How to Avoid a Social Security Scam

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Social Security numbers (SSNs) are like bank and credit card account numbers— unauthorized access can create serious problems for the owner. Scammers hope to use your knowledge of this simple fact against you by falsely claiming that your SSN has fallen into the hands of criminals, and they need your help to resolve the situation. 

Fraudsters use a variety of tactics to scare you into acting before you think of verifying their statements. One of their favorite methods is posing as a government employee. This common fraud scheme begins with a live phone call or voice mail from a fake Social Security Administration (SSA) representative. Your caller ID reads SSA, so the call appears to be from a real government agency. The urgent communication claims that there is a problem with your SSN or that it's linked to a federal crime. They may often threaten that they have to suspend your SSN, which means you'll have trouble filing federal income tax returns, applying for credit or a job, and receiving federal benefits if you don't act fast. These claims are made to stoke fear so you'll be motivated to do what they say.

The imposter assures you they can resolve any issues if you pay them with a gift card or pre-paid debit card within 24 hours. The amount can be significant, even over $1,500! In a panic, you purchase the card, call them back, and give the representative the numbers on the back of the gift card along with the PIN. To ensure SSA credits the payment to the correct account, the scammer says they also need your complete SSN before ending the call. Once they have this information, you both hang up. Further attempts to contact them are met with disconnected phone numbers and bounced email addresses. Don't fall for this scam and look out for these common red flags:

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  • Requests for payment via wire transfer, cash, or gift cards to resolve a problem.
  • Threats of dire consequences for failing to act quickly.
  • Automated or live calls claiming you'll be arrested if you do not respond.
  • Unsolicited calls, emails, or text messages to verify part or all of your SSN.
If you receive an unexpected call from someone claiming to be a SSA representative, don't give out any information. Hang up immediately and report the call to the SSA's Office of the Inspector General. Remember that callers can spoof real SSA phone numbers so the calls may appear legitimate. Share this information with others and be cautious of any contact claiming to be from a government agency. Speak with a trusted friend or family member before taking any action. It could help reduce this crime in your community!


*Logix Federal Credit Union is not affiliated with any of the external sources referenced in this article, and is a separate entity.

Please contact Logix at (800) 328-5328 or visit if you have any questions about this topic or would like to consider opening an account. 

Meet the blogger

Sherlogix Holmes

Sherlogix Holmes

All things fraud news and fraud prevention tips presented by Logix Fraud Risk Management. We know the importance of staying apprised of fraud trends and want to share our knowledge so you, too, can combat fraud and spread the word to family and friends.