Fraud Prevention and Reporting
We take fraud seriously and so should you
A message from Social Security
We are committed to preventing, detecting, and eliminating fraud in our programs.
Our mission is to deliver Social Security services that meet the changing needs of the public. Every day our employees work diligently to ensure the public receives the services and benefits it deserves. We strive to ensure the integrity of our programs and provide a high level of service to the public despite the efforts of those who seek to abuse our programs.
What is Social Security fraud?
Generally speaking, fraud involves obtaining something of value through willful misrepresentation. In the context of the Social Security program, our policy states that fraud exists when a person with intent to defraud makes, or causes to be made, a false statement, or misrepresents, conceals, or fails to disclose a material fact for use in determining rights under the Social Security Act. Information is “material” when it could influence SSA’s determination on entitlement or eligibility to benefits under the Act.
Examples of fraud include:
- Making false statements on claims
- Concealing facts or events that affect eligibility for benefits
- Misusing benefits by a representative payee
- Failing to notify the agency of the death of a beneficiary and continuing to receive the deceased person’s benefits
- Buying or selling Social Security cards
- Filing claims under another person’s Social Security number (SSN)
- Scamming people by impersonating our employees
- Bribing our employees
- Misusing grant or contract funds
Scammers commit fraud
The Social Security Administration uses emails, text messages, and social media to provide information on our programs and services. We will not, however, request personal or financial information through these methods. Sometimes, we send emails with information that are particular to your needs, usually after a discussion with you in person or over the phone. When Social Security makes phone contact, it is often to confirm the legitimacy of claims.
It is important to beware of scammers pretending to be from Social Security. Reports about fraudulent phone calls from people claiming to be from Social Security continue to increase, and recent reports have indicated unknown callers are using increasingly threatening language in these calls. If you receive a suspicious call from someone alleging to be from Social Security, hang up, and then report details of the call to the Office of the Inspector General at https://oig.ssa.gov/.
Social Security combats fraud
Social Security has zero tolerance for fraud. We aggressively investigate and prosecute those who commit fraud against our programs. Social Security is diligently working at national, regional, and local levels to combat the fraud that undermines our mission to serve the American public. Read our Legal Enforcement and Financial Penalties publication to learn more about our efforts.
Measures you can take to prevent fraud
- Do not routinely carry your Social Security card
- Never say your SSN aloud in public
- Beware of phishing scams (emails, internet links, and phone calls) to trick you into revealing personal information
- Create a my Social Security account to help you keep track of your records and identify any suspicious activity
- Consider adding these blocks to your account with us:
- The eServices block — It prevents anyone, including you, from seeing or changing your personal information on the internet. Once we add the block, you or your representative will need to visit your local field office to request removal of the block.
- The Direct Deposit Fraud Prevention block — This prevents anyone, including you, from enrolling in direct deposit or changing your address or direct deposit information through my Social Security or a financial institution (via auto-enrollment). Once we add the block, you or your representative will need to visit your local field office to request removal of the block or make any future changes to direct deposit or contact information.
How to report fraud
Do you suspect someone of committing fraud, waste, or abuse against Social Security? You can contact the Office of the Inspector General’s fraud hotline at 1-800-269-0271 or submit a report online at https://oig.ssa.gov/.
If you receive a suspicious call from someone alleging to be from Social Security, hang up, and then report details of the call to the Office of the Inspector General at https://oig.ssa.gov/.