Recently, there has be an uptick in reports of scam calls claiming to be from the Social Security Administration. During these calls the scammer tells their potential victim that they will not be receiving their Social Security check because they have been “blacklisted” or they are in trouble with the authorities. We believe one of the reasons these calls have “bubbled up” might be because people are aware of the IRS scam and scammers are looking for a different way to scare their victim into sending money or sharing their personal information.

If you receive an unsolicited call from someone claiming to be with Social Security or another government entity such as the IRS, Medicare or a government grants department, it is a scam. If the call seems legitimate and you are still unsure if it is a scam, the following are some red flags of typical government imposter scams:

  • The caller is aggressive, threatening or offensive
  • They require payment via wire transfer, credit card or prepaid debit card
  • You are expected to act immediately
  • They threaten to involve local authorities or judges to have you arrested
  • You are asked to keep the transaction a secret from friends and family
  • They ask you to verify information that you would expect them to already know (Social Security number, address, etc.)

If you receive a call from a government imposter, hang up right away. If you are still unsure, hang up and call the entity yourself. You can reach Social Security at 800-772-1213. If you have questions about scam calls from government imposters call an AARP Foundation ElderWatch volunteer specialist at 800-222-4444, option 2.