Fraud Prevention and Reporting (En español)

We take fraud seriously and so should you

Social Security Combats Fraud

Social Security has zero tolerance for fraud. We diligently work at the national, regional, and local levels to combat fraud that undermines our mission to serve the American public.

To meet this challenge, we work closely with our Office of the Inspector General (OIG), which investigates allegations of fraud and seeks to bring offenders to justice. The OIG refers cases to U.S. attorneys within the Department of Justice, and other state and local prosecuting authorities, for prosecution as federal crimes.

What Is Social Security Fraud?

Fraud involves obtaining something of value through willful misrepresentation. In the context of our programs, fraud exists when a person fails to disclose a material fact for use in getting benefits and payments. Information is “material” when it could influence our determination on entitlement or eligibility to benefits under the Social Security 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.

How To Report Fraud

Do you suspect someone of committing fraud, waste, or abuse against Social Security? You can submit a report online at or contact the OIG’s fraud hotline at 1-800-269-0271.

The OIG will carefully review your allegation and take appropriate action. However, they cannot provide information regarding the actions taken on any reported allegation. Federal regulations prohibit the disclosure of information contained in law enforcement records, even to the person making the allegation.

To learn more about reporting fraud, visit the OIG’s Resources for Other Types of Fraud page. You will find information about misuse of SSNs, elder abuse, Direct Express accounts, fraud, and more. Also, watch their video “How to Report Social Security Fraud” for more details about the fraud referral process.

Scammers Commit Fraud

Be alert! It is important to be aware of scammers pretending to be from Social Security. Reports about fraudulent phone calls from people claiming to be from our agency continue to increase. To learn more about scams, visit Protect Yourself from Social Security Scams.

Measures You Can Take To Prevent Identity Theft

Identity theft happens when a person illegally uses your personal information to commit fraud. Someone illegally using your SSN and assuming your identity can cause a lot of problems.

There are several things you should do to prevent identity theft:

  • Do not routinely carry your SSN.
  • Never say your SSN aloud in public.
  • Beware of phishing scams (emails, internet links, and phone calls) trying to trick you into revealing personal information.
  • Create a personal 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 — This prevents anyone, including you, from seeing or changing your personal information online. Once we add the block, you or your representative will need to contact your local office to request its removal.
    • 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 contact your local office to request its removal. You will need to do the same to make any future changes to direct deposit or contact information.

What To Do If You Suspect Identity Theft

The OIG provides 10 tips on Protecting Personal Information and details several actions to take if you suspect identity theft.

If someone uses your SSN to obtain credit, loans, telephone accounts, or other goods and services, contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC collects complaints about identity theft from those whose identities have been stolen. You may reach the FTC’s identity theft hotline toll free at 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338) or visit their website at

Additional Resources: