The Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) recently announced the launch of an online form at https://oig.ssa.gov to receive reports from the public of Social Security-related scams. These scams – in which fraudulent callers mislead victims into making cash or gift card payments to avoid arrest for purported Social Security number problems – skyrocketed over the past year to become the number one type of fraud reported to the Federal Trade Commission and SSA.
“We are taking action to raise awareness and prevent scammers from harming Americans,” SSA Commissioner Andrew Saul said. “I am deeply troubled that our country has not been able to stop these crooks from deceiving some of the most vulnerable members of our society.”
Commissioner Saul encourages the public to use the new online form to report Social Security phone scams including robocalls and live callers, as well as email, text and in-person scams. The form allows people to create a unique Personal Identification Number (PIN), so if OIG contacts a person about their report, they will know if the call is legitimate.
Social Security employees do occasionally contact people – generally those who have ongoing business with the agency – by telephone for business purposes. However, Social Security employees will never threaten a person, or promise a Social Security benefit approval, or increase, in exchange for information or money. In those cases, the call is fraudulent and people should just hang up.
The agency mainly calls people who have recently applied for a Social Security benefit, someone who is already receiving payments and requires an update to their record, or a person who has requested a call from the agency.
Social Security will not:
- Tell you that your Social Security number has been suspended.
- Contact you to demand an immediate payment.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Require a specific means of debt repayment, like a prepaid debit card, a retail gift card or cash.
- Demand that you pay a Social Security debt without the ability to appeal the amount you owe.
- Promise a Social Security benefit approval, or increase, in exchange for information or money.