Your phone rings. The number on your caller ID looks official. The person on the other end says there's a problem with your Social Security account. They may ask you to give them personal information like your Social Security or bank account number. They may tell you that 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.
These calls are not from the Social Security Administration. I want to help you protect yourself.
Social Security will not:
- Threaten you.
- Call you to demand an immediate payment.
- Ask you for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Tell you that your Social Security Number has been or might be suspended.
- 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.
Social Security will:
- Mail you a letter if there is a problem.
- Sometimes call to confirm you filed for a claim or to discuss ongoing business you have with them.
- 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 receive a suspicious call from someone alleging to be from Social Security:
I also want you to know that House Democrats have taken action to protect American consumers from robocall fraud and abuse. Last July, I was proud to vote yes on bipartisan legislation to hold scammers accountable and prevent these calls from happening in the first place. Our bill was signed into law on December 30th, and I look forward to continuing to work together with my colleagues to help end abusive robocalls and scams.
- Hang up right away.
- Never give your personal information, money, or retail gift cards.
- Report the scam at oig.ssa.gov/ to Social Security’s law enforcement team at the Office of the Inspector General (OIG).
Please remember that if you're having trouble with something I can assist with - such as Social Security benefits - you can visit my website for information on how I can help.
James P. McGovern
Member of Congress