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Report Fraud to the Hotline

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Image: Question Mark Icon How Do I Contact the Fraud Hotline?

Individuals have a variety of ways to report fraud to us. Individuals can contact us by:

Internet: Fraud Reporting Form
U.S. Mail: Social Security Fraud Hotline
P.O. Box 17768
Baltimore, Maryland 21235
FAX: 410-597-0118
Telephone: 1-800-269-0271 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
TTY: 1-866-501-2101 for the deaf or hard of hearing.

Image: Question Mark Icon What is the Fraud Hotline?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Fraud Hotline provides an avenue for individuals to report fraud, waste, and abuse within the SSA’s programs and operations. We handle allegations regarding violations of law or regulations affecting SSA programs and operations.

Image: Question Mark Icon What Should You Report to the Fraud Hotline?

There are a variety of situations that may be considered fraud in our SSA programs. Some examples are:

  • Receives Social Security Benefits for a Child Not under their care.
  • Continues to Receive and Use Benefits Belonging to a Deceased Person.
  • Conceals their Marriage or Assets from SSA While Receiving Disability Benefits.
  • Resides Overseas and is Receiving Disability Benefits.

Below are several examples of potential violations that affect Social Security programs or operations. You can click on each topic below to learn more.

Image: Question Mark Icon What Should I Not Report to the Fraud Hotline?

Questions about Social Security Benefits

The Fraud Hotline cannot assist individuals with questions about their Social Security account, requests for new or replacement Social Security number (SSN) cards, or issues involving the granting or denial of benefits. These issues can be addressed by:

Medicare or Medicaid Fraud

In addition, if you wish to report Medicare or Medicaid fraud, please contact:

Identity Theft

The use of your Social Security number by someone else to obtain credit, loans, telephone accounts, or other goods and services should be reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC collects complaints about identity theft from those whose identities have been stolen. Although the FTC does not have the authority to bring criminal cases, the FTC can help victims of identity theft by providing information to assist them in resolving the financial and other problems that can result from this crime. The FTC puts your information into a secure consumer fraud database and may, in appropriate instances, share it with other law enforcement agencies and private entities, including any companies about which you may complain. You can reach the FTC directly by:

The Social Security Administration cannot fix your credit record if someone has misused your Social Security number (SSN) to obtain credit. To resolve your credit problems, you need to contact the institution that authorized the credit and/or issued the credit card, as well as the major credit reporting agencies. Obtain a copy of your credit report and ask that an alert be placed on your credit record requiring that you be contacted before credit is extended using your name and SSN. The three major credit reporting agencies are

  • Equifax — 1-800-525-6285
  • Trans Union — 1-800-680-7289
  • Experian — 1-888-397-3742

Work with each credit bureau, creditor, employer and government agency involved to remove inaccurate information from your records. You should continue checking your credit report annually for inaccuracies. Keep copies of your correspondence, records of your telephone calls and other documents verifying your efforts to correct the problem.

Under certain circumstances, SSA may assign you a new SSN if, after making all efforts to resolve the problems caused by someone else's misuse of your SSN, you are still being disadvantaged by the misuse. There is no guarantee that a new number will resolve your problem.

A new SSN will NOT be assigned to you if you

  • Are trying to avoid the law or your legal responsibility.
  • Intend to avoid disclosure of a poor credit or criminal record when you are at fault.
  • Have no proof that someone else caused the problem.
  • Have lost your Social Security card or it was stolen but there is no evidence that your SSN is being misused and you are being disadvantaged.

If you can document that you are being disadvantaged because of the misuse of your SSN, visit your local SSA field office to request a new SSN, or contact SSA directly at:

SSA is the only agency authorized to issue a SSN and if you are eligible no fee is charged. Any private concern that offers to obtain a new SSN for a fee is most likely bogus and will provide no real service. In addition, the number they supply may be fraudulent and your use of such a number could constitute a crime.

The Federal government and numerous states have passed laws prohibiting identity theft. Anyone who intentionally uses the Social Security number of another person to establish a new identity or defraud the government is breaking the law.

To get more information about Social Security numbers and identity theft, download the following publications

FTC Information

Social Security Information

Image: Question Mark Icon What Do I Need to Know When Contacting the Hotline?

The information you provide to us is very important and we encourage you to provide details about your complaint. To act on your allegation, we need you to provide as much identifying information as possible regarding the suspect, victim, and the details of what occurred. The more you can tell us, the better chance we have of determining whether a crime has been committed. Your information should include the following:

  • Who committed the Fraud? (Include Suspect Name, SSN, Date of Birth, Address, and Telephone Number)
  • Who the Victims are? (Include Victim Name, SSN, Date of Birth, Address, and
    Telephone Number)
  • What exactly did the suspect do?
  • Where did the fraud take place?
  • When did it happen?
  • How was the Fraud committed?
  • Do you know why the person committed the fraud?
  • Who else has knowledge of the potential violation?

Image: Question Mark Icon May I Remain Anonymous?

Yes. Please keep in mind that, if you choose to remain anonymous, our inability to contact you may limit our ability to conduct a complete investigation.

Image: Question Mark Icon Will My Identity Remain Confidential?

In some instances, informants may believe that the disclosure of their identities may create problems or place them in danger. We will protect the identity of complainants to the maximum extent allowed by law and only release your identity to those officials who have a need to know. Specifically, Section 7(b) of the Inspector General Act of 1978 precludes the IG from disclosing the identity of a Social Security employee who reports an allegation or provides information, without the employee's consent, unless the IG determines that disclosure is unavoidable during the course of the investigation. Non-SSA employees who report allegations may also request confidentiality.

Image: Question Mark Icon What Can I Expect if I Make A Report to the Hotline?

We are very interested in the information you have regarding fraud in SSA programs. If you send us your complaint by US mail or fax, we will send you an acknowledgement letter if you have provided us with your mailing address. If you send us an allegation by email, an acknowledgement will be sent automatically to the email address you provide to us on your complaint. However, we cannot provide information regarding what action we have taken on any allegation reported to our office. Federal regulations prohibit the disclosure of information contained in law enforcement records even to the individual making the allegation. Unless you are contacted directly by one of our investigators, there will be no further communication from our office. Under no circumstances will we provide you with the "status" of action taken on the allegation.

If you are an SSA employee, SSA may not take action against you solely because of your submission of an allegation to the SSA OIG hotline. Federal laws protect employees from reprisals by their employers for "blowing the whistle" on illegal activity.

Privacy Act Notice

Our authority to request information concerning fraud, waste and abuse in connection with the programs and operations of SSA is found in the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended, 5 U.S.C. App. 3, sec. 4.

Information that you submit will be used principally for investigations into fraud, waste, and abuse in connection with the programs and operations of the SSA. This includes benefits fraud, fraud in connection with obtaining a Social Security number (SSN), identity theft involving misuse of an SSN, and all other possible criminal and civil violations of the Social Security Act.

Your submission is voluntary. There is no penalty for failing to report a possible violation. However, you may be subject to possible criminal or civil penalties for reporting false information to SSA, in some instances. You should report the truth as you know it.

We may make disclosures of information you submit to others, including other Federal and State law enforcement agencies, as necessary to complete our investigation, or as required under Federal law. We may refer your allegation to the appropriate law enforcement agency if we believe you have alleged a criminal or civil violation properly within their jurisdiction. We will refer all allegations of identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission. We may refer your allegation to the SSA if we believe your allegation may be addressed through administrative action, for instance, if you allege a simple mistake in the computation of your benefit amount. A complete list of the permissible disclosures we may make of allegations and investigative information may be found in the Federal Register at 60 Fed. Reg. 19619 (April 19, 1995). Portal to U.S. government agencies Privacy Policy | Website Policies & Other Important Information | Site Map
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  Last reviewed or modified Tuesday Jun 17, 2008