The Inspector General has warned Social Security benefit recipients of scam calls, but this problem is even worse during the current crisis. People posing as SSA employees may call and make threats saying that due to Coronavirus,  if you do not pay a fee your Social Security number or benefits will be cut off. Some scammers have even scared their victims by saying that they will send police to have them arrested if they do not pay. These scams are not just by phone, but by letter, text and email as well. They  have taken advantage of the health crisis we are experiencing now by telling their targets that The Social Security Administration will suspend benefits because their offices are closed. Social Security Offices are closed to the public, but their work continues through their employees telecommuting. The Inspector General reminds us of the following:

Social Security will never:

  • Threaten you with benefit suspension, arrest, or other legal action unless you pay a fee.
  • Promise a benefit increase or other assistance in exchange for payment.
  • Require payment by retail gift card, cash, wire transfer, internet currency, or prepaid debit card.
  • Demand secrecy from you in handling a Social Security-related problem.
  • Send official letters or reports containing personally identifiable information via email.

The Social Security Administration is taking action to stop these scams. The Department of Justice has filed injunctions against five telecommunications companies and their owners who are responsible for some of these calls. The injunction will stop their calls from foreign call centers to the U.S. These injunctions have been upheld, but fault has not yet been found as these cases are still being litigated.