Office of Environment, Health, Safety & Security

Possible Scam Regarding OPM Social Media Checks

July 19, 2016

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On May 12, 2016, the Security Executive Agent signed the Security Executive Agent Directive (SEAD) 5, “Collection, Use, and Retention of Publicly Available Social Media Information in Personnel Security Background Investigations and Adjudications.” SEAD 5 “addresses the collection and use of publicly available social media information during the conduct of personnel security background investigations and adjudications for determining initial and continue eligibility for access to classified national security information or eligibility to hold a sensitive positions and the retention of such information.”

In conjunction with the signing of SEAD 5, the Office of Personnel Management updated the Authorization for Release of Information form of the Standard Form 86 (SF86), Questionnaire for National Security Positions, to include the notice of the collection of social media information. Only publicly available social media information pertaining to the covered individual under investigation shall intentionally be collected. Information inadvertently collected relating to other individuals will not be retained unless that information is relevant to a security determination of the covered individual. 

Covered individuals shall not be requested or required to: 1) provide passwords; 2) login into a private account; or 3) take any action that would disclose non-publicly available social media information. If you are contacted by someone during the course of your security clearance background investigation or periodic reinvestigation and asked to provide login information, log into your account, or asked to disclose non-publicly available social media information DO NOT comply and contact the Department of Energy Office of Departmental Personnel Security Office at (link sends e-mail). Please provide the investigators name, action requested and as much detail as possible about the incident.

As a reminder, at any time you are contacted by an individual who states that they are an investigator from OPM, you may verify their identity at (888) 795-5673 or If you have questions about background investigations and the investigations process, please contact OPM at

If you have any questions concerning this posting, please contact the Office of Departmental Personnel Security at