Not everyone who receives social security benefits is entitled to it.
In recent news, a Kentucky disability lawyer named Eric C. Conn – who plead guilty in March to a $550 million Social Security fraud scheme – is on the run. Early in June, the con man removed his electronic monitoring device and fled. The U.S. District Court has since issued a warrant for his arrest.
The social security program is meant to help people. But some shameless individuals use it to help themselves, and in doing so commit a serious crime.
Examples Of Social Security Fraud
Social security fraud may be the following:
- Making false statements. When applying for Social Security benefits and providing information you know to be untrue. For instance, stating you’re single when you’re married.
- Concealing facts or events. Failing to reveal information is fraud. Such as failing to report to Social Security Administration when a beneficiary dies and continuing to cash his or her checks.
- Misusing a beneficiary’s funds. The misuse of funds by the person appointed by the SSA to handle an incapacitated beneficiary’s funds. For example, this person uses the money for personal expenses.
- Identity theft. Anyone who uses the social security number of another person to obtain loans, credit, etc. is committing fraud.
- Buying, selling, or altering social security cards. Doing any of these things is illegal.
- Impersonation of a SSA employee. Someone claiming to be a SSA official to obtain the personal information of someone is fraud. Older people are especially vulnerable to this type of scam.
Protect Yourself Or A Loved One From Social Security Fraud
Whether you want to protect yourself, or your parents, from social security fraud, make sure you follow these tips:
- You may want to create a my Social Security online account to prevent anyone from creating a fraudulent account in your name. Note that it is illegal to create an account on behalf of another person.
- Know that the SSA will NOT call you and request your information. If anyone does, ask for his or her name and number, then call the SSA to confirm their identity.
- If you are not contacted through official SSA channels, you’re being targeted for fraud.
- All correspondence related to social security must only go through the official SSA website, telephone number, and email addresses.
- Regularly check your bank accounts to monitor your payments and ensure nothing has changed.
- If you notice any personal information change, such as your name, address or phone number, notify the SSA right away.
- Be aware of phishing scams.
- Keep your identity safe.
What You Can Do If You Suspect Social Security Fraud
If you suspect someone of committing fraud against Social Security, report it to the SSA. There are three ways to report social security fraud:
- Submit A Report Online
- Mail a letter to: Social Security Fraud Hotline P.O. Box 17785 Baltimore, Maryland 21235
- Call the SSA’s Fraud Hotline at: 1-800-269-0271