The Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has received reports of a new scam. Victims have received emails with attachments that appear to come from Social Security or the OIG demanding they comply.
The letters may use official letterhead and government “jargon” to convince victims they are legitimate. However, they may also contain misspellings and grammar mistakes which can be a tip-off that they are fake.
Scammers are also making phone calls that are either live calls or robocalls. The caller claims to be a federal employee who says there is identity theft or another problem with your Social Security number, account, or benefits. The fake calls may threaten arrest or other legal action or may offer to increase payments, protect assets, or resolve identity theft. They often demand payment via retail gift card, cash transfer, internet, prepaid debit card or currency such as Bitcoin. The OIG says this is the latest variation on what is a widespread and long-running scam involving Social Security.
The Social Security Administration is reminding the public that the agency will never:
Threaten you with arrest or other legal action for not paying a fine or fee.
Promise a benefit increase or other assistance in exchange for payment.
Require payment by retail gift card, money transfer, internet currency, or prepaid debit card.
Send official letters or reports containing personally identifiable information via email.
If there is ever a problem with your Social Security number or record, in most cases, Social Security will mail you a letter. If you do need to submit payments to Social Security, the agency will send a message with instructions and payment options.
You should never pay a government fee or fine using retail gift cards, cash, internet currency, wire transfers, or prepaid debit cards. Scammers ask for payment this way because it is tough to trace and recover.
If you receive a call or email that you believe to be suspicious about a problem with your Social Security number or account, hang up or do not respond. Also, you should report Social Security scams using SSA’s dedicated online form: https://oig.ssa.gov/
Additional information about how to stay protected from scams and the latest warnings from SSA about recent scams is available at https://oig.ssa.gov/scam
Call the Pima County Sheriff’s Auxiliary Volunteers with information about scams and frauds. To contact the Scam Squad directly, 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday, call (520) 351-6715, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. To report suspicious activity or a particular incident of fraud (which is a scam involving a loss of money) call (520) 351-4900. You may also check our Web site at GVSAV.org.
If you are interested in becoming a Sheriff's Auxiliary Volunteer, please email email@example.com for an application or call (520) 351-6746.