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Social Security

Callers may not be who they say they are


Vonda VanTil

Public Affairs Specialist

A widespread telephone scam involves callers claiming they’re from Social Security. The caller ID may even show a government number.

These callers may say there’s a problem with your Social Security number. They also may threaten to arrest you unless you pay a fine or fee using gift cards, pre-paid debit cards, a wire transfer, or cash.

That call is not from us. It is a scam.

If you receive a suspicious call from someone alleging to be from Social Security, you should:

•      Hang up right away.

•      Never provide personal information, money, or retail gift cards.

•      Report the scam at to Social Security’s law enforcement team at the Office of the Inspector General.


Social Security will not:

•      Threaten you.

•      Tell you that your Social Security Number has been suspended.

•      Call you to demand an immediate payment.

•      Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

•      Require a specific means of debt repayment, such as a prepaid 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:

•      Sometimes call to confirm you filed for a claim or to discuss other ongoing business you have with them.

•      Mail you a letter if there is a problem.

•      Mail a letter if you need to submit payments. The letters 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.

Share this information with your family and friends.


Vonda Van Til is the public affairs specialist for West Michigan. You may write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email to


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