The U.S. Social Security Administration is becoming especially diligent in rooting out instances of fraud. For example, it has been investigating instances of people receiving Social Security disability payments when they don't actually have a qualifying disability and other suspicious activity.
Through its efforts, the administration is also identifying criminals who, through identity theft, are stealing Social Security benefits from the real person who should be receiving them.
If you're a recipient of Social Security, you will want to protect yourself from this kind of identity theft. There are a few key things you can do.
- Keep your documents and records safe. Lock up all of your records, including your Social Security card, and keep them safe and out of the hands of identity thieves. Never simply throw away your private records in the trash. Always shred them. When storing them, it's best to keep them at a bank in a safety deposit box.
- Learn about Social Security scams. Most social security scams involves someone contacting you and asking for your private information and Social Security number, bank account number or credit card number. The individual might even pretend to be your bank or credit card company. Don't be fooled.
- Keep an eye on your credit report. If someone stole your Social Security number, the first sign could be that you have unrecognizable debt and unpaid charges on your credit report. Be sure to keep an eye on your credit report to ensure that nothing like this has happened.
- Report any suspicious activity. Contact the Social Security Administration and report any suspicious activity immediately.
If you are still the victim of Social Security fraud, identity theft or any other kind of financial crime in spite of your best efforts, you may need to investigate your legal rights and options. Taking legal action to protect your identity, your credit rating and your Social Security benefits is key.