For the fourth time this year the Social Security Administration (SSA) is warning seniors about fraudulent Social Security and Medicare communications targeting their benefits and their wallets. Jim Borland, acting deputy commissioner for communications at the SSA said in a recent blog post titled Don’t Be Misled by False Medicare or Social Security Ads that “Online and otherwise, there’s a lot of information out there, and sometimes it’s difficult to tell what sources are credible. With millions of people relying on Social Security, scammers target audiences who are looking for program and benefit information.”
People are often misled by advertisers who use the terms “Social Security” or “Medicare,” Borland said. And misleading Social Security and Medicare advertising is against the law. Individuals and non-government businesses are prohibited by law from using words or emblems that mislead others, he said. “Their advertising can’t lead people to believe that they represent, are somehow affiliated with, or endorsed or approved by Social Security or the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (Medicare).”
Borland warned seniors to be on the lookout for these and other services that unscrupulous individuals or companies may offer for a fee, including obtaining:
- A corrected Social Security card showing a person’s married name;
- A Social Security card to replace a lost card;
- A Social Security Statement; and
- A Social Security number for a child.
Borland recommends anyone receiving misleading information about Social Security or Medicare to send the complete ad, including the envelope, to:
Office of the Inspector General Fraud Hotline, Social Security Administration, P.O. Box 17768, Baltimore, MD 21235.