How to Spot a Social Security Scam (and What to Do About It)

Here are a scam's red flags and how to report it if someone tries to scam you. The first things to do if a scammer contacts you: Remain calm and ignore them.

A man in a dark hoodie with the hood up uses a smartphone against a dark background.
(Image credit: Alamy)

“I manage a fulfillment center in the South that assures products ordered on e-commence websites actually reach the customer. Recently, our computer data was stolen, including names and ages of all employees. Then Marie got a phone call from someone claiming to be from Social Security. The caller wanted her to send $500, or she could be arrested for fraud. She asked me to listen, and it was an obvious scam! And then other employees got similar calls from people claiming to be with the IRS and different governmental agencies, demanding money. I think you should address these issues, as older people are often too trusting. Thanks, ‘Terry.’”

I checked in with Nilsa Henriquez, public affairs specialist in the Press Office of the Social Security Administration. “Sadly, we hear about these scams on a daily basis,” she said. “March 7 (was) Slam the Scam Day, and with the help of the Office of the Inspector General and the Federal Trade Commission, we explain(ed) to the public how these scams work and ways of protecting yourself from losing personal information and your money.”

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H. Dennis Beaver, Esq.
Attorney at Law, Author of "You and the Law"

After attending Loyola University School of Law, H. Dennis Beaver joined California's Kern County District Attorney's Office, where he established a Consumer Fraud section. He is in the general practice of law and writes a syndicated newspaper column, "You and the Law." Through his column he offers readers in need of down-to-earth advice his help free of charge. "I know it sounds corny, but I just love to be able to use my education and experience to help, simply to help. When a reader contacts me, it is a gift."