While not necessarily a new type of scam, the rates of government impostor scams are beginning to rapidly increase across the nation, particularly from scammers claiming to represent the Social Security Administration (SSA). As tax season comes to a close and the rate of IRS-impersonation scams begins to decline, SSA impersonators rise to take their place. In 2020, more than $395,000 was lost to government impostor scams across the nation and, in Texas, 79% of these scams claim that they are representatives of the SSA, according to BBB Scam Tracker data.
In a May 2021 Semiannual Report to Congress, the inspector general of the SSA reported that the rates of social security fraud calls increased exponentially between May-August 2020. Additionally, scammers are using advanced techniques to convince victims of their legitimacy, including using official SSA phone numbers, employee names, official logos or symbols and fabricated federal badges. In some cases, scammers are texting or emailing copies of these badges to victims to convince a wary consumer of their legitimacy.
To combat against impersonators, the Office of the Inspector General for the Social Security Administration states that the SSA will never:
• Text or email images of an employee’s official government identification
• Suspend your Social Security number
• Threaten you with arrest or other legal action unless you immediately pay a fine or fee
• Require payment by retail gift card, wire transfer,…