The Social Security Administration is warning people of a nationwide telephone impersonation scheme.
Federal officials said they are aware of fraudulent phone calls from people falsely claiming to be Social Security employees and that some are sophisticated enough to “spoof” Social Security’s national customer service number as the incoming number on caller ID.
“We urge you to always be cautious and to avoid providing sensitive information such as your Social Security number or bank account information to unknown people over the phone or internet,” said Doug Nguyen, regional communications director.
“If you receive a call and are not expecting one, you must be extra careful – you can always get the caller’s information, hang up, and contact the official phone number of the business or agency the caller claims to represent. Do not reveal personal data to a stranger who calls you.”
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 benefit approval, or an increase, in exchange for information.
In those cases, the call is fraudulent and people should not engage with the caller. If a person receives these calls, they should report the information to the fraud hotline at 800-269-0271 or online at oig.ssa.gov/report.
“These calls appear to be happening across the country,” said Gail S. Ennis, inspector general for the Social Security Administration. “Our message to the public is simply this: If you or someone you know receives a questionable call ... just hang up.”