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Earlier this month, we told you about a growing scam: people pretend to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and try to get your Social Security number or your money. That scam is now growing exponentially. To compare: in 2017, we heard from 3,200 people about SSA imposter scams, and those people reported losing nearly $210,000. So far THIS year: more than 35,000 people have reported the scam, and they tell us they’ve lost $10 million.

Here’s what one of those scam calls sound like:

Scammers are saying your Social Security number (SSN) has been suspended because of suspicious activity, or because it’s been involved in a crime. Sometimes, the scammer wants you to confirm your SSN to reactivate it. Sometimes, he’ll say your bank account is about to be seized – but he’ll tell you what to do to keep it safe. (Often, that involves putting your money on gift cards and giving him the codes – which, of course, means that your money is gone.)

Oh, and your caller ID often shows the real SSA phone number (1-800-772-1213) when these scammers call – but they’re faking that number. It’s not the real SSA calling.

Here's what to know:

  • Your Social Security number is not about to be suspended. You don’t have to verify your number to anyone who calls out of the blue. And your bank accounts are not about to be seized.
  • SSA will never call to threaten your benefits or tell you to wire money, send cash, or put money on gift cards. Anyone who tells you to do those things is a scammer. Every time.
  • The real SSA number is 1-800-772-1213, but scammers are putting that number in the caller ID. If you’re worried about what the caller says, hang up and call 1-800-772-1213 to speak to the real SSA. Even if the wait time is long, confirm with the real SSA before responding to one of these calls.
  • Never give any part of your Social Security number to anyone who contacts you. Or your bank account or credit card number.

If you get one of these calls, tell the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

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8513 Comments


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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

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Mattoxt29
April 10, 2020

In reply to by Got a call

just got a call saying that they are suspending my social security number.i called them back an it sounded like a fax machine sound the number was 817-548-9630
Angiem
April 11, 2019

In reply to by Tiredoffakecalls54

Thanks for all this info..i receieved 3calls in less than an hour today ..recorded message each time. I called back,he tells me he is from ss admin, i asked from what state..he replies taxes! I said which is it...taxes or ss? He hung up!
Lisa
April 15, 2019

In reply to by Angiem

I just got a call from 917-504-8664 New York, NY. It was recorded message not a real person and told me to call the number.
mike
April 19, 2019

In reply to by Lisa

just got the same kind of call but they used the number 917 504 8668 4/19/2019
Francis
January 03, 2019

In reply to by Rob V

Warnings should be only the first step. I would like to hear, very publicly, possibly from the FBI or NSA, that those criminals have have been charged with these crimes. Follow the money!
LeahNichols
March 18, 2019

In reply to by Francis

Thank you! I totally agree with you. My cell phone rings constantly With fake calls. I pay salaries and operations with my taxes for the FBI and NSA. Why can't they get involved?
cedar
January 23, 2019

In reply to by Rob V

The FTC must do more. How is my phone number public information and available to these crooks. What happened to privacy. My phone should ring only from people I’ve given permission to.
Xyle
February 08, 2019

In reply to by cedar

They don't know your number persay, they use auto dialers and go down a line of numbers until they get a person or answering machine. Once they find someone, they put it on a list of callbacks. Back in 99 I did cold calling for an auto glass company and that's how they did it, though it was illegal to cold call cell phones at the time, would be nice if it still was illegal
MMcGregor
March 06, 2019

In reply to by Xyle

It is still illegal, but criminals don't care about the law...!!
BradR
February 12, 2019

In reply to by cedar

A phone book. The thing you're thinking of is a phone book. If it is a landline, call your phone company and ask for an unlisted number; my parents had one for decades and we rarely had a telemarket call. Use the Do Not Call link they have on the FTC. I did Do Not Call and Opt Out for pre-screening and have had, maybe, one scam call in all of four years.
Pete H
March 03, 2019

In reply to by BradR

Sadly, going unlisted won't really help. These people have computerized dialers that will pick an area code (say 212), and start at the beginning: 212-100-0000 Then 212-100-0001 Then 212-100-0002 and so on. Since it's computerized, that can be set to just go, and if it ever connects to a person or even an answering machine, the computer can send the call to a person (usually out of the country but not always) with a multiple-choice sound board to get as much info or money as they can.
She
April 27, 2019

In reply to by Pete H

I have gotten a few calls also with kinda the same stuff being said but it’s been an unknown Number that’s called Me every time have you or anyone else had an unknown Number show up and leave that voicemail???? If someone can please let me know real soon that’d be great.... thanks
Sophia
May 17, 2019

In reply to by Ashey

I gotten calls like this also but the calls are from a private number. Anyone else getting Private number on caller ID?
skeeter
February 12, 2019

In reply to by cedar

your phone number,your address,your property taxes and even a map to your house are all public information now. i don't agree with it,but it's true.
John Michael
January 30, 2019

In reply to by Rob V

All I can tell you guys's you haven't helped me at all yet. Probably because so many people fake that there scammers. Well I have been scammed. I've gone through five phones this guy has rendered useless, is out to make me look bad online, its defamation of character I don't understand why the hell he wants wants it out for me but I'm getting a lawyer and I'm sick of this no one seems to help. The only ones that responded to me was the FBI right here in Massachusetts the Cyber unit so I guess I'll just work with them take care. I simply feel like I'm bothering you. I have been sick the last 5 years and have been recovering from cervical spine surgery, I don't think I am the perfect human but I'm not involved in the process of internet and using it for ruining the life's or stealing I simply am working on building a new wonderful life. Thanks
Scarlettann
February 07, 2019

In reply to by John Michael

Is anything resolving for you yet? What exactly happened? They called me today and have my address
Rustynailz21
August 14, 2019

In reply to by John Michael

Hoping this info helps. 1. When you get a call from the scammers and they say hello, is this John? Just say....How May I Help You. Do not say YES... 2. Whe u get a call from a scammer...save their number in your cell phone as SCAMMER. Then Block the number. If they call from another number. Save that under the same name. Soon you will have a list of numbers all under one name...SCAMMER. 3. Dont allow your credit card company record your voice for security. Thats how the scammers get you. By recording your.voice 4. Download apps for your cedit cards and LOCK your card when not in use. Most companies have a Lock/unlock feature now. 5. Dont engage in conversation with the scammers.
Gina
February 19, 2019

In reply to by Rob V

Scam number to be added. 1800-777-2666 Computer tell you with a breaking voice sound that your SSN is permanently suspended because of its suspicious usage. Immediate response required. When I got connected with a representative, and asked, "Is this a scam? Do you even know my #? Tell me my #." His response was "Yes, this is a scam. If it's scam, what are you going to do about it?" That was the most ridiculous phone conversation, I have ever had in decades.
Hunter62
March 04, 2019

In reply to by Gina

They called me a couple of time and I gave them wrong information, but today I told why you are thieves. Phone # 408 254 5260
ScammedinChicago
August 01, 2019

In reply to by Hunter62

Happened to me today and it is terrifying, various number 917 and 415 area codes a few blocked ID number. Even received a call back that my money was safe. I was scammed because I didn’t know about this.
YL
March 07, 2019

In reply to by Rob V

Another scam call I believe i received this morning from number: 866 404 8329
samigirl
March 30, 2019

In reply to by Rob V

I got a call from this number 18056377243 saying my social security was suspended. It was a robotic voice as well. I missed the call because I was asleep and the best part is the voicemail they left if the automated message on a loop saying to press 1 if I want to know what's going on haha
SalemsLyric
April 08, 2019

In reply to by samigirl

Same exact call for me today! Right down to the "loop" and "press one". The number that showed up was, 51287343638. Am i crazy or is that one too many numbers?? A lot of times the scammer will add or subtract a word from the formal name of the agency or company they are impersonating. This one said they were calling from "Department of Social Security Administration". Not, "The" department of... They are NOT called the Department of Social Security Adminstration. They are simply "Social Security Administration, USA." I just shake my head.
Mike
November 04, 2019

In reply to by SalemsLyric

They can make the caller ID say anything they want. It's easy thanks to internet telephony technology. It doesn't even have to be a valid number as you noticed. I can do it too, it's easy. I could make it look like I was calling from anywhere. The scammers probably just have their system automatically put a random number as the caller ID for every call.
JeramiahJohnson1973
May 13, 2019

In reply to by samigirl

Theres one thing you folks have to remember. A social security number is needed for EVERYTHING. It's not a privilege it's a REQUIREMENT to have one . The three words that puts deep nails in the coffin are suspended and social security number And if that's not enough I'll say this . The feds are who governs internet crimes, I'd thefts online and ssn number compromisation. If the feds have you in the crosshairs your NOT getting phone call. They will show up during dinner and arrest you in front of everyone. They dobt show up or even capped unless you truly have done something. They have their stuff together. They are not the local sheriff's that will kick your door in on a hunch , arrest with premise of search warrant that isn't valid but will be issued later while your'e already being booked.
Another
April 01, 2019

In reply to by Rob V

Received a phone called today. Stating my Social Security is being suspended due to suspicious activity so if I want to know more about the case just press one. The number that was on the screen was 28164857139
Same as well
April 02, 2019

In reply to by Another

Same wording on my voicemail right down to the press one the number was different 646-395-9749
She
April 27, 2019

In reply to by Same as well

I’ve gotten the same calls like 3 different times but every time it’s from an unknown Number has anybody else had them call from an unknown Number???? If someone could please answer Me..... thanks
Yog
September 19, 2019

In reply to by Butch

I am getting calls from unknown number as well saying they will suspend my ssn
Hey
March 02, 2020

In reply to by She

AT&T showed me the number as "Spam Risk" but when they left the voicemail the number showed up. The one I had was 800-153-3994. They forgot the 1.
Scoope
April 03, 2019

In reply to by Another

Got a call today from 800 772 7562! They are getting good they're now using the same exchange as the real Social Security . BE AWARE!
Ugh
April 22, 2019

In reply to by Another

That was the wording on the voicemail they left me as well, called from two different numbers within 30 minutes of each other (800)772-1037 (Real SSA number is (800)772-1213, so had me freaking out until I looked this up, so glad I did) (866)576-6833, they've called me from this one numerous times, I finally blocked it.
Texas Police O…
April 29, 2019

In reply to by Ugh

I was told that a arrest warrant was issued against my social security number and my social security number was placed on a hold. You can't even do that. The caller then asked me for my ss number. I told him that he would have it all ready and then he said he could not tell me the number for security reasons. I told her that I was a Police Officer for 27 years and I would be seeking a arrest warrant for him. Another one was dumb enough to leave a voice message on my phone. The following numbers called me... 443-203-8837,, 202-871-1791,,, 234-217-3277. You can also call 1-800-772-1213 for information about the scammers.
Maryrose
July 27, 2019

In reply to by Ugh

I had VM saying they were from the drug enforcement department and that the police department has been notified and for me or my attorney to call back and not to disregard the message as it is a very serious matter. The number was an Ohio 330 number. Is this a scam?
Butch
August 23, 2019

In reply to by Maryrose

Of course it was a scam!!! I get these kinds of calls from time to time, hang up and laugh. You should do the same.
same wording
August 08, 2019

In reply to by Another

Received three calls with identical wording, but from different phone numbers, 1-956-113-9204, 1-956-594-0312, and 1-956-028-2802. Wording was: "Stating my Social Security is being suspended due to suspicious activity so if I want to know more about the case just press one."
Wingman1333331
April 10, 2019

In reply to by Rob V

Just got a call like this from 805 273 6583. Didn't call it back they tried twice leaving the same voicemail. Be careful folks.
Thanks for the info
April 12, 2019

In reply to by Rob V

I’ve received 2 Voicemail messages about this over the past couple days. The number they are calling from is 347-349-1212.
KarBar
April 16, 2019

In reply to by Rob V

Received a robo-call (female voice) on 940-468-4337 (Texas) today (4-16-19) on my cell stating my social security is frozen due to fraudulent activity. They provided a number for me to call (twice) then automatically hung up. Good... because that was my next reaction to the call too! Good bye loser! If anyone calls them back they will have your name (or name associated with your phone) and then the scam will continue... Be Smart!
Raeanne
April 24, 2019

In reply to by Rob V

Got all of the below today within 4 hrs 646-096-8071 646-965-2014 914-875-0400 914-445-6094 470-408-5490
slw94c
December 27, 2018
A few weeks ago. I let it go to voicemail and then i called the # . It wasnt the SSA #. The guy that answered had a middle eastern accent. Then i hung up.
AMK
January 03, 2019

In reply to by slw94c

Just because someone has a "middle eastern accent" doesn't mean they are a scammer.
It likely does
March 04, 2019

In reply to by AMK

I called three times and kept asking questions until they hung up and eventually I was blocked. Each time they had a “middle Eastern accent”. While there is a possibility someone moved from the Middle East, went through the process of becoming a US citizen and then got a job with the SSA it’s pretty unlikely. Three people? That’s just dumb. They would at least have the requirement of being articulate and easily understandable. None were. Sometimes it’s worth using your brain to understand people are not who they say they are. That accent is a pretty reasonable case here.