Disability, Frauds & Scams, General, Retirement, Survivors

Social Security Takes Fraud Seriously

June 15, 2015 • By

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Last Updated: August 19, 2021

An identity thief holds a Social Security card in front of a keyboardOne out of five Americans receives benefits from Social Security, including elderly retirees, people with severe illnesses, and widows and children of deceased wage earners.

With so many of our country’s most vulnerable citizens depending on us, we take our responsibility of providing them with a measure of financial security seriously.

One way we do that is by making a priority our many efforts to pursue those who would cheat the system and take money away from those who need it most.

The agency’s benefit programs are far-reaching and complex, which means that preventing, detecting, and combatting fraud, waste, and abuse is an ongoing challenge. Although we can’t prevent every instance of fraud any more than law enforcement can prevent all crimes, we aggressively investigate potential instances of fraud and pursue prosecution of those who commit it.

Our Office of Anti-Fraud Programs (OAFP) uses many tools to help predict where fraud may occur so we can identify it as quickly as possible. OAFP works alongside the Office of the Inspector General, and Disability Determination Services in the Cooperative Disability Investigation (CDI) program. CDI units investigate and resolve questions of fraud in our programs. There are stiff penalties: We seek the maximum punishment allowable under the law to restore money stolen from the American people. As a result, fraud affects only a very small percentage of our overall payments.

You can help protect your investment in Social Security. Take time to learn all the facts on how we work to prevent fraud. Remember, if you suspect fraud, report it or call the fraud hotline at 1-800-269-0271.

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About the Author

Phil Gambino, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Communications


  1. Francine B.

    Social Security Administration fraudulently perpetrated a cessation of my entitled small retirement benefits on the allegation “you make to much money” and claimed I owe $5,999. That was a false statement by SSA sent 2/3/2019 from Jaimaica NY SSA office.I objected, sent in the reconsideration and FOIA forms on 2/8/2019 from the Needles, CA, SSA office, not once, but multiple times. with documented evidence to substantiate. SSA continued to twist, lie, and postured as defended, guarded, and unreachable. Then in August 2019 my retirement benefit were ceased fraudulently, with bias, and malice. As an investigator, I learned that an agent in the Needles, CA SSA office twisted a 2011 inquiry, (I was 66.1 month) during the time I filed for medicare (4/4/2011 at 18:08 PM PST) and said wrongfully that I “filed” for SS, when I filed for medicare (otherwise at 66 because if I didn’t it would increase each year by 10%) and I inquired about expected benefits when I retired in the future (7/1/2017) SSA agents twisted, lied, perpetrated fraud, or mistake, and or mismanagement, and placed me in dire financial circumstances because I am dependent upon what I have a constitutional right to receive having worked throughout my life. I also retired with a small pension as an educator from California (6/30/2017). The SSA at the Needles office was duly informed of that fact. When I retired 6/20/2017 and went to the Needles, CA office (they don’t have an SSA office in Bullhead City, AZ), a female SSA agent indicated that the Blythe agent in 2011, failed to remove the amount of benefit from the computer (referring to my former husband who I was married to over 10 years). The Needles SSA agent said “because the Blythe agent failed to remove the amount from the computer over the last six years (from 3/4/2011 to 6/20/2017) , I was entitled to the accumulative amount. I have documents going back to 2011, with names, dates, etc to substantiate the evidence. However, when I went to SSA office in Needles to dispute the 2/5/2019 overpayment claim, that agent twisted the data, filed a complaint with the Jamaica, NY SSA office and wrongfully submitted and then in later lied and said that I agree and will pay the amount, which was totally false. Hence, the question, if individuals perpetrate fraud and the law prosecutes those who do, the same law should be applied to SSA agents who perpetrate fraud against an elderly retired senior citizen. The fact is, SSA/OIG office (they failed to contact me from their Dallas location but according to further investigation are five months behind–hire more OIG investigators!) was contacted prior to my move to Texas . The agency was informed of my new address prior to my move from Arizona in June; however, the letter ceasing my SSA retirement meager benefits (way below the average) was sent to my old address and then forward to me by the US Post Office. On 8/26/2019 Wednesday in McKinney, Texas, I went to the local SSA office. The SSA clerk filed a “reconsideration” -a repetitive process I initially used on 2/8/2019) but I have not been given a Due Process hearing with an administrative law judge. I am able to provide evidence that will indeed untangle the deceptive web that certain SSA agents perpetrated and caused me to suffer extreme stress including but not limited to financial stress.When I asked the clerk to speak to their manager, that manager was unavailable. It was a Wednesday, they close at noon, I had already stood and waited two hours and 10 minutes to see a clerk, then spent 5 minutes with the clerk and asked to and administrators, who was not in, and spoke to an alleged supervisor who said “hello: but seeing her red stressed eyes, began to shut the window on me at which point I asked for an appointment with the manager but, she abruptly said, return another day and shut the window. At 74, I’m to return, without an appointment, stand in line for another 2 hours and 10 minutes or more, and fail to receive an appointment with an administrator.? That SSA office has some serious systemic administrative “belches” and needs improvement! SSA acts as if it’s their money they are holding in trust and not mine. I can’t afford an attorney, but I contacted several congressional offices to seek repeal of the Windfall Elimination Clause and the Pension Offset because when SSA agents write and say “you make too much money” and fail to comply with FOIA to prove it, and lie–then that becomes the venue for fraud and perpetrating a lie on the elderly senior retirees, like me. I know there are millions of elderly senior retirees who have no voice and may have suffered serious health ailments upon receiving “over payment” letters that run into tens of thousands of dollars. SSA is not above the law-SSA must provide substantial data, formulas, interest amounts, etc., to show exactly what “over payment” they are talking about; or they have become just like a “criminal money making enterprise” by using communistic dictates , such as: “You make too much money?”

  2. Danny m.

    My ssa chects were stolen for over a year. From 1995 to 1996 my ssa was cashed by someone. I did not know this crud had been taking place for one year.. I didn’t find out until 20 years later. I filed a appeal but social security department told me they could not find anything because it was so long ago. My appeal went unanswered. I went to the ssa office about my appeal not being heard in 60 days when I asked for a hearing. The ssa office asked did I have the paper work showing I had file a appeal I said yes. Again I was told it was to long ago that this crime had happen to me and they no records.so went home and got the paperwork and brought it back to the ssa office. I was seen by a worker in the ssa officer who found the case and shows the person , and the records of this crime against me. The worker said she is going to send this to prodding. But it may be dinied due to there time constraints for filing a appeal the ssa department has photos of someone cashing my checks. I was told that I can’t appeal the decision of prodding. How do I protect myself from this type of crime and injustice. Can I receive any assistancel. Again I was told that I can’t appeal the decision of prodding.

  3. David K.

    My uncle was messengering me i gave him my name and ss# then realized his account was hacked what do i do now

    • Ann C.

      Hi, David. We are sorry to hear that. If you suspect identity theft, you should go to http://www.idtheft.gov and report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission or call 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338). We hope this helps!

  4. kevin j.

    Is claiming a farm exemption on property you own when you are not earning at least $10.000 dollars on the property new york state, and also not claiming the money you do earn, is that something you would investigate?

  5. Nicholas P.

    I reported being abused by undercover police and I am worried they are going to lie to SSI and accuse me of fraud just to get my benefits terminated out of malice. I caught them attempting to make me appear like I was working when I am not. I think they hoped to make me appear to be working on film by standing with them or helping them. I am afraid of ending up homeless.

  6. Melissa

    Mine and my son’s social security cards were stolen along with our birth certificates on 05/30/2019. I have applied for new cards and have been told that my social security number won’t change even though it was stolen. How can I prevent anyone from using my card or my son’s information to open credit accounts or any other kind of account? My son is only 8 and this could ruin his credit before he’s old enough to drive. I’m really worried about them having our information.

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Melissa. We are sorry to hear about your situation. If you suspect someone is using your Social Security number or your son’s, you should go to http://www.idtheft.gov and report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission or call 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338). In addition, you can order free credit reports annually from the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and Trans Union). To order your credit report go to http://www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228. For more information, check out our publication, Identity Theft And Your Social Security Number. We hope this helps.

  7. Bruce G.

    This is not true. Because we deal with a FBU in the Philippines the staff are all non US Citizens. They make sure that the Philippines get most if not all the US Benefits sent there. They made my wife a non US Citizen the Rep Payee for my children. She has used this money for her family and not the children. Contacted OIG over 20 times. The Manila SSA sent a fake OIG investigator to my home to threaten me over the complaints. No US Support to this failed system and the fraud and intimidation given to the rightful SSA Benefit person. Pure discrimination exercised by the FBU unit in Manila Philippines. When will the USA reconise that the Philippines is dishonest and a true enemy to the USA?

  8. Jesse C.

    I had an accident in 2011. I was depressed my current girlfriend had just dumped me .
    she was the only girl I had ever gotten into bed with .
    She gave me an S.T.D. SCABIES.
    I got drunk and high at a friends house . I still felt bad .

    I began to walk up Rosecrans. I still felt sad. I sparked a cigarette got annoyed that she had dumped me . And ran into the 710 freeway committee suicide.

    After my coma that x girlfriend began to have sex with both my older brothers. Joshua and Steve . But so they wont be infected with scabies . I told them that

    she had given me scabies. I don’t know if they paid attention to me ?

    But I am occupied in my college . In Compton California Im going to school . And that X girlfriend who dumped me I think goes to my house and starts fucking my older brothers. I know this because some of my SSI coins begin to vanish from my black box. I go to church with my mom and I had told some probation Officer that goes to the church with us .

  9. Troy p.

    My friend Tracy pinick has over 120 thousand hidden in a safety deposit box in Kansas City in averst bank andI is still collecting almost a thousand a mth in benefits really

  10. Troy

    My friend has 120 thousand in arvest bank in Kansas City mo in a safety deposit box she’s hiding it from the government also for the past year she’s collecting over a thousand a mth in government checks

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