Frauds & Scams, Privacy & Identity

Don’t Let Scammers Prey on Your Generosity

September 12, 2016 • By

Last Updated: September 12, 2016

natural disastersNatural disasters bring out the best in people. The ever-present generosity of Americans is front and center right now, as we try to help the victims of the Louisiana flood. Millions have given their time and donated to the relief funds and charities.

Unfortunately, times like these also bring out people looking to profit from others’ misfortune. For example, by creating fake charities and devising other ways to take advantage of donors.

Social Security commends your giving spirit, but we want to make sure your information is safe. We’ve cautioned you before that scammers use dishonest methods to gain access to your information. Charity scams are one of these schemes.

Charity scams can take many forms, including phishing emails that contain links or attachments directing users to malware-infected websites, which can damage your computer and put your information at risk.

The Federal Trade Commission is urging everyone to be careful when donating to charities that claim to benefit the victims of the Louisiana flood. When choosing a charity, you should do proper research to make sure they’ll use the money for what they say they will. You should donate to reputable charities sanctioned by the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance.

Avoid phishing scams and malware on your computer by not opening emails with links or attachments unless you know who sent them.

Don’t fall victim to scammers looking to take advantage of your generous spirit. Our previous blog entry shows you how to stay in control of your information. For more information, please visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information page and check out our website.

See Comments

About the Author

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications


  1. tammy

    Scammers are everywhere and especially in the socialist security system. Can you imagine how much money is lost every month to social security scams and nothing is ever said about it, just the cost of doing business I guess. Tony (the person who post regularly) is right about some people scamming the system. Many “able bodied” people I know receive regular “disability payments” from the scam that is socialist security. On the other hand, I am physically disabled and have never received ONE CENT of money from the socialist security system. Not because I haven’t applied, but because of discriminatory “Rules” that they have.

    I am 45 years old, a mother of three older children and physically disabled ( I was born with cerebral palsy ). I’ve never collected one red cent of money from the Socialist Security System, even though I have applied several times and they find me disabled.

    Technically, I am an “adult disabled child” (please look this up, it is NOT SSI or SSDI) but have never been able to secure any benefits whatsoever from the Socialist Security system, even under that program because I got married to an “Able bodied person”. The Socialist Security system is too busy paying benefits to some people who scam the system and worrying about adult disabled children (who they pay benefits to off of a parents record) marrying an able bodied person. This gives them the justification to cut off benefits to the adult disabled child because the husband (in theory) can now support the disabled person. This theory works great, if your husband is rich and you have no need for money but what it actually does, is to force two adults (one disabled one able bodied person) to live off of one income. In the real world, the socialist security system is forcing adult disabled children to only marry other disabled persons (and NO able bodied persons) at the threat of loosing any and all benefits that they are entitled to.

    If you are a physically disabled person (an adult disabled child) and you happen to marry an “able bodied person” you will be loosing out on a lifetime of benefits, all because of a one word “rule” that prohibits you from marrying an “able bodied person”. Best of all, they never tell you about their “Rule” so that they can justify cutting off any benefits that you may be due.

    Because you are physically disabled (adult disabled child) and you choose not to marry another adult disabled child or disabled person drawing off socialist security, you WILL LOOSE ANY AND ALL BENEFITS FOR LIFE. This means that the SOCIALIST SECURITY system is TELLING YOU WHO YOU ARE ALLOWED TO MARRY and who you are
    NOT ALLOWED TO MARRY! It is a discriminatory act “rule” and should be ILLEGAL!

    Even though I am permanently and totally disabled, if I marry an “able bodied person”, somehow that marriage makes everything ok and I am no longer considered disabled (in the eyes of the socialist security system). Magically (because I married an able bodied person), the pixie fairies come down and cure my disability, because now I can just go out and find gainful employment, no one will discriminate against my physical disability and everything will be grand, right? Somehow magically, marrying an able bodied person makes my physical disablility dissappear and now I am cured, right? WRONG!

    The issue is a special “Rule” that the Socialist Security System uses to discriminate against “certain” people. If you are a “physically disabled person” (AKA-certain people) and happen to marry an able bodied person, then the SOCIALIST SECURITY system will use special “Rules” to legally discriminate against you and deny you benefits, even if you appeal online.

    The SOCIALIST SECURITY system has caused me a lot of economic hardship all because I married an able bodied person. The SOCIALIST SECURITY system thinks someone who is physically disabled (permanently and totally disabled) marries an “able bodied person”, that somehow magically they are cured of their physical disability and two people can survive off the able bodied persons income. WOW, talk about a bunch of bureaucratic idiotic thinking, that somehow this would not cause a financial hardship….. amazing.

    The rules that the Social Security Administration uses to legally discriminate against persons who are “Adult Disabled Children” who happen to marry an able bodied person, are discriminatory. This is loosely referred to as the “marriage penalty” but I call it exactly what it is, a legal form of discrimination.
    I firmly believe this rule, is an act of bias, prejudice and discrimination against people who (by no fault of their own) are born disabled and happen to marry an able bodied person

    Please write your Congressional Representative and tell them to end this modern day form of Legal Discrimination. In this day of fairness and equality, there are still some people suffering from an outdated and oppressive bureaucratic rule.

    (PS. notice how the only thing any of these SOCIALIST SECURITY workers ever say are quotes of the rules or processes, like a worker drone. They are unable to address any topics that fall outside of their rule books). Typical bureaucracy and bureaucratic responses, like trying to argue over lost change with a vending machine!

    • Collyn

      Have you considered opening a day care for income? Your raising three children would make you qualified to do this. It is a good business.

      • tammy

        Thanks, the State of Texas that I live in has very strict rules on opening a daycare in home. What I am doing is more along the lines of trying to change a mindset overall and maybe awaken some of those close minds inside the Social Security system.

        Thanks again,

      • Joyce

        Almmozaaa-infarkation found, problem solved, thanks!

  2. J Caravano

    Just hang up on them ass holes, or screen your calls!!!!!

  3. Tony Sanders

    Other scams are 2/3 enumeration for Living Arrangement B, that should in fact ask the beneficiary to pay 1/3 of their income under HUD rental guidelines, to their patron, not deprive the charitable giver of market price, and $30 mo. for institutional benefits. Living Arrangement Category A-D. A. Own Household Recipient lives in his or her “own” household (owns or rents) or is living with someone but pays pro rata share of household expenses, or the individual is homeless or transient. No automatic reduction for ISM. However, if assistance is offered an ISM is done and the benefit may be reduced. 81 percent of SSI recipients are in this category Individual/Child $733.00 Couple $1,100. B. Another Household. Recipient lives in the household of another and receives both food and shelter from other members of the household. Instead of determining the actual value of the room and board and deducting that from the benefit amount, the benefit is decreased by one-third. About 4 percent of SSI recipients are in this category. One-third Reduction Individual/Child $488.67 Couple $733.34. C. Minor. Recipient is younger than age 18 and lives with a parent. Eligible child does not have a decrease in benefits under ISM for food and shelter provided by the parent. The financial support from parent is accounted for by “deeming” portion of parent’s income to the child. 13 percent of SSI recipients are in this category. Parents income is Deemed to Minor. D. Institution. Person is living in a public or private medical institution, with Medicaid paying more than 50 percent of the cost of his or her care. SSI amount is limited to $30 per month. ISM is not countable for individuals who are in this living arrangement. 2 percent of SSI recipients are in this category. Individual/Child $30.00 (SSAB ’15: 3).

    Orphans living in orphanages are due full $733 (2016) that is not taken from them when they graduate from high school or turn 18 except under Substantial Gainful Income (SGI) guidelines. The orphanages should not take more than the one-third HUD says, is okay. Orphans currently don’t receive anything ever. There are about 400,000 children in the foster care system and 100,000 in orphanages. Foster care has eliminated costs by eliminating both psychiatry and poverty from eligibility. SSI pays benefits to children from poor families and homeless youth who attend school. For lifelong social insurance coverage orphan must be respected by all as a permanent disability. Congress must learn how to benefit the disabled and not continuing disability review (CDR) – To make orphan a qualifying disability today.

  4. Tony Sanders

    Social Security Amendments of January 1, 2016

    To make orphan a qualifying disability.

    3% COLA for 2.5% SMI inflation deal. 6% COLA damages for the 2016 no COLA decision and $110.20 SMI Premium in 2017. The Commissioner’s 3.1% benefit increase 2017 (Chesser & Colvin ”15: 30) is in conflict with the Actuary’s cost of living benefit increase 0.2% intermediate, 0.7% low-cost, 0.0% high- cost projections for 2017 (Goss ’16: 119). Medicare Part B Premium $104.90 in 2015, $121.80 in 2016 (16.1% growth) and $149.00 in 2017 (22.3% growth) (Slavitt & Spitalnic ’16: 205) is neoplastic, the HHS budget and Health United States 2015 are unaccountably high. SMI premium increases must again be held harmless of Theft and Bribery of Government Funds 18USC§666 under Sec. 1840 of the Social Security Act 42USC§1395s – $104.90 2015 rates through 2016 and until CMS agrees to a 2.5% health annuity of $107.50 if the COLA is 3% or 5% $110.20 provided there is a 6% COLA in 2017.

    No COLA no Part B or D premium increase. Social security benefits, up to the maximum benefit, and federal minimum wage, must grow 3% annually for the poor to afford a 2.5% government and health annuity to achieve national goals pertaining to economic growth, consumer spending, federal accounting, reducing national health expenditures to less than 10% of GDP and income equality by enabling social security benefits to grow 3% annually, significantly faster than inflation and health benefits to grow 2.5%, slightly slower that the 2.67% Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation estimates for 2017 under Sec. 215(i) of the Social Security Act 42USC§415(i).

    On November 2, 2015, the President signed into law Public Law 114-74, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. Sections 811-842 of the law directly affect the actuarial status of the Social Security program. This law is expected to have a small but significant net positive financial impact over the short-range, but not the intermediate or long-range projection periods. In addition, it significantly improves the status of the DI Trust Fund in the short term, largely due to a temporary tax rate reallocation from the OASI Trust Fund to the DI Trust Fund. The temporary tax rate of 2.37% fails the intermediate term because it reverts back to the 1.8% DI tax rate and a 2.2% rate is needed to prevent the smaller trust fund from being depleted by the OASDI deficit around 2020 without taxing the rich. Furthermore, recidivist propaganda for Continuing Disability Reviews (CDR) needs to be abolished as unnecessary information gathering because substantial gainful income (SGI) is how SSI is terminated, other than death, and SGI is accounted for by the IRS income taxes under the Paperwork Reduction Act 44USC§3508.
    Section 811. Expansion of cooperative disability investigations (CDI) units. This section requires the establishment of CDI units to cover each of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa by 2022. The additional units established under this provision would roughly double CDI capacity and will enhance the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) efforts to reduce fraud and overpayments. Section 824. Use of electronic payroll data to improve program administration. Access to more timely data on earnings from commercial databases will allow SSA to reduce improper payments. Section 831. Closure of unintended loopholes. This provision eliminates (1) the ability to receive only a retired-worker benefit or an aged- spouse benefit when eligible for both, for those attaining age 62 in 2016 and later, and (2) the ability of a family member other than a divorced spouse to receive a benefit based on the earnings of a worker with a voluntarily suspended benefit, for voluntary suspensions requested after April 29, 2016. This provision is expected to have negligible net cost effect through 2025, with increasing net cost reductions thereafter. Section 832. Requirement for medical review. This section requires that the medical portion of the case review and any applicable residual functional capacity assessment for an initial disability determination be completed by an appropriate physician, psychiatrist, or psychologist. This provision is projected to reduce DI program cost. Section 833. Reallocation of payroll tax rates. For earnings in calendar years 2016 through 2018, this section increases from 1.80 percent to 2.37 percent the portion of the total 12.40 percent OASDI payroll tax that is directed to the DI Trust Fund. There is a corresponding decrease in the portion of the tax rate directed to the OASI Trust Fund. This real- location of the payroll tax rates is projected to extend the date for DI reserve depletion by about 6 years. Section 834. Access to financial information for waivers and adjustments of recovery. This provision provides for access to information that would allow SSA to better determine an individual’s ability to repay any past overpayment. Section 842. Elimination of quinquennial determinations relating to wage credits for military service prior to 1957. This provision eliminates the requirement that the Commissioner make quinquennial determinations for pre-1957 military service wage credits after the 2010 determination (Goss ’16: 38-39). 

    The Social Security Advisory Board Statement on the Supplemental Security Income Program, is bribed by continuing disability determinations and did not make effective use of the Paperwork Reduction Act. The application for disability under SSI is 23 pages; by contrast the disability application under the disability insurance program is seven pages, even though the disability analysis is the same. In-kind support management ISM is non-financial assistance in the form of food or shelter that an SSI applicant or recipient receives in a month. Shelter includes not only room, rent, or mortgage payments, but also real property taxes, heating fuel, gas, electricity, water, sewer, and garbage collection services. An initial SSI application interview may include more than 100 questions, many which involve ISM and require supporting documentation. The ISM support is then monetized and deducted from the monthly SSI payment. In practice, the ISM reduction is only applied in about nine percent of SSI cases. In FY 2014, the agency reported that ISM-related errors accounted for 30 percent of improper payments in the SSI program (SSAB ’15: 5, 2, 6). To simplify the application process for the payment of 16-24 million poor children in 2017 it is necessary to abolish (1) the ISM and (2) the disability from the questionnaires to determine eligibility on the basis of insufficient income reported to the Internal Revenue Service. The Program Operations Manual System should not use the free counsel provided by the Living Arrangement/In-Kind Support and Maintenance Development Guide and Summary SSA 8008) against their beneficiaries. ISMs and Continuing Disability Reviews (CDR) needs to be abolished as unnecessary information gathering because substantial gainful income (SGI) is how SSI is terminated, other than death, and SGI is accounted for by the IRS income taxes under the Paperwork Reduction Act 44USC§3508.

    Chesser, Judy; Colvin, Carolyn. 2015 Annual Report of the Supplemental Security Income Program. 19th Ed. August 27, 2015

    Goss, Stephen C. 2016 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Old-Age and Survivor Insurance Trust Funds. June 22, 2016

    Slavitt, Andrew M. Spitalnic, Paul. 2016 Annual Report of the Boards of Trustees of the Federal Hospital Insurance and Federal Suppelmental Medical Insurance Trust Funds. June 22, 2016

    Social Security Advisory Board. Supplement to the 2015 Annual Report of the Supplemental Security Income Program. 19th Ed. August 27, 2015

    • ata

      Better be careful. I’m sure with all that you posted that there has to be a political statement in there somewhere and there are those on this site who say that we should not say anything political. Of course the majority of the topics here are pure politics hidden so that the folks believe they are tips intended to help them.

  5. Ann Phillips

    On August 16,2016 I got a phone call from gentleman saying I was being given Federal grant that did not have to be paid back. My access Code #As125. I was to call 202-657-5628. Ext.375 Michelle Bach. I called Michelle gave her my code. Advised me to go to CVS and get an I Tones card for $250.00. Then call Federal Reserve Bank New York315-215-0752 speak to Sam Walters. Give them Trans #. QMC351287 I gave number to Mr Walters. Then I was to call him back on Wednesday August 24,2016 with another I Tones card for $825.50 and call Mr Walters with number on back of card. The two ladies at CVS ask who this was going to. I told them and they both said that is is a scam and would not sell me the card. So I called Sam Walters and told him they would not get anymore of my money. Had I got the$825.50 card then they would wire to my Bank $9075.50 for my account. I called the BBB here in Wichita Falls, Texas and told them about it.

    • Retiree

      Never answer the phone when you don’t know who is calling by watching the ID Caller.

  6. thomas

    Feeling good about donating to a bogus charity is deplorable, There are many scammers thieves, and downright bums, don’t be a victim to these cheaters.

  7. B

    The majority of emails that I received either requesting monies or informing me that I have won some “millions of dollars” go directly into my “junk email”. I never click on any hyper-link from some email address that I personally do not know. The sames goes for telephone calls, if I do not recognize either the caller ID or telephone number I let it go to my answer machine. Nine times out of ten the caller never leaves a message.

  8. Lebogang Mogatwe

    I thank you so much for your protection and wake me up for Scammers that happen on social Network.

  9. Ravikant Sao

    I have been receiving bogus IRS calls from scammers. The number that was used is 1-910 713 3062. I did not reply.

    • Marilyn Willis

      I have received them as well. I received one just last week. I reported it to FCC.

  10. ata

    Beware also of so called charitable foundations in which only 10% of the donations go to aid victims of natural disasters and the rest is used to keep political operatives employed between elections. The Clinton Foundation comes to mind.

    • Brian Richard Allen

      Words from my mouth! (Je suis un déplorable)

      • Will McLane

        Oui , vous êtes extrêmement déplorable. In French (bigoterie) or English (bigotry), it means the same thing.

    • Will McLane

      There is no use arguing with someone so uninformed and bigoted. Just make sure you cash your Federal Government Social Security checks and use your Federal Government Medicare while you criticize those “takers” you so despise.

      • Sue Green

        For your information, Mr. Lane, Social Security and Medicare benefits are EARNED by workers contributing to those funds each and every payday. I paid into the system for 54 years, so I’m certainly not a “taker.” I earned my own way for all those years. These benefits are not a “government” handout . . .

        • Dee

          And, Ms. Green, I am sure you are one of of the first to complain if you don’t receive an raise in your earned benefits, eh?

        • Will McLane

          Please read the comment again, I was not criticizing Social Security retirees/Medicare recipients. I am one of those citizens, too. I was criticizing those hypocrites who would deny needed benefits (like, say, Obamacare or Medicaid) to others while gladly accepting their government benefits, earned or otherwise.

    • Dee

      I am sure there are other sites where you can express your political comments. This is not one of them.

Comments are closed.