Social Security fraud affects all Americans. Social Security fraud is a crime. If someone applies for retirement benefits by using another person’s Social Security number, that’s a form of Social Security fraud. If someone else uses a Social Security number that doesn’t belong to him or her to get a job, that’s another form of Social Security fraud. Social Security fraud can extend to getting medical insurance or other benefits that the applicant can’t get on his or her own.
Before you report Social Security fraud, make sure you’ve got as much evidence as possible to present to Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Office of the Inspector General (OIG). Until the fraud allegation is proven, professionals at the OIG Allegation Management and Fugitive Enforcement Division review the case. Obviously, making a false statement about anyone else is also a criminal offense. Read more about Social Security fraud at the Office of the Inspector General site.
Social Security Fraud and False Claim Statements
If you’re aware that another person has made false statements on his or her application for Social Security retirement benefits, it’s important to tell Social Security. SSA considers a false statement as something the applicant knowingly reports as a true statement when it isn’t.
Examples of false statements may include:
An individual states he or she is single when in fact he or she is married or involved in a domestic partnership.
He or she requests retirement benefits but has an all cash business on the side.
He or she uses Social Security income credits earned by someone else to access retirement benefits.
If you’re aware that another individual or group is committing Social Security fraud, it’s important to report it to Social Security Administration (SSA) authorities. Reporting Social Security fraud can prevent waste and misuse of precious benefit dollars. Retired workers and millions of workers who plan to retire in the future depend on Social Security’s viability and financial strength.
Contact the OIG office’s hotline to report Social Security fraud at 1-800-269-0271 (10 am to 4 pm EST). You may also submit a Social Security fraud report online, by fax at 1-410-597-0118,or by US mail. Write the OIG at Social Security Fraud Hotline, PO Box 17785, Baltimore, Md. 21235.
Buying and Selling Social Security Cards
Unfortunately, buying or selling legitimate and counterfeit Social Security cards is big business in the United States. It’s also Social Security fraud and a crime. If you know that another person or business is engaged in buying and selling Social Security cards, contact the OIG right away:
Tell the OIG who’s involved in the buying or selling of cards? Provide names, addresses, phone number, birth dates, and other identifying information.
If you know the alleged criminal’s Social Security number or tax identification number, provide it to OIG.
Explain where and to whom the Social Security cards are being sold. Tell OIG how someone who wants to purchase a Social Security card contacts the alleged criminal seller
Indicate how much the Social Security card costs and explain how the buyer pays the seller.
Many people have concerns about reporting Social Security fraud. It’s possible to remain anonymous, but also important to know that your anonymity can prevent SSA from completely investigating the Social Security fraud allegation. That said, your identity can be held in confidence to the full extent of the law.
Social Security Fraud in Social Security Administration
Social Security fraud happens within SSA on a relatively infrequent basis. Examples of Social Security fraud within the agency includes the sale of Social Security cards or stealing or diverting Social Security retirement benefit checks intended for legitimate beneficiaries.
Other examples of Social Security fraud can include criminal impersonal of SSA employees. If you receive a suspicious call from an individual who claims to work for Social Security—and the individual seeks to identify your bank account or other financial information, date of birth, etc., it’s important to report the alleged Social Security fraud. Get as much information as possible, including the caller’s name, office number (all Social Security offices have assigned local numbers), date-time of call, and the information the caller wanted from you.
Social Security fraud in SSA is a series crime and, like any external fraud, should be reported to the OIG Social Security Fraud Hotline.
Common Types of Social Security Fraud
Social Security fraud takes many common forms. Report the following types of Social Security retirement benefits fraud:
Family members continue to cash Social Security checks belonging to a deceased beneficiary
Individuals receiving Social Security retirement benefits continue to work without reporting other earned income. A business owner who insists on cash only payments might not report income for tax purposes or earn Social Security benefits.
He or she brags about using someone else’s Social Security card to get a job.
It’s important to check your My Social Security Account page on a regular basis. If the information doesn’t look right, notify Social Security right away at 1-800-772-1213. You may be a victim of Social Security fraud.