Frauds & Scams, Office of the Inspector General

How We Protect You from Misleading Advertising and Communications

February 23, 2023 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: February 23, 2023

person reviewing information on smartphone and laptop computerAt the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), we work together with Social Security to protect you from scams that use Social Security as bait. Section 1140 of the Social Security Act allows OIG to impose penalties against anyone who engages in misleading Social Security-related advertising or imposter communications.

For example, we may impose a penalty against anyone who:

  • Mails misleading solicitations that appear to be from or otherwise authorized by Social Security.
  • Operates an imposter internet website or social media account designed to look official, as though it belongs to or is authorized by Social Security.
  • Sends emails or text messages or makes telephone calls claiming to be from Social Security.
  • Sells Social Security’s free forms, applications, and publications without our written approval.
  • Charges a fee for a service that Social Security provides free of charge without providing a clearly visible notice that Social Security provides the service for free.

If you receive a misleading or suspicious Social Security-related advertisement or imposter communication, please let us know immediately. Try to capture as much information about the communication as you can. Here’s what you can do: 

  • For suspicious websites or social media accounts, take a screenshot of the page. Please note the website address or social media link – and how you came across it.
  • For emails and text messages, please capture the entire message and any message links.
  • For U.S. mail solicitations, please retain the complete communication, including the outside envelope and all inserts.
  • For telephone solicitations, please note the caller identification phone number and any company name or call back number that the caller or recorded message provides.

You can help us stop misleading advertising and communications. We encourage you to report potential scams to the Office of the Inspector General. You can also call our fraud hotline at 1-800-269-0271.

This information will help OIG locate the suspicious solicitation or communication source. You can also check out our publication, What You Need to Know About Misleading Advertising, or visit our Consumer Protection – Section 1140 page for more information.

Please share this information with friends and family and help us spread the word on social media!

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  1. Kirti M.

    SSA and OIG is so fake that its hard to believe. They can’t do anything and that’s why fraud & scammers are multiplying & messing with US Gov’t. I can catch these scammers in no time, even if I had half of resources our gov’t has. They want to fine them, where I would put them in jail or fry them. Its govt’s responsibility but they are failing as well as in robocalls. Harassing is gone too far, isn’t it! How do scammers know when I made a SS application? I think gov’t employee is the part of scammers or some one in IT department. It feels like catch & release like our border. Older people are easy pray. Billions of dollars lost in fraud but US Gov’t can’t have 10 people team & spend 10 million to knock down this ongoing non-sense and help older citizens. Now a days best news is how our police saved a cat stuck on the tree not how they caught a SSA imposter and gave death penalty for harassing many citizens creating nightmares at old age. DO SOMTHING GOVT and earn your paycheck…….Its OK to do a right thing. Call me if I can be any help.

  2. Kathy G.

    I have developed a phobia of hearing my phone ring due to insurance solicitors. Medicare is the worst of all. They will also mislead you by false advertisement to get you to read their ad.Next thing you know they connect you to a live insurance agent. Our time is a terrible thing for them to keep wasting. Sometimes they do elaborate on extra Social security benefits to lure us in.

  3. Jeff W.

    According to Research Note #20: The Social Security Trust Funds and the Federal Budget under agency history clearly states as of 1993 that SS is NOT to be included in the Unified Federal Budget and that it is also exempt from Federal Budget cuts.
    Wouldn’t it be considered fraud when Congress includes it in their budget numbers they produce to the American public?
    And, when Congress threatens the people with benefits cuts to the program also be considered fraud?

    • Barb M.

      yes, i agree

      • Cindy H.

        Yes I agree

  4. Adrienne C.

    The SSA reduced my income because I was forced to move on disability after 12 years when new owners raised rents by $700 & evicted tenants to remodel for rent increases. Even though I reported it and contribute to my new household, they reduced my income by 30%, leaving me at a disadvantage. New rents are $1,400 way above a disabled person’s means and section 8 housing lists are at least 2+ years even though I applied in 2020. Now, the SSA is REFUSING TO PROCESS MY APPEAL for my $300 mo back. I think the scammers are working for the SSA because DIRECT EXPRESS just texted me to say my PIN has changed. I closed that bank account out at the latest last year. The US TREASURY needs to get rid of DIRECT EXPRESS. Is that where my $300 is going? Good thing someone helped me with a place to stay but I still need to pay rent. People working for the government are trying to scam disabled persons’ income. The scammers are getting jobs with the SSA. Does ANDREA CARMEN now work for the SSA because she is the one who put her name in my notification email in my online bank account. This is my only income.

    • Tony

      The government officials force everyone who doesn’t have a bank account to be paid by Direct Express. No more paper checks. Direct Express charges fees and doesn’t pay back lost or stolen money from the Direct Express account.

      The lost or stolen money is not reported to the IRS and paid as kickbacks to the government officials. Your $300 dark money is going into the pockets of the government officials as kickbacks.

    • Tiarra P.

      Disable I have learned disability I have how back pain how pelvic pain a bladder pain oh my God bladder cancer I got to do MRI I can’t pee I got to push it out to pee I got string to pee it’s hard to pee after strain to pee I take medication for it I need my business back can I get my SSI money back can I get my money back on my card please I got to pay my rent please I have the I have a direct Express Card
      I have a little baby I don’t want to be homeless I have to pay rent I’m behind my rent please I need help

      • Ann C.

        Hi, Tiarra. We are sorry to hear about your condition and situation. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. You can also contact your local Social Security office. We hope this resolved soon.

  5. Gloria H.

    I receive numerous “scam” msgs: ie. Federal Express asking for an address to forward undeliverable pkg, etc. Also several emails related to various vendors (I might know of , etc. – CVS offering “free gifts” if I’m willing to pay S&H costs etc.) I usually delete or forward these to SCAM. Is there a specific address to forward these to so that maybe they will be dealt with as “come ons/Scams, etc.)? I’m so weary of the trash I have to go thru and worry that I’ll accidentally open the wrong thing. Thanks for keeping after this trash.

  6. Gurukripa C.

    Top JEE Mains Coaching in Jaipur
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    • Karen S.

      What does any of this jabber have to do with SOCIAL SECURITY?

  7. Tiana D.

    Is there an email address to forward scam emails?

    • Railroad M.

      Insurance company’s running scam ads on You Tube night and day at for what seems like forever.

    • Adrienne C.

      I used to have an email address for SSA OIG but they get kicked back. You can fill out a SCAM report on the OIG website but don’t hold your breath. I was scammed by someone from DIRECT EXPRESS and had to change banks in order to get my check. Now I have been forced to move after 12 years (almost 60) and the SSA cut my check back by 30% when others were receiving a COLA. DIRECT EXPRESS Facebook page used the Social Security logo on their page but they are still in business. Someone even put their email in my notification spot in my online bank account in 2021 when DIRECT EXPRESS was all messed up. They even put my stimulus in DIRECT EXPRESS after I changed banks to have access to MY SSI income. More than likely, these SCAMMERS have moved to the SSA for jobs.

      • Adrienne C.

        The SCAMMERS working for the DIRECT EXPRESS Facebook page in October 2021 were able to cancel the new debit card I ordered over the phone and order a new expedited debit card which I don’t believe ever showed up to my address. They are probably now employed by the SSA.

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Tiana. Thanks for your question. A fraud report can be submitted by anyone who suspects it.  To learn how to submit a fraud report, please visit here. We hope this helps.

  8. Steve S.

    when you see insurance companies advertize medicare advantage plans check them out I called our local SS office and ask them and they told me not to take it because of hospitals and doctors will not except it so you can ask your doctor about it and I ask ours she told us if you take it we will not except it

    • Tony

      The CMS lets Medicare enrollees switch to a 5 star plan at any time for one time after the enrollment period ends.

      The healthcare insurance agents who is not affiliated with the Medicare Advantage Plans, but is an licenced authority insurance agent is calling and harassing senior all year long getting senior to sign up and switch.

      It use to be harassing call only during the open enrollment period, but now it is all year long.

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