Beware of Social Security Scams

January 21, 2020

The Social Security Administration recently issued a warning about the growing volume and success of scam calls. These calls pretend to be from Social Security and attempt to obtain your personal information or money. The best way to protect yourself from losing your personal information, your money - or both - is to be aware of the scammer’s tactics.

Here’s how the scam works:

  • The scammers say they’re calling from Social Security and the number that appears on the caller ID may even look like an official government phone number, but it is not.
  • The caller may say there is a problem with your Social Security Number or account.
  • They may ask you to give them personal information like your Social Security number or bank account.
  • They may tell you to fix the problem or to avoid arrest you must pay a fine or fee using retail gift cards, pre-paid debit cards, wire transfers, or cash.

If you receive a suspicious call from someone alleging to be from the Social Security Administration, please:

  • Hang up right away.
  • Never give your personal information, money, or retail gift cards.
  • Report the scam at to Social Security’s law enforcement team at the Office of the Inspector General (OIG).

Additionally, the Social Security Administration has put out a list of things they will never do or ask for over the phone:

  • Threaten you.
  • Tell you that your Social Security Number has been or might be suspended.
  • Call you to demand an immediate payment.
  • Ask you for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Require a specific means of debt repayment, like a pre-paid 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.
  • Request personal or financial information through email, text messages, or social media.

If you experience any of these things, please hang up right away.

The Social Security Administration will:

  • Sometimes call you to confirm you filed for a claim or to discuss other ongoing business you have with them.
  • Mail you a letter if there is a problem. 
  • Mail you a letter if you need to submit payments that will have detailed information about options to make payments and the ability to appeal the decision. 
  • Use emails, text messages, and social media to provide general information (not personal or financial information) on its programs and services if you have signed up to receive these messages.

If you need help with your Social Security, my office may be able to help. If you can't get an answer from the Social Security Administration, or any other federal agency, in a timely fashion, or if you feel you have been treated unfairly, our office may be able to help resolve a problem or get you the information you need. While we cannot guarantee you a favorable outcome, we will do our best to help you receive a fair and timely response to your problem. Please click here to visit my Constituent Services web page to learn more about how we can help you. Or you may call my Fargo office directly at (701) 353-6665.

Please share this information with your family and friends so they can be aware of these scams.