Social Security numbers are the skeleton key to identity theft. And what better way to get someone’s Social Security number than by pretending to be from Social Security?
Social Security's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) received about 360,000 reports of Social Security impersonators and related scams in 2021. That's a steep drop from 2020's record-breaking numbers, according to a recent OIG report to Congress, but it’s not for lack of trying on the scammers’ part: T-Mobile estimates that of the 21 billion scam calls flagged by its customer security tools last year, 10 percent — or more than 2 billion — were from Social Security impostors.
One common tactic involves fake Social Security Administration (SSA) employees calling about supposed problems with your Social Security number — for example, warning that it's been linked to criminal activity and suspended. They ask you to confirm your number so they can reactivate it or claim they can issue you a new one for a fee.
This is no emergency, but a ploy to get money and personal data. Social Security does not block or suspend numbers, ever.
This con is often executed via robocall — the recording provides a number for you to call to remedy the problem. In other versions, the caller threatens to seize your bank account due to illicit activity or offers to help you transfer your money to keep it safe.