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How to Recognize Scammers and Avoid Scams

The following tips were taken from the Protect Yourself from Government Imposter Scams handout (.pdf) prepared by the Social Security Administration as part of its annual #SlamtheScam campaign.

Recognize Scammers. They may:

  • PRETEND to be from an agency or organization you know.
  • Say there’s a PROBLEM or promise a prize.
  • PRESSURE you to act immediately.
  • Tell you to PAY in a specific way.

How to avoid a scam:

  • REMAIN CALM. Talk to someone you trust.
  • HANG UP OR IGNORE the message. DO NOT click on links or attachments.
  • PROTECT YOUR MONEY. Criminals will insist that you pay in a hard-to-trace manner, such as with a gift card, prepaid debit card, cryptocurrency, wire transfer, money transfer, or by mailing cash.
  • PROTECT YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION. Be skeptical of a contact you didn’t initiate.
  • SPREAD THE WORD. Share your knowledge of Social Security-related scams. Post on social media using the hashtag #SlamtheScam to share your experience and warn others. Visit for more information.

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