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.

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About the Author

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications


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  7. Cesar

    I receive small SS benefit for my work in USA ($100 x month) many years ago and also I receive Australian full pension.
    I wonder if I move to live in Thailand my USA benefits will stop ????.
    I know my Australian pension is Ok to be paid in Thailand but what about the US benefits ???
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    • Ann Clifton

      Thanks for your question, Cesar. U. S. citizens may receive their Social Security benefits outside the United States as long as they remain eligible and are in a country where we can send payments. In most cases, we stop payments to noncitizens after they are outside the United States . We may continue to pay benefits to noncitizens outside of the United States if they meet certain conditions. Please read our brochure titled: “Your Payments While You are Outside the United States” for more information.

  8. Lisa

    As I was applying to move my life’s savings to a credit union ( from ML), I was denied an account. When I called to ask why the manager told me that it seemed that there were two other people using my SSN. The only thing SSA did when I tried to report this is to tell me to go to the site, ‘’. Why isn’t SSA interested in letting us notify them directly?? Although my bank accounts have not been affected nor from what I see online at SSA, my earning records are correct, the fact that I cannot manage to move my money from one banking institution to another if very stressful for me. Merrill Lynch is refusing to service my account with them ( after being a loyal client for 32 years) because I am an American who choses to live in Europe and they don’t want the hassles of reporting due to the FATCA regulations now in affect. I believe if SSA would do something about situations like mine, they would catch the thieves using my card for whatever purposes. And the person who says it’s been five years and SSA sitll hasn’t done anything about his situation really upsets me.

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