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Beware: Social Security scams abound

Written by Diane Archer

If you get a call or email from anyone claiming to need your Social Security number or other personal information, including anyone who says he or she works for Social Security, do not give out this information. Beware: Social Security scams abound.

In one Social Security scam, scammers call and pretend that they work for Social Security. They tell people receiving Social Security benefits that they are due additional money from Social Security, and then ask them to verify their personal information.  With that information, scammers can alter people’s addresses and telephone information on file with the Social Security Administration and redirect people’s Social Security checks to their own bank accounts.

Phone scams are common and come in many different forms. (See this Just Care post on financial scams and why you should beware of strangers offering help.) Back in March 2017, Social Security’s Office of the Inspector General reported that people were receiving recorded messages that Social Security had suspended their benefits. People receiving Social Security benefits were told that to avoid arrest they must call a phone number; when they did, the scammers demanded money from them.

While Social Security agents may sometimes call people, they will never ask for your personal information. And, you should never give anyone this information over the phone or via email, even if you think you know the person. Keep in mind that with new technology, scammers can impersonate relatives, sounding exactly like a child or grandchild.

If you get a call from someone you believe is a scammer, pressuring you for money or personal information, hang up. You can report the call to 1-800-269-0271, the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General or contact Social Security online at

Note: A version of this post was published on July 27, 2017.

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