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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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8,513 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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  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
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We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

benzoooos
August 19, 2020

In reply to by Janice Lindley

im so sorry this happened to you. contact the real SSN at the number at the top of the page
Lorax12
August 28, 2020

In reply to by Janice Lindley

I get about 4-5 of these a day, I block the number and the call from another one. I answered one yesterday and he gave me his name, "Chris Harper" (this guy had a VERY heavy accent) and his "badge number" 971583, and my "case number, "DMC701. He said that my social security number had been used to open accounts with 14 different banks/credit cards in EL PASO TEXAS. His number was a NY number. He said that there was an arrest warrant #47MLS215 out for me for money laundering and drug trafficking. He said an officer would be here at my house tomorrow. When I asked him where I lived, he said the city and state, but couldn't say the address for security reasons. I didn't give him my social or any other information, but are the people who are being scammed out of thousands of dollars giving them numbers or is it just being stolen after a conversation?
IMarena
September 04, 2020

In reply to by Lorax12

I just got a call from Texas 254-791-5497. I talked with two People, May Sancer and Mike Davis. They told me more or less the same story. They gave me their ID numbers and case number. The phone number they called was 254-791-5497. I am calling the SSN number now since this is frightening!
BEAUTIFULSOUL5314
September 10, 2020

In reply to by Lorax12

I normally do good aboit not falling for it but I gave them the last four of my social same story. Im so frustrated with myself. What harm can come of that?? I'm scared I messed up.
viviana
December 15, 2020

In reply to by BEAUTIFULSOUL5314

just happen to me, what did you do? anything happen..
Tfb9330
May 11, 2021

In reply to by BEAUTIFULSOUL5314

I usually do the same thing but however I too gave them the last number of my social. You can stop at anytime and btw they have all your money, if you gave them your bank information.
Jen
January 06, 2021

In reply to by Janice Lindley

That same thing just happened to me i was so scared i came home and told my dad and he said i definitely got scammed but i lied about what was in my bank account and monitoring the card they had me purchase
marci
February 10, 2020

In reply to by Don't use your…

I have been getting the scam calls from social security and I have found that they are connected to confirmation of emails and mail they sent me. Friday I got five emails from a local social security office and in the afternoon between 2 and 5 pm central I got 5 calls scam saying I had a warrant. My roommate has had the same. The calls come on the day you receive a letter or email from SSA. NO DOUBT!
S.Joe
June 16, 2020

In reply to by Don't use your…

No agency would ever call you and tell you that there is a warrant for your arrest. That would give you time to escape . They would just come and arrest you.
LuvNY
August 27, 2020

In reply to by Don't use your…

it means nothing. It is another scM to get you to call to pay a "fine" completely bogus. If you have any other concerns it is best for you to call SSA so you know who you are talking to. Scam callers can use an app to change the caller ID. So they can call you from a cell phone but your caller ID will say it is SSA calling. Best to hang up on these guts and call SSA yourself
DFM
March 05, 2020

In reply to by Concerned Citizen

I get calls from 8454771242 saying they are the Social Security Adminastration.... I immediately call them liars ... They call before 9a.m. and I just do not play that game....
LastFourDigitsPlease
July 02, 2020

In reply to by Concerned Citizen

Your post just reminded me that there is intelligent life on this planet. Thank you for taking the time to write that out.
Tbone
September 04, 2019

In reply to by Johnny

Cant do anything when these calls are coming from overseas, which most of them are. Our federal agencies work for the US Govt and cant really control what happens in countries like oh say, Russia.
monkeybelly
September 17, 2019

In reply to by Tbone

i get calls almost every day trying to scam me,and i just tell them .i,m not an idiot and i can hear many people in the background,this is a scam and i know it and so do you ,then i hang up and block the number
Mike
November 04, 2019

In reply to by monkeybelly

Unfortunately, blocking the numbers generally does nothing. Anybody can make it look like they're calling from any number very easily through VOIP/SIP phone services, which is what these scammers do. They can even have the caller ID randomized for every call automatically. Source: Part of my job involves some interaction with and configuration of telecom services.
Rlb
December 07, 2019

In reply to by Mike

Use a call management app and block all calls not in your contacts file. That works very well but could be problematic. I block all calls from the area code the scammers use. If the gover0wants me they can use the mail.
Don't use your…
March 06, 2020

In reply to by Tbone

More like the calls are coming from India, Africa and South America
MJ
October 28, 2020

In reply to by Don't use your…

The best way to stop them is to educate the public about not giving out any information to random callers. There will always be criminals but the good guys have to be smarter and help the public be aware.
Notmyemail
October 28, 2020

In reply to by MJ

Got three calls just today on cell. This is getting ridiculous! Why can't they do anything about this?!
Nicole
September 10, 2019

In reply to by Johnny

Exactly I’ve gotten three and it’s anxiety ridden. Time “ sensitive case” am hoping they stop calling and defeat the scammers. I’m going to save the next number it calls and post it on here. Frustrating.
M
September 23, 2019

In reply to by Steven

I've gotten at least one call per day this week. I've blocked all calls (b/c they are dumb enough to leave VM's now, which if you have half a brain, you know immediately that by the computer-generated message that it's a scam). Here are some of the tel's I've blocked coming from SSN scams... 800.408.3321 800.209.8061 786.753.8724 Don't answer. Never give them any info. And block all calls from these scammers. They'll come at you with different numbers, but at least you limit one of their extensions. Good luck!
Maggie
September 25, 2019

In reply to by M

I got this call said my social security number has been blocked.. +18002446002
Frustrated
March 13, 2020

In reply to by Maggie

I received a call from 412-465-9159 the same sort of message.
BlockItAll
November 01, 2019

In reply to by M

8442093596 I got it today, BLOCKED, now if i could figure out who to report it to, so I can start a paper trail (cyber trail). Anybody out there know who to report this too?
Bar_None
November 21, 2019

In reply to by BlockItAll

You need to turn these numbers into the FTC call their 800 number and you will always speak to an agent. No voicemail it's a real person.
Lorax12
August 28, 2020

In reply to by BlockItAll

I want to know the same thing. I am getting 5 calls+ a day from them. In my profession, I get calls all day long that I don't recognize, so I can't just ignore calls. So frustrating.
dee
February 23, 2020

In reply to by Steven

I G OT ONE OF THE IT WAS FROM TX A OFFICER KELLY JONES THE PHONE NUMBER USED WAS 830-202-2121 THE PLACE IN TX WAS CALLED COTULLA TX
Eric the first…
September 29, 2019

In reply to by Nicole

The first time I got a call from the scammers, they left a message saying that my social security number had been found in a crime scene in Texas. I live in New York City and I was terrified as I am disabled. I called the SSA and send them an email as well. Everything was taken care of and I was advised not to give out any information to the scammers. I received another call similar to the one I had received and simply brushed it aside, still, there was a little apprehension but I am over it. That this is going on with the SSA is simply unacceptable and Despicable.
misi
November 05, 2019

In reply to by Eric the first…

They said the exact same thing to me! And I live in Chicago!
Emailadress
November 21, 2019

In reply to by misi

I got the call Tonight that my SSN was somehow involved in a crime in Texas. It's terrifying.
ANNETTE
November 22, 2019

In reply to by Emailadress

I GOT THAT CALL THIS MORNING. 11-22-19. I REPORTED TO : OIG.SSA.GOV
Cdubb
June 10, 2020

In reply to by ANNETTE

470 437 4233 social security said my social security number is being cancelled lmao please give us your social security number immediately so we can stop this activity immediately..
Muzzyman
June 19, 2020

In reply to by ANNETTE

9042637499 from el paso texas saying they found an abandoned car with 22pounds of coke and blood and 2 fraud checks cashed under my name for over 500k etc etc a warrant was issued and all this mess so i gave him the address to the sherrifs office here and he hung up
floridagirl
July 15, 2020

In reply to by Emailadress

i just received the same call (from phone number 469-423-6383) that my social security number was involved in a crime and the DEA was issuing a warrant for my arrest for drug traffic charges. it was scary!!
Kynzi2020
July 29, 2020

In reply to by floridagirl

I received the call from all sorts of numbers 1 number in particular was a bank in my town and the Foreigner( its always someone with an accent) said they were from Social Security and I told him they were not from Social Security and to please stop calling me. They hung up so I called that number back and the people at my local bank answered so I don't know how they're doing it but the calls are coming from all different area codes even with different company names and People names.
taytay
December 01, 2020

In reply to by floridagirl

I received the same things all today off of these numbers 12028524459 18557829153
TheLawToday
July 24, 2021

In reply to by Emailadress

INDEPENDENTLY verify ANY claim that anybody makes on the phone... including your own bank, if they called you. For example, in your case, ask the caller for the county and police agency of the "crime", then hang up and call that county and police agency on your own and ask for a police report. Its not going to exist.
can't believe …
December 11, 2019

In reply to by misi

I have found that it only happens after doctor's visits. The doctor's staff are the only people we give the SS numbers to. Take the whole family for the yearly checkup.... And then the calls ensue. I have a family member who works at the FCC and he has filed the paperwork to have the FCC formally look into our case. The doctor has no right to your SS number. The doctor may be a good person, but who know who he contracts out to for payment? Refuse to give the whole number. Or any. If pressed, give the last 4 digits.
Ilvic62
January 13, 2020

In reply to by can't believe …

They need your social security number to verify your insurance and i I highly doubt that people associated with the medical offices are going to make this rediculous effort.
Thee Partee
April 29, 2020

In reply to by Ilvic62

They don’t need your Social Security number unless they’re planning on sending you to collections and even then secure numbers not supposed to be use for ID even says that on your SS and card they want to bill your insurance you’ll give them a policy number not a Social Security number same thing with Medicare and Medicaid they are new unique IDs that have nothing to do with your Social Security number to prevent fraud.
Suspicious Lady
July 30, 2020

In reply to by Ilvic62

The doctor's office doesn't need your SSN if you have your insurance information with you. I work for a large health insurance company. A number of years ago a law was passed PREVENTING insurance companies from using your SSN as you insurance member number.
marci
February 10, 2020

In reply to by can't believe …

Have you been in contact with a local SSA field Office. I got my scam calls on the same day I received letters and emails from SSA. I thought it was a coincidence the first time and then my roommate was standing here with me the second time. Friday I got five emails from ssa confirming a review to their office, later in the afternoon between 2 and 5 central time I get 5 scam calls. This tells me each call is generated by a confirmation of mail delivered.
Dbo25
March 18, 2020

In reply to by marci

Correlation does not necessarily equal causation. I got a call from them and I havent done any of this lately. They are trying to GET your social and info, not already have it.
scammer
January 02, 2020

In reply to by misi

I got calls today 1/02/2020 saying this same thing. I live in Virginia. Calls came from 601-996-5532, Robert Dawson. He claimed to be a Senior Social Security officer. I reported this