This type of fraud is a hotly debated topic for both policymakers and the general public.
Our current Social Security system is designed to ensure the safety and health of the elderly and disabled. While it’s a noble purpose, the harsh truth is that not every dollar put into the system is spent on the aging and less fortunate. In fact, some of the funds wind up stolen or unlawfully collected by dishonest recipients who don’t deserve a payout. Unfortunately, these scams happen all across America.
Types of Social Security Scams
- False statements can lead to miscalculations and unwarranted benefits. For example, individuals who report themselves as unmarried on tax forms when they are in fact married could be guilty of running a scam. The same goes for people who underreport their income.
- Counterfeiting and selling SSN cards is a form of fraud. Additionally, the sale of legitimate SSN cards is also considered fraud. Both crimes carry severe risk of a personal security data breach.
- Failing to report work or health status could be considered fraud. If an individual is collecting benefits but has neglected to inform the government that he or she has returned to work, it constitutes a form of fraud.
- Mishandling funds can be considered fraud. A representative payee, or someone who handles benefits on behalf of another person, cannot use those benefits for their own personal gain.
The first step in detecting a potential scam is to trust your judgment. If you see any suspicious activity that seems like Social Security fraud, such as adult or child ID theft, there’s a decent chance it is fraud.
The next step is to get in contact with the proper authorities. The Social Security Administration (SSA) makes it easy to report scams online. Additionally, take some preventative steps to protect yourself and your identity. Never give out your information to any person or organization that can’t produce the proper credentials, and be extremely cautious of how you share your personal information online.
Keep your eyes and ears open, and protect the SSN system for both yourself and those closest to you.