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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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September 09, 2019

In reply to by Paula

Scammers don't give their own names, numbers or addresses, and any such list would just let the smarter ones be clear they aren't one of those. Smart avoidance of scams is knowing that anyone calling you to ask for your SS# doesn't know it to verify. Ask them for the last 4 digits. They won't know, or they'll make up excuses. Smart avoidance is knowing the SSA has absolutely nothing to do with your bank accounts and credit cards. In fact, banks won't CALL YOU and ask for information. Suspected fraud will know that info and be calling to determine if you made the charges - not asking you to confirm the card # or a full SS#. They'll know your full name as it is on the card. ASK, don't ANSWER, if they call you.
December 28, 2018
Thanks for informing us about the scams. I they don't leave a number I don't call back. If I don't recognize the number I don't answer. They get blocked. I don't know how many scammers have called me and they get blocked. I have more blocks than I docontacts. That is ashame
December 28, 2018
This happened to me; the took my information then said they would work on my behalf to get my SSD funds started. Once I gave them the information (yeah I know now , not smart) the told me I was immediately declined and refuses to speak with me. The number was wrong too. I don’t want them to receive my disability pay, what do I do now.
Suspicious person
December 29, 2018
Is the Dept of Health and Human Services having an older appearing man using Facebook to tell people they can "receive a check for $125,000? A "friend" and I'm suspicious "she" is not what she appears to be, is attempting to get me to also get the $125,000. I find that to be rather odd! I cannot find anything online about it.
January 01, 2019
I am experiencing when I use my personal information I am told that nothing comes up and that's scary as well as weird. I cannot be verified by a replicable bank using my social security number given at birth, birth date. and name. So I have to make a report with the FTC identity fraud service and guess what? the government is shut down today, isn't that wonderful.
January 02, 2019
I received this call over the summer, and was told that my identity had been stolen, and someone in Texas was using my SSN to rent apartments and vehicles. The man on the phone was accusing me of being the identity thief and asked me to verify my current debts. He never asked me to verify my SSN, but simply to verify that I knew what was reporting on my credit. After a while I discovered the man was not from the social security administration when I asked him for a return phone call and a case number so that I could be in contact with my lawyer before I gave him any information. He refused to give me the information, and I hung up on him. These people are very convincing.. be careful.
January 02, 2019
Got two calls, one two weeks and one today. Said my Social Security was being suspendes due to money laundering and drug trafficing. First time I called the police and social security, there was no warrent for my arrest and no suspension on my Social Security. First time they called the caller ID was 1(469)200-4335. Today their caller ID was the actual Social Security phone number. I called the FBI, spoke to some lady who routed me over to Internet fraud. I guess you can't report phone scammers. Can't report to this FTC.GOV either because they have closed down due to cutbacks.
January 02, 2019
"...and get you arrested..." Hilarious!
April 03, 2019
that was two of calls
I’m Always Sus…
January 03, 2019
A big tip off is the use of odd language or phrases. In the recording included in this article, the words “get you arrested” are used. What official would use those words? This message from a different scam was left on my voice mail (the first words were cut off), “affairs intending your serious attention your case number is C9621 ignoring this message will be an additional second attempt to avoid initial appearance before a magistrate judge _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ jury for a federal criminal offense my number is 206-620-2607 I repeat it's 206-620-2607 do not disregard this message and do return the call now if you don't return the call and I don't hear from your attorney either then the only thing I can do is wish you a good luck as the situation unfolds on you goodbye…” This one had me laughing because the language is so out of the norm.
November 04, 2019

In reply to by I’m Always Sus…

The REAL tip off is just the basic premise of the call. I don't care if they word it properly or not, NO OFFICIAL AGENCY is going to call you and threaten arrest if you don't call them back. Ever.
February 18, 2020

In reply to by I’m Always Sus…

I just received the same language left on my voice mail by a # 1-855-527-8817 telling me to call back this number 1-855-278-8817.
January 03, 2019
Last year I got two of those scam calls that if I dont call them back right away I will be arrested and put in jail. I gave the phone Numbers to my accountant. Also another call is about Microsoft a out my computer needs,to be repaired. It was from the same voice who left the IRS social security calls. I knew it a scam. Isnt there anything the FTC can do to catch these criminals and put them in jail where they belong.
January 04, 2019
Year ago my brother's girlfriend stole my Ipad with all my personal information, pictures, stayed in my pocketbooks, sneak in my accounts. Was in all my devices, I moved out, didn't look back.
January 04, 2019
Two Alerts: one: asking for your social Security number and two: you will be arrested if there is refusual of compliance. After receiving one of these calls I called my son who was able to verify that it was a scammer number.
Tired of scammers
April 03, 2019
I got a call with caller ID saying it was ATT. They said they were offering a special promo. In order to receive the promo you had to pre pay 6 months in advance using amazon gift cards and your rate would be guaranteed to 2 years. If you called the number to confirm it will sound like ATT then the SAME guy answers the phone. The email address is ATTpromo @ I called att to tell them. They didn’t seem to care. It seemed very legit until they wanted prepayment using gift cards. Just be careful.
January 04, 2019
I just received on of those calls and I told them I didn't have any Assets so they just hung up. They already had my social security number but didn't have the right name on the social security card. The Officer Michael Black #SSA 7844 was the first person I talked to and he informed me that They were going to the FBI and to pursue me and charge me with money laundering and drug trafficking and theft by deception. Then he processed to transfer me to his superior Officer Amy Brown # SSA 6598. Then she proceeded to try and get what I did have in my name. She couldn't tell me what my current address was and they assumed I was in Tx when I'm not. They tried to get my assets that were in my name and even asked if I had a job and a driver license. When I told them I didn't have any assets and didn't even have a job or a Driver License, she acted like we got disconnected and then the line went dead. So I wouldn't give them any of my current info and they hung up on me. LOL
August 28, 2019

In reply to by Dragonwitch84

I got exact the same happened to me they have my SSN but wrong last name they said they found abandoned car in the border that has 4 lbs of cocaine and the car was rented under my ssn and asked me if I can verify my name and address I hang up and called police.and they said absolutely scums.
January 07, 2019
I just got one today. Said that I had to call a Texas number and that a Law suit is being filed against me for fraudulent activity in my Social Security account. Beware!!!!!
January 07, 2019
Thank You!
laughing at th…
March 14, 2019

In reply to by WITCH CITY WOMAN

I received numerous calls and voicemails which was very irritating so I decided to play the game and I answered the call saying Social Security Office how may I assist you? They haven't called my number since :)
January 08, 2019
Yes, we received a call from this number 469-522-3378 this morning. It scared my wife, so I called the number. I could hear what sounded like an open room with multiple calls going on. When a female voice answered, with no identifying information, I just said I'd received a call and wished to see what the issue was. She asked me to verify name nd address as it was read to me. I said that it seemed to be correct. And then the call ended. I tried to call back, but all I got was a busy signal.
Sue Kotz
January 09, 2019
A call from 315-538-3096 which I answered after they had control of my computer. I ended up paying them $99.99. They called back today and phished for banking information. I am elderly and probably gave too much information. Now they are filling my screen with porn
January 09, 2019
I received that recording and was terrified I called the number back and it said the number was disconnected SSI would not be disconnected so I knew right there it was a scam.
January 10, 2019
I just received one of these calls. Something needs to be done about this. I can't believe with all of the technology out there, nothing can be done.
Parrish Fl
January 10, 2019
Today I received a phone call from someone stating his name as officer Ray Williams, I didn't answer the call but he left a message saying, "legal action against my social security number." the number on my caller ID is 800-674-3741, I never called back because I believe it's a scan.
Mike N
January 10, 2019
What is being done by the FTC to catch & prosecute these perpetrators?
January 10, 2019
Got one today from live voices saying my social security is being suspended due to a criminal investigation for fraud in Texas..lucky for me bank was not open and was told to withdraw max then go to Safeway to get a federal wallet..and not to talk to anyone..then he said just Google gift cards..luckily a lady worker overheard my speaker and said no that's a scam and got my phone and told him it was being recorded and he hung up..but now the paperwork is to freeze credit is tremendous..called number back and it answered SOCIAL SECURITY HEADQUARTER
M. Arroyo
January 11, 2019
So I have received 4 phone calls today from the same number telling me my ss number has been Suspended due to illegal activity and then it tells me to press one to speak to a representative. It is an automated call that sounds very sketchy and breaks away every couple of seconds. I went to file a complaint on the link provided but thanks to the government shutdown the Web page is currently down.
Mr. Joe
January 11, 2019
I just recieved one of these "Calls" I just wish that this information was posted somewhere more "Public" so that I would have knwn ahead of time. The number dislayed on my screen was: 864-203-8606
gbobbiDon't us…
January 13, 2019
Happened to me on 01/12/19 but the voice was female
January 16, 2019
I received 10 calls on December 12, from 972-460-6141, and 4 calls from 703-348-0592. On December 13, one call 815-524-1423. January 9, 5 calls from 765-551-4791. January 11, 2 calls from 931-516-9940. All left voice mails claiming my SS# has been suspended.
January 16, 2019
Got a call from number 888-654-4191 and they told that I would go to court and jail if I didn't call back. I called back using my unidentified phone and they wanted my name and ZIP Code which I made up. Then they wanted my social security number and my birthdate so they could look up what I owed them. I hung up. I used to be a federal investigator.
January 17, 2019
Since they provided a toll free number, Why has not the Government investigated as to WHOM pays for that and then BUST them. The one caller for card services has been calling and YES there ARE calls coming from FLORIDA and connecting to FLORIDA but it seems the govt cant go get them?
January 17, 2019
Just got called by 800 number saying that the last 4 digits of my card had been compromised and to "press 1" to speak to a representative. I pressed one and a women greeted me with an Indian accent. I asked "what is this" and she hung up. I hope these people can be stopped ----- disgusted.
January 18, 2019
I got the social security scam called today, when I answered a voice recorder relay the message and left this number for me to call back (281) 899-0693. So I did a lady with foreign accent answered, I told her about the call, she wanted me to verify my name, I said you called me so you should know already, so she told me my name, next she wanted me to verify my social, as gain I said you called me and if this is what you say it is then you should have my social, she yes but, I need you to verify so we c as n move forward, I said no, you tell me what you got, and I will confirm, she hung up. Not today!!
January 18, 2019
Called from 281-836-4813 saying they were from the social security administration. Because of fraud, they needed to be contacted on their hot line at the same number from which they called. They threatened to sue me. Did call the number back and it was answered by someone who sounded like they were at a call center in India. Their first call was before 8 am local time.
January 18, 2019
I got a letter in the mail about my student loan and these people couldn't even answer my information send it. I have to give them my card number debit number from my bank account to make a $5 a month payment I think they're up to no good
Don't use your…
January 19, 2019
A woman called our house number and said she was from Medicare and wanted to verify my husband’s info to send him his white blue and re plastic, permanent card. I asked her for an ID and she gave me one. She had my husbands birthday and asked for the number in his Medicare paper card he has. Because while at the hospital he had been asked if he had received his new card, and some of the people at the desk said it was a new plastic card that Medicare is issuing, I thought it was legitimate. As we continued with the call, I began to feel annoyed by the questions and told the woman to call back because we were going to a doctors appointment. She insisted that it was the right time to continue, but she wouldn’t give me a number to call back, she said she would call me back. I called the Medicare number 1-800- and waited until I was able to talk to someone there. This lady said that Medicare is not issuing plastic cards and Medicare doesn’t call to upgrade any information, she said that scammers are getting all the information of the patients and ordering equipment. Then they bill Medicare and the 20% of the cost which is not covered has to be paid by the patient. Be cautious!
January 22, 2019
i just got this on my phone what really gave it away is that they keeping calling. Why doesn't SS do something to stop them using their #, the government must have some clout! I yeah they are "shutdown"
January 23, 2019
I just got one of these calls - I didn't catch on until I had given last four digits of SSN#. I didn't give them any bank account info or CC info. Do I need to do anything since I did give him the last 4 digits?
January 28, 2019

In reply to by Amy

I had the same issue, I gave them my last 4 digits of SSN, and full name, zip code, date of birth, before realizing it was a scam. Did someone tell you what you should do to prevent any fraud? it's quite scary
April 03, 2019
I recieved a call saying my SS has suspicious acivity. the call back number is 8773193086 It was a facs number Talk about scary,I have seven calls from this number on my phone. Am now reading about he scam. Bu have not yet reached social Security. Still waitng on the line. To verify if it is a scam I recieved. I have had my computer scammed by Mexican neighbors, living in apartment below me. They can hear me talk and have used my phone number. For Doctor appoints. I have received calls back from doctors saying she did not show up for her appointment. I have seen them on my computer, name and on a website. never used. Ancestry. When I received this call, immediately my thoughts went to them. They listen to everything I say. The Police will not respond to these complaints. These people have used approx 35 alias names. Reached Social Security and hey verified i would always be a letter. Never a call on the phone.
Ed Long Beach
January 24, 2019
Just got the call and is prerecorded and it even gives you the option to hear more about it when i press 1 a middle eastern man answer asking for my name so he can pullout my file and I told him that he should have all my information since he is the one is calling he didn’t say anything and I told him if ss administration wants to cancel my social they can write me a letter and hung up just to let you know social security administration will never call unless you have requested that
In Washington
January 24, 2019
My suspended social security number call said that I should press 1 to talk to someone. I did not do that as I am concerned that they are able to get some kind of access to personal information on my cell phone. I am not sure that is possible, but they can be very sophisticated in their hacking. I would never try to talk to them or listen to more messages. Hang up immediately. The first time the caller id said it was restricted. The second had a number: 877-803-6318 and it left a voice message to call. If I get a third call, it will probably tell me I am going to be arrested if I don't call.
John In Virginia
January 24, 2019
562-395-0102 Robo call saying SS is involved in a crime... do NOT call them!
January 24, 2019
Recieved the bogus call today...1 410 779 3477. Middle eastern accent guy. He claimed my ss# was connected to a criminal investigation. Maybe he forgot... the government is shut down, besides social security sends letters not calls.
Lin Truckee, CA
January 24, 2019
Repeatedly get calls pretending to be from the SSA. Sometimes all my recording machine gets is a number to call back. 877 851 4113. So I called in case it was something else. Some claiming a WASP name but with a Pakistani accent says they are the Social Security Administration. I tell them they are lying. He tells me I am lying and we hang up on each other. So much fun!
January 25, 2019
Got one of these calls. Call them back, asked a few logical questions, they got tongue-tied and hung up. Called back and they got annoyed and belligerent. In case you are bored and want a little entertainment in annoying them - the number is (870) 568-1623
April 03, 2019
I received a call stating that my ss number was compromised. I believe it is a scam. The number was 281 643 8529. Thank you.