Frauds & Scams, Medicare

Don’t Be Misled by False Medicare or Social Security Ads

August 16, 2018 • By

Reading Time: 1 Minute

Last Updated: June 30, 2021

person on latptopOnline and otherwise, there’s a lot of information out there, and sometimes it’s difficult to tell what sources are credible. With millions of people relying on Social Security, scammers target audiences who are looking for program and benefit information.

The law that addresses misleading Social Security and Medicare advertising prohibits people or non-government businesses from using words or emblems that mislead others. Their advertising can’t lead people to believe that they represent, are somehow affiliated with, or endorsed or approved by Social Security or the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (Medicare).

People are often misled by advertisers who use the terms “Social Security” or “Medicare.” Often, these companies offer Social Security services for a fee, even though the same services are available directly from Social Security free of charge. These services include getting:

  • A corrected Social Security card showing a person’s married name;
  • A Social Security card to replace a lost card;
  • A Social Security Statement; and
  • A Social Security number for a child.

If you receive misleading information about Social Security, send the complete ad, including the envelope, to:

Office of the Inspector General Fraud Hotline
Social Security Administration
P.O. Box 17768
Baltimore, MD 21235

You can learn more about how we combat fraudulent advertisers by reading our publication What You Need to Know About Misleading Advertising.

You can also report Social Security fraud to the Office of the Inspector General.

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About the Author

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications


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  4. Joe F.

    so…how can commercials on tv get by saying they’re offering “medicare” benefits and run a disclaimer at the same time saying ‘they’re not affiliated w/ medicare”?????

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    Thanks for sharing this info –

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  7. Randy j.

    I needed a replacement card and went online thinking I was on the correct site and listed my social security number and clicked to advance to the next screen and there was a 39.00 charge and wanted my credit card. At this point I knew I was on the wrong site. I clicked off. My question is, since I didn’t complete the form are they able to access my number?

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Randy, thank you for using our blog to ask your question. It’s free to get a replacement Social Security card. Some private companies not affiliated with Social Security or any other government agency charge fees for this service. However, these companies offer no advantage and you still must provide documents directly to Social Security.

      Be cautious about giving your private information, especially your Social Security number, to anyone.

      Check out our Frequently Asked Questions web page for details on how to obtain a replacement Social Security card.

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    I work for an employer with less than 20 employees. I will be 65 in 6 months.
    Do I have to go on Medicare while I’m still working?

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Shari, thank you for your question. If you are covered under a group health plan based on current employment, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) that will let you sign up for Medicare Part B after age 65. You have an 8-month SEP to sign up for Part A and/or Part B that starts at one of these times (whichever happens first):
      • The month after the employment ends
      • The month after group health plan insurance based on current employment ends.

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      You should always check with your health benefits advisor, or health plan representative to see what’s best for you. To learn more about the Medicare enrollment periods visit

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