the caller’s information, hang up, and contact the official phone number of the
business or agency the caller claims to represent. Do not reveal personal data to a stranger
who calls you.”

Social Security employees do occasionally contact people–generally those who have
ongoing business with the agency–by telephone for business purposes. However, Social
Security employees will never threaten a person or promise a Social Security benefit
approval, or increase, in exchange for information. In those cases, the call is fraudulent
and people should not engage with the caller.

If a person receives these calls, he or she should report the information to the OIG Fraud
Hotline at 1-800-269-0271 or online at

“These calls appear to be happening across the country, so we appreciate SSA’s
partnership in this national public outreach effort,” said Gail S. Ennis, the Inspector

This press release was produced and disseminated at U.S. taxpayer expense.
General for the Social Security Administration. “Our message to the public is simply this:
If you or someone you know receives a questionable call claiming to be from SSA or the
OIG, just hang up.”

The new PSA addressing the telephone impersonation scheme (phone scam) is available
online at and below:

(Lede photo: Marielle VelanderCreated on behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation)