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Social Security warns of COVID-19 scams

 

March 25, 2020



Inspector General of Social Security Gail S. Ennis is warning the public about fraudulent letters threatening suspension of Social Security benefits due to COVID-19 or coronavirus-related office closures.

The Social Security Administration will not suspend or discontinue benefits because their offices are closed.

The Social Security Office of the Inspector General has received reports that Social Security beneficiaries have received letters through the U.S. Mail stating their payments will be suspended or discontinued unless they call a phone number referenced in the letter. Scammers may then mislead beneficiaries into providing personal information or payment via retail gift cards, wire transfers, internet currency, or by mailing cash, to maintain regular benefit payments during this period of COVID-19 office closures.

As of Tuesday, March 17, local SSA offices are closed to the public due to COVID-19 concerns; however, Social Security employees continue to work. Social Security will not suspend or decrease Social Security benefit payments or Supplemental Security Income payments due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Any communication people receive that says SSA will do so is a scam, whether they receive it by letter, text, email, or phone call.

Social Security will never:

• Threaten people with benefit suspension, arrest, or other legal action unless they pay a fine or fee:

• Promise a benefit increase or other assistance in exchange for payment;

• Require payment by retail gift cared, cash wire transfer, internet currency, or prepaid debit card;

• Demand secrecy from people in handling a Social Security-related problem; or

• Send officials letter or reports containing personally identifiable information via mail.

People who received a letter, text, call or email that they believe to be suspicious, about an alleged problem with their Social Security number, account, or payments, hang up or do not respond.

SSA encourages people to report Social Security scams using the dedicated online form at https://oig.ssa.gov .

People are asked to share this information with their friends and family, to help spread awareness about Social Security scams.

For more information, people can visit https://oig.ssa.gov/scam .

 

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