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This is what a Social Security scam sounds like

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Earlier this month, we told you about a growing scam: people pretend to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and try to get your Social Security number or your money. That scam is now growing exponentially. To compare: in 2017, we heard from 3,200 people about SSA imposter scams, and those people reported losing nearly $210,000. So far THIS year: more than 35,000 people have reported the scam, and they tell us they’ve lost $10 million.

Here’s what one of those scam calls sound like:

Scammers are saying your Social Security number (SSN) has been suspended because of suspicious activity, or because it’s been involved in a crime. Sometimes, the scammer wants you to confirm your SSN to reactivate it. Sometimes, he’ll say your bank account is about to be seized – but he’ll tell you what to do to keep it safe. (Often, that involves putting your money on gift cards and giving him the codes – which, of course, means that your money is gone.)

Oh, and your caller ID often shows the real SSA phone number (1-800-772-1213) when these scammers call – but they’re faking that number. It’s not the real SSA calling.

Here's what to know:

  • Your Social Security number is not about to be suspended. You don’t have to verify your number to anyone who calls out of the blue. And your bank accounts are not about to be seized.
  • SSA will never call to threaten your benefits or tell you to wire money, send cash, or put money on gift cards. Anyone who tells you to do those things is a scammer. Every time.
  • The real SSA number is 1-800-772-1213, but scammers are putting that number in the caller ID. If you’re worried about what the caller says, hang up and call 1-800-772-1213 to speak to the real SSA. Even if the wait time is long, confirm with the real SSA before responding to one of these calls.
  • Never give any part of your Social Security number to anyone who contacts you. Or your bank account or credit card number.

If you get one of these calls, tell the FTC at

Tagged with: imposter, scam
Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


Outstanding - please continue to add more of these ! Keep up the good work FTC !

Usually if its legit anything government related they send something by mail and won't call.

I called social security cause they had once told me they wouldn't ask me for my social security number. Also I did call the number back and the person had a accent and I just hung up. Now I just received another secret shopper scam. What's wrong theses days.

Recently received a phone call and they told me that my social security number is about to be suspended. The number is 1 866 208 3523 ! Be aware people. The lady sounded robotic and asked me if i wanted to speask to an agent to press 1. But i simply hung up.

Warnings should be only the first step. I would like to hear, very publicly, possibly from the FBI or NSA, that those criminals have
have been charged with these crimes. Follow the money!

Thank you! I totally agree with you. My cell phone rings constantly With fake calls. I pay salaries and operations with my taxes for the FBI and NSA. Why can't they get involved?

The FTC must do more. How is my phone number public information and available to these crooks. What happened to privacy. My phone should ring only from people I’ve given permission to.

They don't know your number persay, they use auto dialers and go down a line of numbers until they get a person or answering machine. Once they find someone, they put it on a list of callbacks. Back in 99 I did cold calling for an auto glass company and that's how they did it, though it was illegal to cold call cell phones at the time, would be nice if it still was illegal

It is still illegal, but criminals don't care about the law...!!

A phone book. The thing you're thinking of is a phone book. If it is a landline, call your phone company and ask for an unlisted number; my parents had one for decades and we rarely had a telemarket call. Use the Do Not Call link they have on the FTC. I did Do Not Call and Opt Out for pre-screening and have had, maybe, one scam call in all of four years.

Sadly, going unlisted won't really help. These people have computerized dialers that will pick an area code (say 212), and start at the beginning:

Then 212-100-0001
Then 212-100-0002

and so on. Since it's computerized, that can be set to just go, and if it ever connects to a person or even an answering machine, the computer can send the call to a person (usually out of the country but not always) with a multiple-choice sound board to get as much info or money as they can.

your phone number,your address,your property taxes and even a map to your house are all public information now. i don't agree with it,but it's true.

All I can tell you guys's you haven't helped me at all yet. Probably because so many people fake that there scammers. Well I have been scammed. I've gone through five phones this guy has rendered useless, is out to make me look bad online, its defamation of character I don't understand why the hell he wants wants it out for me but I'm getting a lawyer and I'm sick of this no one seems to help. The only ones that responded to me was the FBI right here in Massachusetts the Cyber unit so I guess I'll just work with them take care. I simply feel like I'm bothering you. I have been sick the last 5 years and have been recovering from cervical spine surgery, I don't think I am the perfect human but I'm not involved in the process of internet and using it for ruining the life's or stealing I simply am working on building a new wonderful life. Thanks

Is anything resolving for you yet? What exactly happened? They called me today and have my address

Scam number to be added.

Computer tell you with a breaking voice sound that your SSN is permanently suspended because of its suspicious usage. Immediate response required. When I got connected with a representative, and asked, "Is this a scam? Do you even know my #? Tell me my #." His response was "Yes, this is a scam. If it's scam, what are you going to do about it?" That was the most ridiculous phone conversation, I have ever had in decades.

They called me a couple of time and I gave them wrong information, but today I told why you are thieves. Phone # 408 254 5260

Another scam call I believe i received this morning from number: 866 404 8329

A few weeks ago. I let it go to voicemail and then i called the # . It wasnt the SSA #. The guy that answered had a middle eastern accent. Then i hung up.

Just because someone has a "middle eastern accent" doesn't mean they are a scammer.

It does if they are an unsolicited caller.

I called three times and kept asking questions until they hung up and eventually I was blocked. Each time they had a “middle Eastern accent”. While there is a possibility someone moved from the Middle East, went through the process of becoming a US citizen and then got a job with the SSA it’s pretty unlikely. Three people? That’s just dumb. They would at least have the requirement of being articulate and easily understandable. None were. Sometimes it’s worth using your brain to understand people are not who they say they are. That accent is a pretty reasonable case here.

Yeah, they don't like having to answer any questions. Just had this happen and I couldn't help but laugh. The SSA doesn't call you and threaten to have you arrested if you don't call them back.

Those scammers sure are clever and devious. Yes. There are apps that can send a fake caller ID. This year, I got the IRS scam a few times. Maybe next year, I'll hear from those social security scammers.

How's can the government allow the scammers to use an official government number in our caller-id to fool us?

The government isn't allowing them to use it. It's an app. that they down load to change the number that they are calling from to whatever number they want.

The government needs to make the app's to change phone number Illegal! There is no reason for anyone to change their phone number that shows up on caller id or any other reason to do it!! We all have to abide by FCC rules when using out phones etc why is it okay for them to do what they do and have it legal?

There’s got to be some technology that could stop the spoofing of telephone numbers. The government should do much more to stop it.

They arent allowing the number to be used George. There scammers are using apps that change the number that they call is coming from. They can put in whatever number they want and they are putting in the actual IRS number so that the person is more apt to answer the phone call and believe the scam

Thank you once again and again and again for warning the consumer about these scams. Most folks, when they get a "call" from social security or the IRS, they panic. In their mind they say "oh no! What can I do to correct this event.". You got to keep eight or nine steps ahead of these scammers. No, you can't keep one step ahead or you will be behind! You must keep calm and collected or the scammers will collect from you! Thanks for another scam warning.

Thank you for your constant informing us of these leeches who do nothing but prey on the vulnerable. I always pass on these alerts to my friends.

Listening to the recording, it's a big joke that they would be telling you that your info has been compromised so-to-speak and then come off with a threat of having you arrested (I had to LOL)

Thank you.

Got a call that I won but will call me back with details. Private number called that I had won 4.5 million dollars check from Bank of America with"GOLD SEAL" from FTC along with a 2019 Mercedes new vehicle also having clear title. "Mr"Marks" asked if I could purchase of 2 gift cards @$350 each. The number Mark first called me on was 775-773-5989. Letting me know I have won a prize. I am disabled and age 62 was not extra in my budget. Help! I had bad experiences with thieves. And this feels no different. The $700 I really don't have nor any room for $700 payout.

WOW … Thanks for including that recording. It sounds so intimidating, I would have gotten nerves and probably have thought I should call? I was able to recognize the difference, once I heard it.

Thank you.

I got this back in November: You are receiving this prerecorded message to notify you that your social will be suspended due to illegal activity. It's very important that I hear back from you in a timely manner before we can proceed further with the status of your social and assets. My direct call back number is 213-618-3453.
So just for laughs I called the number back using a totally different phone and I get we're sorry your call did not go through..
If these people would put the effort in working at a real job imagine how nice the world would be instead of preying on other peoples fears.

Thank you, I did receive one automated call from one of the low life an blocked he number.

It is really frustrating how they spool numbers. It makes it hard to report to the FTC as they want the real numbers the call came from. I have tried to report scams in the past, but cannot without the actual phone number.

When you report a call at, you can report the spoofed number that a scammer used. That information is helpful too.

From Maryland # 240-288-5442

They also try to spoof the social security number. They were a number off though. I already reported it.

I wonder why there are not controls put in place to divert or prevent fictitious calls like this.

Thank you for this very important information. They are getting so creative now as I was just scammed and will be filing a complaint with your office tomorrow. People think that it can not happen to them but I read everything you send and it happened to me but I caught it in time to cancel my credit cards.

Thanks for keeping the public updated on these lowlifes. I haven’t received a Social Security call yet but have gotten voice mail messages from the “IRS.”

Received aprox. same message. Hit retail. Female answered. Advised that they just called me. Asked for name and ssn. I advised she must already have that information, they just called me. She said they have to verify. Asked what office she was calling from. I told I recently retired from SSA and wondered if we might know some of the same people. She hung up on me. How rude.

The phone companies can stop these calls but they have no incentive to do so. They make money off the callers and off us when we sign up for their call blocking.

The gov should change all ss # or change the system

The tone of the speaker sounds like someone using a speech assist tool like one a person with a stoma would use or someone trying to disguise their real voice. Kinda dead giveaway, this tool is a scamming ghoul, and is about as real as the voice in it.

You did not mention that SSA or IRS will never telephone you. They will always contact you by sending a letter, so always hang up on phone calls.

They did call my home and left a name and phone number with an extension. I returned the call and the recording asked for my name and SS#. When I call back to prove to my wife this is what it said on the recording the person answered. He started asking questions and when in became more personal and direct about income I became defensive. I did not give him any more info and called him a fraud trying to scam me. At that time he said he would have to reject my application for medicare. This person is a worker for the SSA. I checked his name & phone number through our local office. I don't know what to believe anymore. I am told I can't deal with anyone else because my account is assigned to him. I have called him three times and he has not returned my calls.


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