Post by Andrew Cannarsa, OIG Communications Director on July 16, 2018
The Acting Inspector General of Social Security, Gale Stallworth Stone, is warning citizens about ongoing Social Security Administration (SSA) impersonation schemes. SSA and the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) have recently received several reports of suspicious phone calls claiming to be from SSA.
In one case, an automated recording states the person’s Social Security number (SSN) “has been suspended for suspicion of illegal activity,” and the person should contact a provided phone number immediately to resolve the issue. The call concludes by stating if the person does not contact the provided phone number, the person’s assets will be frozen until the alleged issue is resolved. In another case, a caller claims to be from “SSA headquarters” and waits for the person to provide personal information, such as an SSN, address, and date of birth. In January, the OIG shared similar information from the Federal Trade Commission, which reported an increase in reports of suspicious phone calls from people claiming to be SSA employees.
SSA employees occasionally contact citizens by telephone for customer-service purposes. In only a few limited special situations, usually already known to the citizen, an SSA employee may request the citizen confirm personal information over the phone. If a person receives a suspicious call from someone alleging to be from SSA, citizens should report that information to the OIG at 1-800-269-0271 or online via https://oig.ssa.gov/report.
Acting Inspector General Stone continues to warn citizens to be cautious, and to avoid providing information such as your SSN or bank account numbers to unknown persons over the phone or internet unless you are certain of who is receiving it. “Be aware of suspicious calls from unknown sources, and when in doubt, contact the official entity to verify the legitimacy of the call,” Stone said.
If a person has questions about any communication—email, letter, text or phone call—that claims to be from SSA or the OIG, please contact your local Social Security office, or call Social Security’s toll-free customer service number at 1-800-772-1213, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, to verify its legitimacy. (Those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can call Social Security’s TTY number at 1-800-325-0778.)