Social Security fraud is a serious crime that can have devastating consequences for the victims. In fact, there were 568,000 reported Social Security-related scam attempts in 2021, with more than $63.6 million in documented victim losses.The elderly and disabled are particularly at risk, as they may be less able to protect themselves financially if their benefits are taken away.
If you suspect that someone is committing Social Security fraud, report it to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) as soon as possible. It also may be necessary to contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and local law enforcement. The sooner the authorities are alerted, the better chance they have of catching the culprit and preventing further harm.
Reporting Social Security fraud and other identity theft can feel overwhelming, but Aura simplifies the process by providing 24/7 White Glove customer service. Aura’s representatives are experts in fraud remediation, and they guide members through steps necessary to secure their personal information and report the fraud.
What Is Social Security Fraud?
Social Security fraud occurs when someone illegally obtains benefits from the Social Security Administration. This can happen in a number of ways, including but not limited to:
- Stealing another person’s Social Security number or other personal information in order to receive benefits.
- Filing claims under someone else’s Social Security number.
- Filing false or misleading information on a benefits application.
- Using a deceased person’s Social Security number to collect benefits.
- Collecting benefits while failing to report income from other sources.
- Buying or selling Social Security cards.
What Are The Consequences Of Social Security Fraud?
Victims of Social Security fraud may suffer serious financial consequences. For example, if someone steals your Social Security number to collect benefits, you may find that your own benefits are reduced or suspended. And if you’re the victim of identity theft, you may have to spend substantial time and money repairing the damage to your credit and reputation.
Aura reduces the financial impacts of Social Security fraud and other types of identity theft by providing users $1 million in identity theft insurance* for eligible identity theft losses. An Aura representative will also help you protect your personal information moving forward and mitigate harm caused by the fraudster.
When to Report Social Security Fraud
There are certain things the Social Security Administration will never do, and information a Social Security Administration representative will never request. If you experience any of these things, report them—as you may be the victim of Social Security fraud:
- Threats to suspend your Social Security number.
- Requests to keep a conversation secret.
- Threats of arrest or legal action.
- Promises to increase your Social Security benefits.
- Pressure to provide personal information.
- Demands for immediate payment.
- Requests for payment via gift card, prepaid debit card, Internet currency or cash by mail.
If you experience any of these things, hang up the phone or refrain from returning the problematic call, text or email. Then, report the scam to the Office of the Inspector General.
How To Report Social Security Fraud to the Social Security Administration
If you think someone is committing Social Security fraud, report it by calling the SSA’s Office of Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or by visiting the OIG website. To further protect your identity, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission by calling 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338) or by using its online Complaint Assistant.
When making a report, provide as much information about the victim(s) and suspected fraudster as possible, including names, addresses, Social Security numbers and other relevant details. If possible, also include a description of the fraud, when and where it took place, how it was committed and other pertinent information. If you have any documentation to support your claim, such as a benefits application or bank statement, include that as well.
If you believe you are a victim of Social Security fraud, don’t hesitate to report it. By taking action, you can help put a stop to this crime and prevent further harm.
Additional Place to Report Social Security Fraud
In addition to reporting the incident to the OIG, take the following steps if you believe you have fallen victim to Social Security fraud:
- File a police report where you live or in the area where the fraud took place.
- Review your Social Security earning record by logging into your my Social Security account.
- Order a free credit report to look for other suspicious activity.
- Contact the IRS if you suspect someone is using your Social Security number to work.
What Happens After You Report Social Security Fraud?
When you report social security fraud, the Social Security Administration investigates your claim as a federal crime. If the administration finds evidence of fraud, it may take legal action against the accused. This could include criminal charges and penalties, such as imprisonment up to five years and fines up to $250,000.
The SSA also may suspend or terminate benefits that were obtained fraudulently. If you’re the victim of identity theft, the SSA also can help you protect your Social Security number and get your benefits back on track.
Other Ways to Protect Yourself from Social Security Fraud
Reporting Social Security fraud is necessary to catch the perpetrators and prevent further harm. But there are a few simple steps that can prevent Social Security fraud from happening in the first place.
- Keep your Social Security card in a safe place, and do not say your number out loud in public. Likewise, do not carry your Social Security number unless necessary.
- Never click on links or open attachments in unsolicited emails, even if they appear to be from the SSA. These may contain malware that can steal your personal information.
- Review your Social Security statement annually to make sure no one is using your number without your knowledge.
- Don’t be embarrassed if you accidentally share your information or think you are a victim of fraud. Report it immediately and take steps to protect your identity and prevent financial loss.
How To Protect Yourself From Identity Theft
Identity theft is a serious crime that can have a lasting impact on your life. It can damage your credit, ruin your finances and cause a great deal of stress. In addition to protecting your personal information and reporting suspicious activity on your credit report and Social Security statements, choose a platform like Aura to monitor your identity on the web.
Aura notifies users if their personal information is found on the Dark Web and if a suspicious credit inquiry or unauthorized account activity is detected. Users can further protect their Social Security number and other personal information with Aura’s military-grade VPN, identity theft insurance*, password protection and White Glove support.
* Identity Theft Insurance underwritten by insurance company subsidiaries or affiliates of American International Group‚ Inc. The description herein is a summary and intended for informational purposes only and does not include all terms, conditions and exclusions of the policies described. Please refer to the actual policies for terms, conditions, and exclusions of coverage. Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions.