Protecting Yourself from Fraud and Scams

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I received a letter claiming to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA) with an 800# I do not recognize. Is it really from SSA?

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We routinely send notices to people who already receive benefits from us to let them know they may be eligible for another type of benefit and they should contact us and apply. From December 2020 through June 2022, we are sending notices to certain people who already receive Social Security benefits to let them know they may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. If people who receive the notice have an E-mail address registered with us, they may also receive an E-mail. The SSI program provides monthly payments to adults and children who have low income and resources, and who are blind or disabled. The SSI program also provides monthly payments to people age 65 and older who have low income and resources.

We established a dedicated phone line with a team of specialized employees to help people who receive this notice. These employees are SSI experts who can answer questions and help callers apply for SSI.

What fraud and scams should I know about?

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This question consolidates and replaces previous questions related to scams.

Unfortunately, there are scammers who will take advantage of the current situation and try to trick you out of your money and personal information. Don’t be fooled!

No government agency will contact you offering COVID-19-related grants or economic impact payments in exchange for personal financial information, an advance fee, or gift cards. Please do not respond. These are scams. Visit Treasury’s website if you suspect economic impact payment fraud. Report Social Security scams about COVID-19.

Below are some of the scams we know about, but there can be many variations:

The Inspector General of Social Security, Gail S. Ennis, is warning the public about fraudulent letters threatening suspension of Social Security benefits due to COVID-19-related office closures. We will not suspend or discontinue benefits because our offices are closed to walk-in visitors. Read this and other fraud advisories.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General is alerting the public about fraud schemes related to COVID-19. For example, scammers are offering COVID-19 tests to Medicare beneficiaries in exchange for personal details, including Medicare information. However, the services are unapproved and illegitimate. Learn about this and other COVID-19 fraud from HHS.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is alerting people about various COVID-19-related fraud and scams. Scammers are increasing their efforts to swindle people out of their money and personal information. These scams can including contracting, treatment, vaccines, government imposter scams, and fraud related to economic impact payments. We encourage you to learn about all COVID-19-related fraud and scams, and to report the scams you see.

Getting vaccinated is very important.  As more people are eligible to get vaccinated, scammers see new opportunities to trick you.  The FTC and the National Association of Attorneys General are teaming up to remind you that no matter what anyone tells you, you cannot buy COVID-19 vaccines online and there’s no out-of-pocket cost to get the shots.  COVID-19 vaccines are free. The FTC website lists some ways to avoid vaccine-related scams.  If you know about a COVID-19 vaccine scam, tell the FTC about it. You can also file a complaint with your state or territory attorney general through the consumer website of the National Association of Attorneys General.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN) is alerting financial institutions about Unemployment Insurance (UI) fraud. They have identified multiple fraud schemes, including identity-related fraud, in which filers submit applications for UI payments using stolen or fake identification to receive payments. You can find more information on the Department of Labor's website.