Retirement Blog

Finance Blogs » Retirement » Social Security fraud alert

Social Security fraud alert

By Jennie L. Phipps · Bankrate.com
Monday, August 19, 2013
Posted: 4 pm ET

If you haven't signed up for a SocialSecurity.gov personal account, do it now. Don't give a crook a chance to sign up as you.

A year ago, Social Security launched the My Social Security online portal at SocialSecurity.gov, which gives participants of any age information about their personal Social Security and Medicare accounts. At this year's recent meeting with the consumer Social Security Advisory Board, the administration warned that a small number -- fewer than 1 percent -- of the accounts have been created by fraudsters who opened a My Social Security account using information that belongs to someone else.

These crooks can use the portal to change the beneficiary information, directing Social Security payments to a different bank account -- one to which they have access. Social Security says this is most likely to happen to those who are "elderly, ill or nontech-savvy." Even if a participant isn't yet receiving Social Security payments, having this information stolen can be problematic, Social Security says, because it  allows a crook to receive a benefit verification letter and future retirement benefit information.

Setting up one of these retirement planning accounts requires that you provide personal information and create a password. The password is constructed in a way that is more complex than most people use for other purposes. Once you've done it, the likelihood that someone will be able to break into your account is low.

Only one account per Social Security number is permitted, so if you have never set one up and are unable to do so, Social Security recommends that you either call (800) 772-1213 or go in person to your local Social Security office for help.

Social Security will never send or email you an invitation asking you to sign up for a My Social Security account, but crooks may try this route to get your personal information. The administration says not to trust any link that purports to be from Social Security that doesn't END in .gov/.

«
»
Bankrate wants to hear from you and encourages comments. We ask that you stay on topic, respect other people's opinions, and avoid profanity, offensive statements, and illegal content. Please keep in mind that we reserve the right to (but are not obligated to) edit or delete your comments. Please avoid posting private or confidential information, and also keep in mind that anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

By submitting a post, you agree to be bound by Bankrate's terms of use. Please refer to Bankrate's privacy policy for more information regarding Bankrate's privacy practices.
13 Comments
Herman A. Stramm
September 24, 2013 at 1:14 pm

can my SS account be garnished ??

mcdonaldgussin
September 24, 2013 at 10:54 am

thanks and God bless America being so busy I lost my social security years ago never thought that others could...

Dan Wagner
September 24, 2013 at 9:02 am

Get the Attorney General, Social Security, police and your bank all on the same page MARQUS.

Tell tem all your issues and they should be able to STOP the devious low-life activities.

Good luck and GOD BLESS!!!

Add a comment

(Comments may take 5-10 minutes to appear)