As many as 56 million Americans have fallen prey to phone scammers, losing nearly $20 billion, according to the app Truecaller. In one of the most common ploys, scammers pose as government officials from the Social Security Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Health and Human Services or another agency. They try to lure their victims with promises of fictitious lottery winnings or they try to threaten them with some sort of imminent legal action.
Protect yourself (and your bank account). 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.
The best defense against a suspicious call is to just hang up.