Social Security launches a new tool for seniors to fight fraud

Nov 27, 2019

Washington, D. C. — The Social Security Administration and its Office of the Inspector General have launched a new tool to combat the Social Security scam, Sen. Susan Collins' office announced today.

The portal, which is prominently displayed on the OIG’s website (oig.ssa.gov/), allows consumers to easily report instances of the Social Security impostor scam. The data will help the OIG identify investigative leads, which could help track down criminal entities or individuals participating in or facilitating these scams.

Sen. Collins, R-Maine, who chairs the Senate Aging Committee, has sent a letter urging the SSA and SSA OIG to strengthen their response to the Social Security scam.

In addition, this week Collins joined Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), the ranking member of the Aging Committee, in requesting additional information from SSA OIG about their efforts to address this increasingly prevalent crime.

The Social Security scam involves criminals impersonating Social Security staff and calling victims to tell them that their Social Security number has been compromised and used by someone else.

In another iteration of this scam, Mainers are told that their Social Security number has been suspended and that there is a warrant for their arrest. The fraudsters claim they need additional information from victims to verify their identity. In phone messages, often with a digitized voice, Mainers also are being told their benefits have been suspended.

In July 2019, the Federal Trade Commission announced that the Social Security scam tops the list of most reported frauds, and the Aging Committee’s Fraud Hotline (1-855-303-9470) has received a significant increase in complaints about the Social Security scam since last year.

As a reminder, Social Security will not:

  • Tell people that their Social Security number has been suspended.
  • Contact people to demand an immediate payment.
  • Require a specific means of debt repayment, like a prepaid debit card, a retail gift card, or cash.
  • Demand payment for a Social Security debt without the ability to appeal the amount owed.
  • Promise a Social Security benefit approval, or increase, in exchange for information or money.

 

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