Beware: Callers Impersonating Government Agencies Seeking Private Information

Published 05/22/2018

You hear it nearly every day: scammers calling households and asking for specific and personally identifiable information. This could include your Social Security Number, credit card numbers, etc. This week the Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a fraud alert regarding phony calls that appear to be made from their office.

Per the HHS OIG:
‘The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently confirmed that the HHS OIG Hotline telephone number is being used as part of a telephone spoofing scam targeting individuals throughout the country. These scammers represent themselves as HHS OIG Hotline employees and can alter the appearance of the caller ID to make it seem as if the call is coming from the HHS OIG Hotline 1-800-HHS-TIPS (1-800-447-8477). The perpetrator may use various tactics to obtain or verify the victim’s personal information, which can then be used to steal money from an individual’s bank account or for other fraudulent activity. HHS OIG takes this matter seriously. We are actively investigating this matter and intend to have the perpetrators prosecuted.

'It is important to know that HHS OIG will not use the HHS OIG Hotline telephone number to make outgoing calls and individuals should not answer calls from 1-800-HHS-TIPS (1-800-447-8477)'.

For more information, please visit the HHS OIG website. The website indicates different ways to notify the HHS OIG if you have been targeted via this process. 

The IRS Alerts:
Another tactic being used is when callers identify themselves as from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), saying you owe back-taxes and that you need to pay them immediately (on the phone) in order to avoid being prosecuted.  Information on this scam can be found on the IRS website. As with the HHS OIG issue, the IRS webpage also has methods to contact them if you have been targeted through by this practice.

If you have any other concerns about other potential fraud and abuse, you may contact our Beneficiary Contact Center at 800-833-4455, or for the hearing impaired, call TTY/TDD at 877-566-3572. Customer Service Representatives are available Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. ET.  We also encourage you to visit our Facebook page at  

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