On March 6, Americans recognize Middle Name Pride Day.
At the Social Security Administration, our middle name is “Security,” and every day, we do everything we can to live up to that name. As part of protecting our vital services, we safeguard against all forms of Social Security fraud.
Social Security has zero-tolerance for fraud and those who try to cheat the system. While we can’t prevent all fraud schemes any more than the best police force can stop all crime, we work aggressively with our Office of the Inspector General to investigate and prosecute people who commit fraud.
Acting Commissioner Carolyn Colvin’s message to those who would defraud Social Security is clear: “We will find you; we will prosecute you; we will seek the maximum punishment allowable under the law; and we will fight to restore to the American public the money you’ve stolen.”
We provide benefits to one-fifth of the American population, including elderly retirees, people with severe illnesses, and widows and children after the death of a wage earner. Our beneficiaries also include wounded warriors and the chronically ill, all of whom tend to be the most vulnerable of our population. Protecting our critically important programs from fraud can be challenging. Yet, our standard is absolute—any fraud is unacceptable. And, our focus on preventing fraud works.
Our Office of the Inspector General works in concert with our frontline employees to identify fraud and bring offenders to justice. Together, we use a number of tools to help us accurately predict where fraud may occur. By monitoring cases closely, we identify fraud sooner rather than later—and often we prevent it before it happens. We also have stiff penalties that discourage people from committing fraud, including hefty fines, suspension of benefits, and even jail time for the most severe offenses.
We take our middle name seriously and so should you. If you suspect someone is committing Social Security fraud, we ask that you report it online at http://oig.ssa.gov/report or call the Social Security Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271 immediately.
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