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Social Security Fraud Prevention

What is Social Security fraud?

Generally speaking, fraud involves obtaining something of value through willful misrepresentation. 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. They will not, however, request personal or financial information through these methods. Sometimes, they 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 (OIG) at

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 the eServices and the Direct Deposit Fraud Prevention blocks to your account at the Social Security Administration’s website


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