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Who’s pretending to be the government now?

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You’ve gotten the calls: from Social Security. Or the IRS. Or Medicare. Or any number of other agencies. Except: as soon as the caller threatens you or demands that you pay them with a gift card or by wiring money, you know. It’s a scam. Even if caller ID tells you otherwise – that’s not the government calling.

The FTC’s latest Data Spotlight shows the surge in reports about government imposters. You know about the Social Security Administration (SSA) imposters who claim that your Social Security number has been linked to “criminal activity” and ask you to provide some information or money. (That’s a lie. The real SSA doesn’t work that way.) But those scammers are not alone: people are still telling the FTC that they’re getting calls from – and losing money to – scammers pretending to be the IRS, Medicare, a government grants group, or cops and the FBI.

Want to know more? Now there’s – dare we say – an awesome way for you to find out. And even create your own handout. You see the graphic here, but if you go to the dynamic, interactive version of the graphic, you can create a version that focuses on the time period or scam you’re most interested in.

Exploring the data can tell you, for example, that this year’s median losses to law enforcement imposters are the highest of all imposter scams (a whopping $3,000), and that 20% of the people who reported those scams told us they lost money. Those calls work because they’re scary. But now you can stay on top of the latest as data is updated every quarter. Or go back 5 years and see how things have changed.

And, of course, there are tips on how to spot government imposters scams. So if you want to share the handout you created with a few clicks, you’ll be able to tell people about not just the scope of the problem, but help them know what to do when they get the next call from the – ahem – government.


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


I get a call 2-3 times daily from (the government grants department) and they tell me that I have a grant for $7,000 waiting for me then they go on and ask me for information like social, phone, email. And I told them that the government doesn’t give out grants you have to ask for them. Anymore I just don’t answer and it doesn’t do any good to block the number they just keep calling. A couple times I got the same cal saying they were U.S. government and the caller I’d showed the call was coming from India.


Just got call from IRS (ha). Left return number 989 546 0364.

I got a scammer phone call on my home phone. The caller ID # 443-633-9026 appeared on my phone. It was about criminal activity with social security payments and asked us to call the number right away. Please Please do not call back any number you see on your caller ID.

Just to make you aware of some other pitfalls by calling back. The number can be out of the country & there is no way to distinguish this. You will be hit with a hefty long distance fee . I just got another call a few mins. ago and answered just for the heck of it and when he asked me my name I said you called me so you already have my name. He became so angry that he began to shout obsenities & when this didn't upset me since I just laughed at him he became angrier, so just hang up. They cannot be insulted!

I received a call today from 206-440-5799 they said the were with SS and was getting a warrant for my arrest press 1 to speak to a police officer I hung up tried to call number back I was told the number could not be completed as dialed check the number

At one time I would get about 5 or 6 scam calls a day. I looked at the number if it was not a number in my phone, I did not answer it. If it is important they will leave a message.

Now I get 1 or 2 a week.

I have received several calls in the past week. The number they call on, and want you to call, is 833-214-9111. They claim that there is criminal activity associated with "your" ssn and if you don' call back that there will be a warrant for "your" arrest. They don't use a persons name, just pronouns like you and your. I actually just got another call from them as I was typing this.

The phone number above is calling constantly and saying they are from the US Social Security office. When you tell them that you looked up they number and you are a scammer they talk in a foreign language. BEWARE

I got 4 calls on 7/9/2019 from 866-887-8997 - spanning between 10am and 6pm. The last call, at 5:34, I actually answered, listened to the automated thing and then pressed 1 to get someone on the phone. The MINUTE he answered I advised that I knew he was a scammer, the number he's calling from is reported as a scam all over the internet and that majority of US Citizens KNOW they're a scam. He hung up. Well guess what. I got a new call today at 12:50pm from a NEW number with a SIMILARLY urgent automated message.. this time from 800-496-3994.
There has got to be something we can do as a nation to protect ourselves from this

I have received 3 phone calls today from scammers pretending to be the Federal Grants and Treasury Department. they are stating that since I have paid my taxes on time and do not have a criminal record I have been approved for a Free $9,000 grant that I do not have to pay back, which is BS. They are calling from a Washington D.C. area code (202) and the numbers are 867-0634, 433-1052 and 578-6590.

I've recieved two calls this week. One was an overseas number saying my ss # was suspended for more information press 1. And another from a Chicago number saying that legal action is going to be taken againt me by the social security administartion and I should call back immediatly. I just hung up both times.

3606875576 called me saying was the goverment was giving me $7000. Then i hung up

I fell for the scam hook, line and sinker. I'm ashamed of it and wasn't strong enough to say no and hang up the phone. It's mistake I'll live with forever. I'm doing my best to shake it off and I'm starting by putting this comment out there for people to read. By doing so, learn from me and my mistake. Don't be like me, learn and be informed.

FYI, many people have been getting 3-6 calls with the exact same recording claiming to be the “Department of Social Security” all from unknown numbers or hidden locations. However, I was able to locate one call, in mainland China. I never believe these calls anyway, but it is clear they are not even calling from within the US. Just a heads up in case anyone is wondering about the validity of these calls; do not fall for them.

I received a call claiming from Social Security, that my number has been suspended due to suspicious activity, and to press 1. Did not follow thru, the number used was 242889365. I let call go to voicemail. Was a male voice sounding very authoritative. Be on alert everyone.

Received a call from a number 242889365. I did not answer went to voicemail. Retrieved voice message, male person very rough sounding saying Social Security Administration has suspended my number due to suspicious activity press 1 for details. Did not follow instructions just want people to be aware. And notify Social Security.

I would sign up for opt-out but it calls for your SS#. Everywhere you go, you are warned about giving out your SS#. Why does this agency ask for it?

You do NOT need to give your Social Security number when you add your phone number to the Do Not Call Registry.

You need to give the phone number you want to register and an email address. You will get a message at the email address within 72 hours after you register. You have to click on a link in the email address to complete the registration. That's it.

i just got a call earlier from the supposedly SSA...then it prompted me to click 1 so i did and some foriegn guy answers and asked if he could help i told him idk can he after all they called me so he then proceedes to ask me if my name is so n so i laughed and said first name yes last name no..i said that was my married name and ive not used it going on 15 yrs soon as i said that click he hung up...the number they called from is 765-799-3172...the gvnt needs to do something about these scammers its getting old !!!

Today I received a call from 407-802-3061, horrible experience. They were friendly in the beginning and then very rude. They gave me their names and supposed Badges Numbers. They told me that they were calling from Social Security Office and sound very real and legit. Please stop this people. I felt they invade my privacy.

I recieved calls in the last few days from caller id numbers (Wits 2001,Homeland Security,Defence security,etc.) all with 202-760/764 numbers. The messages were all the same and sounded unofficial about your social security is in danger and to speak with an agent. Let them go to voicemail.

I had a friend who gave me this person name about free grant money, so I filled out the application. Got a respond that I could get a certain amount of money, but I would have to pay him $2,000.00 in order to get it, and it has to be by a offgammer card. I told him either by check or credit card and he kept on saying no to that. Try to look him up in the Government agent section, but could not find him anywhere.

I've rec'd 3 calls within 30 minutes from 1-800-131-2897, 1-800-106-0257 and 1-800-164-3538. Same as other comments. Suspicious activity with your SSN. We have suspended. Press 1 for information about your case. I Blocked these calls, but they call back within a few minutes using a different number.

I've had 8 calls today so far from 1-800 numbers with this message from someone claiming to be from the Social Security Admin and said that "Your ss# had suspicious activity and has been suspended. Press 1 to get information about your case. Thank you."

I block the calls, then about 10 minutes later get another one from a different 1-800 leaving the same message when I don't answer. 1-800-144-3449, 1-800-118-3063, 1-800-162-9574, 1-800-178-8900, 1-800-131-2897, 1-800-106-0257, 1-800-164-3538

Growing up in as a child I remember the public service announcements on TV about 'signs of mental illness'; 'Smokey the Bear' ( to prevent forrest fires) and coming across explosive devices (from all the construction and building of the freeway systems). There are very few public announcements these days and instead just stupid commercials such as showing reckless driving ( to promote a cars performance), which encourage senseless driving and spending. Most people still watch the idiot box and those public service announcements warning people need to come back on.

There's a scam going on right now where people are calling you saying they're from the government and wanting to offer you a grant of $9,800 the phone number that they're giving is 36 0 844-2535 extension 1406 do not fall for the scam they want you to send them $200 to get the 9800

I just received a scam call and when I called 18002690271 it was no help. Report scam out to be on the first level, instead I had to go down several layers before I reached a " and all other problems" and then was told I had more than an hour wait.

It's almost like the administration is on the side of the scammers not the people.

I just received a call from (646) 257-7061. I did not answer, but the call said it was the social security office and they were suspending my number due to suspicious activity and if I didn't call them back, a warrant would be issued for my arrest.

I know your working hard on all of the calls placed by scammer. I have had at least 10 regarding SSN.
Now I need to find out if anybody has received an email from Apple stating you missed a payment and they are going to lock your phone. I've never missed a payment! I did open the email and clicked on the payment, but it came up Couldn't be found. So I went back to the original message and tried the web address..No response. That's when I figured out this was a scam. I have the email so if you would like I can forward to you.

I have getting these calls about social security number blocked and they go right to voicemail .. please don't believe that .it's a attempt to collect money and info .they need to put these. People in jail

I received a call from Officer Jennifer Walker on July 9, regarding fraudulent charges, or something like that. I am suppose to call them back before they proceed with action. 314-446-1614.

Every day for the last week on my cell I get a call from Amanda Barnes of SSA stating my SS number has been compromised in South Texas, it's a different number every time

Within the past 6 days, I've received two phone calls on my cell with the same recorded message but from different numbers so blocking is not going to work, I suppose. Both left the same recorded voicemail saying that they were going to start legal proceedings against me because I was supposedly suspected of using my social security number for "fraudulent purposes". They don't say who they are or where they're from but just tell me I have to call them. They don't provide a phone number so I assume they want me to call the 800-925-7308 or the 866-535-0051 numbers on caller I.D. on my cellphone. Any suggestions on how to stop someone like this who is using different numbers?

I received a call from Officer Jennifer Walker on July 9, regarding fraudulent charges, or something like that. I am suppose to call them back before they proceed with action. 314-446-1614.

Same voice calling that they are the IRS calling and going to bring charges against me.

Urgent call and to call them back at this phone #: 817-786-9256

Hi the scammers are getting creative and now calling my friends and family! I just got a call saying im being sued by the county of San Diego where I live. They left a court case number. They called my best friend and my mom. Left same voicemail. Really freaking them out. I looked up the court record and its total bogus. Someone named Corey Carter 855-235-8208. My "court case" is 59431305. Be careful with this type of scam. If your being sued, they will supina you in person.

My sister just called me AFTER she gave her ss# to a scammer claiming he was an agent at the border and a car had been confiscated loaded with drugs and with information pertaining to her, but he needed her to verify her ss#...and she did. When he started asking for her bank account and credit card numbers, she said that didn't seem right and he told her he would call the law and have her arrested, if she hung up. He then told her if she wanted to verify his credentials, she could call the number back that he was calling soon as she did, it was a blocked #! She is not up on all the scams out there because she can't even afford cable t.v. stations on her very limited social security income, she doesn't even know how to log on to a computer.

July 16
Call about social security number suspended from646-757-6892.

I'm receiving calls on a daily basis from someone purporting to be from the "federal student loan" service, wanting to discuss the 'repayment' of my federal student loan. I'm 71...a retired surgical technician and I never made a federal student loan. They come from different numbers, different names, etc. Latest was from 888 810 9308. I never answer numbers I don't recognize, so it went to voice mail. They wanted me to call 540 476 2672 and refer to the following number 00217. Of course I never responded, but I'm getting these calls 3 or 4 times a day...Sick to death of the 'bother'....

I got call 2 times, one at 7/16/2019 from (940)539-4250, one at 7/17/2019 from (415) 524-7175. I didn't pick up and they leave the same message:
"Social Security number by the federal crime and investigation department we need to talk to you as soon as possible again this call is from Social Security administration number to reach department is 415-524-7175 I repeat it 415-524-7175 thank you".

Will the FTC directly call on a consumer in regards to winnings from Publishers Clearinghouse? Or Chase Banking? I am getting repeat notices for me to claim my winnings.

I received a call today from 209-289-0639 recorded message stating that they received an order processed in their office to file several pending allegations in which i am currently being investigated for in their department. the message also states that they will be verifying my address and place of employment... and that I am to call them @ 203-800-5518. I did not call as I have no reason to believe that I have any allegations but this is still scary for me.

July 18, 2019 - I received a voicemail from 646-407-5861 saying, "We are informing you that we just suspend your social security # because we found some suspicious activity. So if you want to know about this case, just press one. Thank you. This call is from the Dept of Social Security Admin. The reason you have received this phone call from our dept is to inform you that we just suspend your social security # because we found some suspicious activity. So if you want to know about this case, just press one. Thank you."

Keep getting calls 800-801-8049 saying they're social security and deactivating my ssn. Has to be a scam. Watch out for it.

I find it very funny about these "callers" in that they don't speak very good English lol, I like to toy with them until they start cussing and hang up.

At 11:05 am to day 7/22/2019 I received a call from a woman who told me to call 301-682-2833 because my social security is being attached in a very serious matter and that I should contact a lawyer immediately. She didn't say why there is an attachment. Sshe called from # 833-822-2872. She didn't say who she was from.

I received phone call from 3212268840 call from ISS social security dept. criminal activity on my ss#’ call everyday now

I just received a call from someone stating they were from the Social Security Administration and there was a warrant out for my arrest; press 1 to speak to an agent. I don't know if the warrant was for me or my husband, since we both have the same phone number. I hung up the phone and looked up the number they called from. The number is 207-568-0240 in Thorndike, ME. I called it back and was told the number is not in service. Please beware. I don't know what they would have asked for if I had pressed "1". But I know the Social Security Administration will not make this type of call.

3 friends of mine have received large amounts of money from the Bill Gates foundation, supposedly, and have to give from $500 - $700 first. One agents phone number is 229-231-9405 using the name Dennis

Also Government donated funds to randomly chosen people by the Endowment for the Humanities financial assistance to assist financially retired,semi retired,disabled,workingand unemployed,i saw your name on winners list. This from a friend today. 802-267-3241. Are they legimate??? B4 i call.


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