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You’ve gotten the calls: from Social Security. Or the IRS. Or Medicare. Or any number of other agencies. Except: as soon as the caller threatens you or demands that you pay them with a gift card or by wiring money, you know. It’s a scam. Even if caller ID tells you otherwise – that’s not the government calling.

The FTC’s latest Data Spotlight shows the surge in reports about government imposters. You know about the Social Security Administration (SSA) imposters who claim that your Social Security number has been linked to “criminal activity” and ask you to provide some information or money. (That’s a lie. The real SSA doesn’t work that way.) But those scammers are not alone: people are still telling the FTC that they’re getting calls from – and losing money to – scammers pretending to be the IRS, Medicare, a government grants group, or cops and the FBI.

Want to know more? Now there’s – dare we say – an awesome way for you to find out. And even create your own handout. You see the graphic here, but if you go to the dynamic, interactive version of the graphic, you can create a version that focuses on the time period or scam you’re most interested in.

Exploring the data can tell you, for example, that this year’s median losses to law enforcement imposters are the highest of all imposter scams (a whopping $3,000), and that 20% of the people who reported those scams told us they lost money. Those calls work because they’re scary. But now you can stay on top of the latest as data is updated every quarter. Or go back 5 years and see how things have changed.

And, of course, there are tips on how to spot government imposters scams. So if you want to share the handout you created with a few clicks, you’ll be able to tell people about not just the scope of the problem, but help them know what to do when they get the next call from the – ahem – government.


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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.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
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  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to

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September 26, 2019

In reply to by Mary

Mary, that exact scam happened to my mother 2 days ago. They got her for $5000. Every penny she had! They told her they were DEA agents and they had a warrant for her arrest for money laundering and drug trafficking. They said they believed someone had stolen her identity and committed these crimes but she was goinna be arrested unless she proved herself so she did the same thing as you. She was instructed to go to Target also. I wonder why Target and what Target has to do with anything? She said they also already knew her ss#. Did they have yours?
July 20, 2019

In reply to by drfamosa

I received the same call but they told me that my social and ID was found in a abandon house where drugs and money was found and I had a warrant out for my arrest.
September 19, 2019

In reply to by FabMom2003

I had a lady call me and said that she was from the ssa office told me my SSN had been used for opening accounts for illegal use. She told me her name and case number and asked for my SSN and like an Idiot I gave it to her. I told her I only had one account and then she hung up.
twinkie3201 address
September 30, 2019

In reply to by FabMom2003

That's same they told me I had 500.00 on google play card and they was spose come to my house the next day then they was spose give me 500.00 in cash after they changed ssnumber. I was so freaked out now out 500.00 cause Google won't refund my money.
July 25, 2019

In reply to by drfamosa

@drfamosa I have received 6 of these exact calls today. Frustrating. I reported each number. Although reading here it sounds like it won't help much. Ugh, but if we all keep reporting it has to make alil dent?!? Something's got to give... this is ridiculous.
July 30, 2019

In reply to by drfamosa

I just got the same phone call. I called back (1-800-269-7201) almost the same # as SS identity theft. The message asked if I was interested in a free security system..nothing at all to do with SS number being suspended. I'm totally sick of this scam crap!!!
July 31, 2019

In reply to by drfamosa

I have got the same call for about two weeks. I hang up but they keep callling
C. DavisDon't …
August 16, 2019

In reply to by drfamosa

I got this same automated voicemail and transcript from 1 (888)576-8502 which is TTY phone for Canada,from United States thanks for sharing .
July 01, 2019
My trusting sister got scammed in Nebraska by someone who said they were calling for a priest she knows. They asked for I-tunes cards, and she is now out $1,500.00. Is there any way to trace something like this? She paid cash so that makes it more difficult.
July 01, 2019
During the shutdown, I received a call from the “treasury” and stated they were calling on a recorded line and challenged them as to how they got the number. They bypassed answering and stated they were issuing a warrant for my arrest so I laughed and said that I’ll go ahead and slap the cuffs on but finished my statement “we’ve got your location, expect a knock shortly”... the guy was yelling at me as I disconnected... Sometimes you just have to give it back to ‘em. I did report the call although there’s not much they can do since they ghost legitimate phone numbers.
July 01, 2019
My husband and have been receiving calls; however, now they have a person where the voice is disgusted and ask that you call a certain number and at the end they say, "have a nice day". This can be believable since it sounds like an older lady with a sweet voice to get you off track. No organization is mentioned now. Just to please call this number. The funny thing, they repeat the number twice.
July 01, 2019
I received a call from 6-464-822-5936 and did not answer it. The voicemail was a robotic call claiming to be "the Department of Social Security administration. They just suspended my ssn because they found some suspicious activity". The number is probably useless, but this scam needs more attention, especially informing the elderly.
July 01, 2019
We have people in our neighborhood sporting some type of IDs that say they’re from the Census Bureau. They want to come inside to ask questions “for the census forms”.
October 23, 2019

In reply to by Theowigg

I worked for the Census Bureau one year. We are trained to NEVER go into someone's home. Same goes for pizza delivery people. They are told as part of their training to not go inside someone's home, especially pizza drivers because they have money on them and can easily be robbed. Yes, I like to think that most people in the world are nice and don't take advantage of people, but sadly so many people have no morals these days.
July 01, 2019
Lately I've been applying for home and auto loans. Using my personal information online. Yesterday i recieved a automated call several times, from social security administration. He blantly told me after i called him out that the ssa doesn't call people. Thats by far the most ignorant thing I've heard in a while.
July 01, 2019
I received 3 calls in one day from "US Government". I didn't answer the first two but decided to answer the third. Sure enough it had to do with my Social Security number which I hung up on without listening to the spiel. The number on caller id was 866-931-7075.
July 01, 2019
I received a call a little over a year ago saying it was the court calling and I had missed my court date but I could come now and rec. it. My niece took me to the court while they kept us on the phone line; but on the way, they said we should bring $310.00 in the form of a cash card to pay the court for missing the date. Just before arriving at the court parking lot, they asked to confirm the no. on the card. After giving it to them and arriving at the court parking lot, they hung up and cashed the card. I now hang up on any call like those you mention or any other threatening me.
July 01, 2019
There is no reason why the telecommunications companies allow spoofing of CallerID and Caller Name information. All calls, including cellular; VoIP, landline and satellite all have point of origination information. If it's from outside the U.S. do not send the information to called number. Telecom & Internet providers have the ability the deal with this. Just ask the FCC
Noni Dias
July 01, 2019
I have received three calls claiming that they are from the Federal Government and if I don't take heed to them , actions against me will be taken!!!
July 02, 2019
I received a call from someone stating to be from social security stating that my number is about to be suspended. The number that comes up on my phone is 202-915-1185.
July 12, 2019

In reply to by slythom

I receive these calls daily from a recording saying they are from SS the latest number 1-202-426-7066. I have blocked at least 5 numbers. They just use a different number. Pain in the you know what. Don't answer or give them any info.
July 02, 2019
I don’t normally answer my phone if it’s a call from a number I don’t recognize; but once in a while I get fed up with it and answer. I know it’s not advisable to answer any of them, but when it turns out to be one of these fraudulent government agency calls the best way I’ve found to get rid of them is by asking repeatedly for proof of their government issued identification. I don’t have to hang up on them anymore, they hang up on me.
July 02, 2019
I just received a called from GSA 202-559-3400 and they did not leave a message but all you hear in the background is a lot of people talking and nothing but noise. I received this call a couple of months ago. I know it is nothing but a scam. they called July 2, 2019 at 12:18 PM. I am just letting people know that don't answer it.
Roxe K
July 02, 2019
I am a victim. Many times they have called but I never gave them any information. I blocked there calls several times but they still leave me a message, the police will come and get me. They have a block on my social security.
July 02, 2019
I had a scam call from computer generated robo claiming to be Social Security and to call them . I did not scam # 757-448-2359
July 02, 2019
I only answer my cell phone. The people I know are in my phone book and have a certain ring tone. If it is the phones default I will not answer. Messages can be left and if it is a legitimate call I can return it immediately. If it is a robo call I report them to the FTC.
July 02, 2019
Sad thing is when someone actually did call me from SS from a non toll free number and no Id showed up)I actually called the SS office to make sure she was legit before I even talked to her. and that person was rather put off by the fact that I had the nerve to question them.
Cookie C
July 03, 2019
What ever happened to the power of the Do Not Call List? I’ve signed up multiple time for land line and my cell but to no avail. I get the scam calls almost every day. I find it hard to believe that in this day and age with the amazing advances of technology, that there isn’t a way to stop these calls. The calls are not just annoying but hurting people financially. I believe the senior population succumbs to scammers more. We need to protect them.
FTC Staff
July 10, 2019

In reply to by Cookie C

The Do Not Call Registry was created to stop sales calls from real companies. If your number is on the Registry and you still get calls, they are probably from scammers.

You can use call-blocking to stop calls from scammers. Read the FTC article about call blocking for mobile phones, land lines and phone that get service over the internet.

July 03, 2019
I constantly receive calls from someone saying they are from a government reward center. Offering me a free grant due to my excellent bill payment history. They even place noise in the background that should like a call center. I knew it was a scam thanks to your information.
July 03, 2019
Beware of driver support also I had them before at first they did update and chg $10.00 then a couple of weeks without telling you they were supposed to do updates but what you will find is deleted files and then reinstall the same then charging another $10..
Joan from FLA
July 05, 2019
Got a message on voice mail today from someone claiming to be from the Social Security Admin and said that my ss# had suspicious activity on it in Virginia and to call them back. they left a phone # but I will NOT be calling them back!
Maureen from SC
July 16, 2019

In reply to by Joan from FLA

Got a call on my cell phone which has an Austin Tx area code from a NY NY number 1 927 341 7071 - claiming to be the SS Fraud Division I immediately hung up & when I called the # back some guy with an Indian accent answered the phone stating Social Security Fraud Division. I hung up again & have no info So add this number to the group of scammers
July 10, 2019
similar but different recording - asking me to call back 949-577-8943 or my ssn would be suspended. "....(recording cut off)... Has been compromised and we found some suspicious activity on it. To get more infomration on tihs pelase contact us back on our emergency line 949-577-8943. I repeat it is 949-577-8943 thank you" called back about 5 minutes later and I hear d the entire message but didn't write it down but it did say that they were with the Social Security Administration... blah, blah, blah... SCAM!!!
July 05, 2019
I got a call 202 670 0637 Supposed to be working with INTEL International Cyber Crime helping me to retrieve a few items from a previous scam. But they want me to send money so they can trace the leader in the scam and once the investigation is over they will send me the compensation I am due.
Linda Kotan
July 05, 2019
I received incomplete call from 718 571 9038 today saying if I want to keep my social security call us or call Social Security, but nothing else. in a woman's voice. I tried to look up the phone number on Google but got no info from it. I didn't want to call the number back for fear it's a scam and didn't have enough info to call Social Security to ask them why they tried to call. I hope these Jerks get caught and put out of business!
Scam 'em back
July 05, 2019
I love to play with these people. When they call me, and tell me that they are from the SSA, the IRS, Microsoft, whatever, I act so surprised and say, "You work for ? So do I! What location do you work from?" Then I start getting really chatty and asking them what department they work for, who their supervisor is ("I might know him/her!"), how long have they worked there, etc., etc. The scammers hang up every time. LOL!
be aware
July 06, 2019
the phone number from my scammer is 03 90024640 claiming to be from Gov. re lowering electricity bill
July 06, 2019
It's worse than you state. I almost got my life savings ACHd from my savings account because of a computer hack. It was a heck of a lot more than the median 3k. I know how govt agencies work and a letter is almost always sent. The thing I don't know is how far tech has come. The US better catch up and protect us. We are the world's candy bar. BTW I offered my devices up to the FTC for research for 2 months and nobody cared enough to investigate, so let's keep getting fleeced, shall we?
Concern citizen
July 08, 2019
Getting calls from 1-817-207-5367, indicating there is activity on my social therefore they will suspend my number. Asking for a call back. Be aware.
July 15, 2019
•••Some person contacted me thru FACEBOOK PRIVATE MESSENGER using my Cousins PROFILE NAME and PICTURE!!! •••Trying to get me to sign up for a Federal Government Grant. BUT....You have to... ●"PAY" for "DELIVERY FEES & THE CASE FILE"● That's when I KNEW for sure that it WASN'T my cousin!!! The Federal Government Grant Bonus is under, someone named, ●"Charles Williams Sr" ●American Hope Resources Grant Program ●This is the actual link((Below)) that was sent to me, but I NEVER opened the link!! ((( charles williams federal government grant bonus)))
July 08, 2019
I got yet another (almost every day of late) fraudulent call from a computerized-sounding voice claiming that my SSN was involved in a legal action of some kind and that I must call 206-452-5948 to find out what to do. Why can't the real government protect us from these criminals?
July 08, 2019
This guy called me from this number 479-370-0051 saying he is from Social Security Administration and my SS needs to be suspended because it is used in some money laundering activity. This person connected me to another individual who is supposedly from US Marshall. He asked me to take all my money from my bank account because if my SS account is suspended I will no longer be able to withdraw the money. He even asked me to be on the speakerphone, go to the bank in real time and then let me know when I reach the bank. I got really suspicious when he asked me to withdraw the money at my bank and come out.
Kelly in WA
July 08, 2019
Just received a call claiming to be the Dept of Social Security, they wanted information and I told them they would never call me to get it so they hung up. Beware, they called from 646-593-8964.
July 08, 2019
I have rec'd 4 calls in the last hour from the same number(216-245-4785) claiming to be the social security administration. saying my ss# have been connected to criminal activity. how can these calls be stopped
July 08, 2019
I have rec'd 4 calls in the last hour from the same number(216-245-4785) claiming to be the social security administration. saying my ss# have been connected to criminal activity. how can these calls be stopped
July 08, 2019
We received 2 calls today that told us that one of us had our social security number suspended for some reason. The call came from Alpine, Texas. The phone number was 432-294-8307. It is a scam.
July 08, 2019
Just received a call from "Wireless Caller 484-821-6785" Let the answering machine pick up. They threatened to cancel my SS number and freeze my account. Wanted me to Press 1 to contact them.
Not fooled in …
July 08, 2019
I recently received two phone calls, one with a local area code of 561 and another with the following number on my caller-ID: (806) 205-5382 both claiming to be from the Social Security Administration and requesting I return the call because it was very important. When I returned the call they asked if I had already "heard from the police" which obviously was the dumbest thing they could have said and they requested my social security number.....I responded by telling them, "Well, if your social security, why don't you give me my social security number and I will verify?" Needless to say, they hung up.