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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

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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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Sheila Gomez u…
December 27, 2018
I have filed a complaint with the FTC back in June or July that I was scammed out of $26,000 and 4000 on my credit card but now I have heard nothing yet I don't know whether or not I will get a reply back or any of my money back and they were talking about win money at that time now I'm getting calls from people that says Facebook Lottery they tried to pull the same stunt as they did to me back in May and of course I lost all that money because having just lost my husband I thought I was doing something good for my children but I was being scammed not by one person but by 5 I want to know why no one has helped me or has found out anything I had given the FTC all the information and no one has replied back thank you sincerely Sheila G Gomez
May 06, 2019

In reply to by Sheila Gomez u…

This is another scam. The government paying people that are supposed to be helping people. They don't do anything such as Consumer Protection. They too should be reported. They can clearly see you're being beaten out of your money, but wont lift a finger to help against fradulent businesses . Our tax dollars should not go to support these agencies. Write or call your congressman and demand to know why these government agencies aren't doing the job we pay them to do?
“Lovly” is com…
June 14, 2019

In reply to by Lovly2008

lovly” you are 100 percent wrong. FTC is helping - trying to stop these calls.
June 17, 2019

In reply to by “Lovly” is com…

we can find a man in a cave half way across the world, but we can't find out who is making these scam calls?
July 23, 2019

In reply to by Johnny

My wife lost 30K+ by these scam call, I was able to get in touch with them 2nd time by calling to say we have more money in the bank so that police can track, while the scammer on the call I went to police station and ask them to track it down now, they said they can't. What a shame, we don't have technology to nail down these scammers, no-one helping us none of the government organization Police, FBI, FTC, Social security office, Senator you name it. We have complained everywhere we can. All of them taking reports but no action, It’s my hardly earned money is gone with the name of trusted government agencies. What Government doing about it ?.
Concerned Citizen
August 09, 2019

In reply to by Than

You are incorrect in that the technology *does* exist to track these scammers. It just is hard to do, because of the number of companies which need to cooperate in order to set up a system to do this with any amount of frequency. These companies have no interest in cooperating because they make money off the scam calls. Phone companies domestically could change their systems to make it harder to spoof numbers, but they have no interest in doing so because they make money off the scam calls. Not a lot of money, but adding the lost revenue to the cost of fixing their system, it's not an attractive value proposition. Private companies are not interested in fixing the problem, at least not in the way it needs to be fixed (cell companies are happy to provide "scam warnings", which is inexpensive for them to do). The answer to motivating these companies to change is government mandates. Make it more expensive *not* to fix the issue, and you'll see how quickly and efficiently it gets fixed.
September 29, 2019

In reply to by Concerned Citizen

If companies won’t cooperate because they are making money off the scams, then they are ALSO criminals and should be stopped. If companies refuse to help, then it should become MANDATORY to change their “systems” to stop the scams, or face prison for BEING an accessory to the crime. It doesn’t take a genius to figure how to stop it. It just takes money, and if that money is used to stop crimes, it can’t be used for big bonuses. Let’s be honest, here.
January 06, 2020

In reply to by Skeptical

They are PHONE CALLS; the best way to stop it is for the receivers of these calls to wise up.
September 02, 2020

In reply to by Snoglydox

First, yes. People need to be smart enough not to fall for this BS. But stopping the calls would be great to protect against them also. Not just financially. I work 6 hours on and six hours 24 hours a day 28 days at a time. You can imagine I don’t get much restful sleep. My phone is for my wife to contact me in case of emergencies. Then these calls among others that constantly keep me up. Fake calls about the SSA, cars extended warranty and so on. It never ends.
September 09, 2020

In reply to by Larry

just gotmy 40th phone indicating my ss # has been suspended d/t fraudulent use. I know this is fraudulent but figured I'd have fun. Pushed 1 to talk to someone who identifies themself as a ss administration employee. I told them this message us being recorded & I part of the fraud division of and then they hung up fast! Then blocked the number which is effective for about a day.
November 04, 2020

In reply to by Jean

This is close to what happened to me last week, end of October 2020. I got a call from a local number. Didn't know the number so I didn't answer the call. They left a message saying, "this is the Social Security ( I think they were suppose to say administration but it was not clear) and we have noticed a potential problem regarding possible fraudulent activity. Please press 1 to be connected." Than the voicemail ended. Never recieved another call from them or a email or notice by mail, hence it being scam/fraud. I'm currently disabled so I initially thought there mite be a problem. But realized that if there was truly a issue, I would have received another call or something by mail. Calling Social Security is a ridiculous. I was not going to be on hold for 120 mins. Yes, that is what they said my hold time was going to be. I don't mean this in a bad way but feel a bit better knowing I'm not alone. It's a shame that this happens. Thank you for your post.
November 23, 2020

In reply to by Janesmith

Wow. I just got the same call about my ss number being used fraudulently! Local NY number 347 964 4381 too. I have blocked 2 of these numbers after listing to voicemail. Prior to blocking I called back after they called several times. They hung up. Then called me and i answered... press one to speak with someone, etc. This is DEFINITELY a scam. My number is in some database, ugh. Let my 13 year old use my cell and she added my number on some forms online. Nightmare. But these criminals are hightek while we’re all trying to survive a pandemic. Don’t think they got anything from me But it’s scary to know “in on the list” for their phishing .
November 13, 2020

In reply to by Janesmith

They have a very thick Indian accent. They have called me relentlessly all day today 11/13/2020 I finally hit the 1 button & told the man to stop calling this is a scam and I’m tired of them calling me. All the calls came from California. I’m soo over these people calling don’t they have anything better to do!!?? It’s ridiculous how they keep calling!!
February 25, 2021

In reply to by MaryK

Yes they just called and I have lost my social before so I believed it, I only provided the last 4 digits could they do anything with that ?
August 10, 2021

In reply to by 101Ap

The just needed ur last 4 digits.they probalyalready had the 5 digits .Not good.I get these phone calls all the time.the 1st call I got I really thought it was ssa,calling I was so scared,but I called I said I was police officer and hung up,then I called the # was disconected.i can't believe they can't take these idiots down
August 13, 2021

In reply to by Danara

i just got a call from 214-205-7116 that was the same as you described. I pressed #1 to talk to someone and when they answered they said they were from the Social Security Administration and asked what I was calling about. I said: "you called me" and they immediately hung up.
s.s. scam alert!
August 16, 2021

In reply to by Danara

it's definitely a big scam! they will call to leave a spoff call saying (Investigation) press one to speak to an social security administration staff.. then the second call .this is a second attempt to call you. press one to speak to an social security agent.. then the 3rd call. this is social security press one to speak to an social security rep...all Scams don't fall for it.
November 04, 2020

In reply to by Jean

Sorry, I forgot to add that I called the phone number back and it just keeps ringing, than after many rings, I get disconnected.
December 22, 2020

In reply to by Jean

I just got one. Wished I had been as quick as you were because I would have done the same thing. All I did was hang up and then I reported it to the FTC
September 21, 2020

In reply to by Larry

There might be a way to block all stranger calls (but receive calls from your contacts i.e. your wife). Google "how to block all but contacts." You might need to add the specific phone brand (i.e. android, iphone, etc.) as well. Good luck.
August 26, 2021

In reply to by Larry

Larry (and others), Put special rings on all the contacts that you want to hear from. Put silent (no ring) on all others, all almost certainly junk calls. Then don't answer those calls.
Don't use your…
October 03, 2019

In reply to by Concerned Citizen

I just received a phone message from SSA supposedly there is an arrest warrant for me what does this mean?
October 07, 2019

In reply to by Don't use your…

It's not real, the SSA would never tell you this, a more local agency would.
Extremely Disturbed
December 13, 2019

In reply to by Paod

Messages are frightening me. I do nothing against the law but today received different voice not that monotone man but an officer Kelly. I hang up. Call came from Virginia, not prepared knowing how to record phone calls that come in. Wouldn't they write to me as all Social Security correspondence is done ?
January 31, 2020

In reply to by Paod

Nobody would. If there is a real arrest warrant for you, you'll find out when the local sheriffs department knocks on your door. They don't call you. Ever.
October 30, 2019

In reply to by Don't use your…

Yes, this is a scam. Look it up.
November 06, 2019

In reply to by Don't use your…

My son just got 1 of these too. "You're ssn has been used in a crime. Call immediately or we will issue an arrest warrant". Automated robotic call. I laughed and told him to hang up.
Big brother
March 15, 2021

In reply to by Catlady

Literally just happened to me today. Dude literally to lure me into something, thick Indian accent.
December 18, 2019

In reply to by m_martin

Yeah, just for that call today. Laughed and hung up. I read more about the scam on reddit; and these guys target older people or fresh college grads. If you fit in this category HANG UP.
January 30, 2020

In reply to by m_martin

Yes. I got this call coming from number +1-667-200-0636. Same content from robo call that my SSN has been used in crime. .. 2x within a day.
February 05, 2020

In reply to by Rainbow

I got this same call today. I normally don’t answer numbers not saved in my phone but I was expecting a call...... 510.241.0643 was the number. I watch this all the time on TV. Scamming is real y’all!!! These people have to much time on their hands, they need to use this same energy to get a real job
February 03, 2020

In reply to by m_martin

I get one of those calls multiple times a day! It's annoying!!
October 29, 2020

In reply to by BUNa_4eva

I did too. I got a call just like the others with am automated message from social security telling me to press one. Since I read about this I already knew it was a scam so I decided to go along with it and they had my name which was very scary. They asked for my last four of social so I said 1234 lol. Then he said they had a warrant for my arrest so I decided to keep going and I almost had him going for a while until he realized I was bs ing Hahaha. He hung up right away. But many calls still came after all look very similar to my cell number so that’s how I know it’s them calling.
November 08, 2019

In reply to by Don't use your…

Not real. I got the same thing a while ago. I freaked out. Gave them my SS number. Then I called my sister. She said, "you did what?!" Apparently everybody knew about this scam except me.
December 05, 2019

In reply to by clyoung61

And something happened with your account or SS?
February 18, 2020

In reply to by clyoung61

Did they use your Ssn? I did the same I scared
B mac
August 05, 2020

In reply to by clyoung61

What happened next, because I’m freaking out the same thing happened to me. Now I’m trying to fill out a report.
August 10, 2020

In reply to by clyoung61

Same thing happened to me today and I gave them my son number now I'm worried that something bad is going to happen
August 12, 2020

In reply to by D.rey24

Happened to me today. I filed a complaint. They called me at a regular 714 number. I called back and someone answers and hangs up on me. They also said there’s a warrant out for me and to get a lawyer and asked for my banking information.
August 17, 2020

In reply to by clyoung61

Today I received a scam call, I did not pick up the phone. So the message was left on my answering machine. Said, my social sercurity number was suspended and suspicious activity was found! The number I had the call from was 321-363-6508
Don't uchowse …
August 19, 2020

In reply to by clyoung61

Alerts could be sent out by phone companies . A mandatory educational notice when you purchase your phone or sign up for email. Teach kids about scammers in high school, Adults at church, or at the gas pumps . Google I know the pictures r cute but people need a message, a learning link. How do you know a scammer? Ask them all the questions, answer them none. Once I a female, got an African foreigner on my friends David's phone , he did not know David was mans name. It's easy to be smarter. Tell then your the police
March 08, 2021

In reply to by Tamia

Is my Number OK everything OK in your Social Security number in thank you
December 21, 2019

In reply to by Don't use your…

Doesn't mean anything they trying to scare you into giving them money
January 27, 2020

In reply to by Don't use your…

Comon, law enforcement really wanted to arrest you they would be at your door and/or send you an official letter. It's a scam, just like the other scams of idiots pretending to be DEA agents. You have nothing to worry about, I get these messages in Chinese language also, lol .. because my wife is Chinese.
February 10, 2020

In reply to by Don't use your…

I just got a call from a number in texas saying that they r from the ss office and that my ss number and name were invled in a crime and that a warrant was out for me, he said it was on hold the warrant but if I pay 1000 in a gift card the warrant disappears.
Janice Lindley
August 02, 2020

In reply to by rainbowgrl

This sounds like the same story I received...I was told that a car had beenrented in my name and found on the border in El Paso Tex.It had drugs in it and I had federal charges against me..After questioning me by Patrolman Anna Walker she turned me over to Sallywho worked at SSI.. She assured me that She could help me..She said my identy had been compromised and we needed to get the charges dropped and my bank account protected..She was very sharp..One step at a time she told me what I was to do..she said it was very important to keep it a secret..she had me take out money on my acct. Over 5000.00 and buy cards and give her the numbers..It seems no one can help me..I did give my sheriff the phone numbers they called from..