World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is on June 15. On this day and throughout the month, communities, seniors, caregivers, governments, organizations and the private sector unite to prevent the mistreatment of and violence against older people.
Social Security imposter scams are widespread across the United States. Scammers use sophisticated tactics to deceive people into providing sensitive information or money. They target everyone – even the elderly – and their tactics continue to evolve.
Most recently, the Social Security’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has received reports of phone scammers creating fake versions of the identification badges most federal employees use to gain access to federal buildings. The scammers may text or email photos of the fake badges to convince potential victims of their legitimacy. These badges use government symbols, words and even names and photos of real people, which are available on government websites or through internet searches.
If someone receives a suspicious letter, text, email, or call, hang up or do not respond. The person should know how to identify when it is actually Social Security. The Social Security Administration will never:
- Text or email images of an employee’s official government identification.
- Suspend a person’s Social Security number
- Threaten a person with arrest or other legal action unless the person immediately pays a fine or fee
- Require payment by retail gift card, wire transfer, internet currency or cash by mail
- Promise a benefit increase or other assistance in exchange for payment
- Send official letters or reports containing someone’s personal information via email.
The Social Security Administration only sends text messages if a person has opted in to receive texts from it and only in limited situations, including the following:
- When a person subscribed to receive updates and notifications by text
- As part of Social Security’s enhanced security when accessing a personal Social Security account
If someone owes money to the Social Security Administration, it will mail a letter with payment options and appeal rights.
Citizens are encouraged to report suspected Social Security imposter scams — and other Social Security fraud — to the OIG website at oig.ssa.gov. Read previous Social Security fraud advisories at oig.ssa.gov/newsroom/news-release. Please share this information with friends and family to help spread awareness about Social Security imposter scams.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Social Security Administration could not receive visitors at its field office except for previously arranged appointments on special limited critical situations. However, it continues providing services by phone and internet.
If there are questions on Social Security benefits and services, please access www.socialsecurity.gov. People can also access the automated services at 1-800-772-1213 or call a local Social Security office from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. To locate the telephone number of a local field office, input the residential zip code at www.ssa.gov/locator/.