Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins is raising awareness among seniors of a new tool launched by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the SSA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to combat the Social Security scam. The portal, which is prominently displayed on the OIG’s website (https://oig.ssa.gov/), allows consumers to easily report instances of the Social Security impostor scam. The data will help the OIG identify investigative leads, which could help track down criminal entities or individuals participating in or facilitating these scams. Senator Collins, the Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, has urged the SSA and SSA OIG to strengthen their response to the Social Security scam.
“The criminals behind the Social Security scam are ruthless, and we must redouble our efforts to bring them to justice in order to protect seniors,” said Senator Collins. “I am encouraged that the Social Security Administration and the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General developed this new tool that will enhance their ability to disrupt this scam and help the OIG pursue the criminals perpetrating these schemes. Preventing seniors from being robbed of their hard-earned savings is one of my top priorities as Chairman of the Aging Committee, and I will continue to press for additional action to fight the Social Security scam.”
On October 15th, Senator Collins sent a letter urging the SSA to strengthen its response to the Social Security scam. In addition, this week Senator Collins joined Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), the Ranking Member of the Aging Committee, in requesting additional information from SSA OIG about their efforts to address this increasingly prevalent crime.
The Social Security scam involves criminals impersonating Social Security staff and calling victims to tell them that their Social Security number has been compromised and used by someone else. In another iteration of this scam, Mainers are told that their Social Security number has been suspended and that there is a warrant for their arrest. The fraudsters claim they need additional information from victims to verify their identity. In July 2019, the Federal Trade Commission announced that the Social Security scam tops the list of most reported frauds, and the Aging Committee’s Fraud Hotline (1-855-303-9470) has received a significant increase in complaints about the Social Security scam since last year.
As a reminder, Social Security will not:
- Tell people that their Social Security number has been suspended.
- Contact people to demand an immediate payment.
- Require a specific means of debt repayment, like a prepaid debit card, a retail gift card, or cash.
- Demand payment for a Social Security debt without the ability to appeal the amount owed.
- Promise a Social Security benefit approval, or increase, in exchange for information or money.