Protect Yourself Against Phone Scams

Scammer talks on a phone with a senior man and trying to steal money out of his pocket.

Scammers pretending to be government employees try to scare and trick people into giving out their personal information and money. Some of them make threats and demand immediate payment to avoid arrest or other legal action.


  • The government will never call out of the blue and ask for a social security number.
  • The government will never ask for payment by gift card or wire transfer.
  • Social security numbers cannot be suspended.

 What to Look for

Man in robber mask sneaking away with a Social Security card.

  • The call or email says there is a problem with your Social Security Number or account.
  • Someone asks you to pay a fine or debt with retail gift cards, wire transfers, prepaid debit cards, internet currency, or by mailing cash.
  • Scammers who pretend they’re from Social Security or another government agency. Caller ID or documents sent by email may look official but they are not.
  • Callers threaten you with arrest or other legal action.


Alert notification on the smartphone screen.

  • Hang up immediately and report the call at
  • Never click on an e-mail link or attachment unless you know the person who sent it and you verify with them that their email has not been hacked.
  • Never pay someone you do not know well with a gift card or wire transfer.
  • Do not give out your personal or financial information, including your Medicare or Social Security numbers, or any banking information to people whose identify you cannot verify.

Learn More

Social Security Administration Scam Awareness
Developmental Disabilities Administration Caregiver Alert: Phishing and Vishing

Thumbnail image of the Scams one page bulletin.

Protect Yourself From Phone Scams (PDF)


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