The Inspector General for the Social Security Administration, Gail S. Ennis, is designating Thursday, March 5, 2020 as National “Slam the Scam” Day, to raise public awareness of government imposter telephone scams across the United States.
These pervasive scams—in which callers pretend to be government employees to mislead victims into providing personal information or making payments—have become a scourge on the American public. The Federal Trade Commission recently reported victims lost nearly $153 million to government imposter scams in just fiscal year 2019. Social Security-related scams in particular have skyrocketed over the past year to become the #1 type of consumer fraud reported to the Federal Trade Commission and the Social Security Administration.
To combat these scams, the Social Security Administration and its OIG have undertaken a public outreach campaign to educate the public so they will know how to identify these scam calls. We want the public to know SSA will never:
- Tell you that your Social Security number has been suspended, or offer to increase your benefits or resolve an identity theft issue for a fee
- Call to threaten you with arrest or legal action if you do not immediately pay a debt, fine, or fee.
- Request immediate payment via gift cards, cash, wire transfers, or internet currency like Bitcoin.
- Demand secrecy from you in handling a Social Security-related problem, or tell you to make up a story to tell your friends, family, or store/bank employees.
The Social Security Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is engaging other Federal agencies and the private sector to promote a National “Slam the Scam Day” as a National Consumer Protection Week initiative. On March 5, we plan to participate in a USA.gov-hosted Twitter chat, and a Facebook Live event at Social Security. We want to warn all Americans to hang up on all government imposters, and ask them to spread the word to family and friends.
“Awareness is our best hope to thwart the scammers,” Inspector General Ennis said.“Tell your friends and family about these scams and report them to us when you receive them, but most importantly, just hang up and ignore the calls.”
We encourage the public to report Social Security scams online at https://oig.ssa.gov. IRS imposter scams can be reported to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, and other government imposter scams to the Federal Trade Commission.
Look for us on Facebook and Twitter for updates about National “Slam the Scam” Day events. For questions or interview requests, email email@example.com or call (410) 965-2671.
Submitted press release.
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