Growing Number of Social Security Disability Fraud Cases Reported

Jan 24, 2024 | Social Security Disability Insurance

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Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Fraud in 2024: A Growing Concern

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) fraud continues to be a major concern in 2024. Recent reports from the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) emphasize the changing nature of these scams and the ongoing efforts to address them.

Social Security-Related Scams- Quarterly Scam Update

The SSA OIG’s quarterly scam report for the first quarter of FY 2024 (October 1, 2023 – December 31, 2023) indicates a worrying rise in scam allegations. There were 17,032 scam allegations in Q1 FY 2024, marking a 22.1% increase from the same period in the previous fiscal year. Despite this increase, scam allegations have significantly decreased from the peak years of 2020 and 2021.

Common Characteristics of SSDI Scams

Scams involving the impersonation of SSA officials continue to be prevalent. Social Security fraud statistics reported in Q1 FY 2024 include:

  • Issues with Social Security Numbers: 38.2% of complaints involved imposters claiming there was a problem with the victim’s Social Security number.
  • Problems with Benefits: 16.5% of scammers mentioned issues related to Social Security benefits.
  • Use of Official Documents: 26.8% of scams involved imposters using documents or images, such as federal logos, to appear legitimate.
  • Impersonation of Government Officials: 35.3% of complaints reported scammers impersonating officials from federal, state, or local government agencies other than the SSA.

Impact on Different Age Groups

Financial losses from SSDI scams have impacted both younger and older individuals. In the first quarter of fiscal year 2024, 598 individuals under 50 years of age and 650 individuals aged 50 and older reported financial losses. Older adults, particularly those between 70 and 84 years of age, reported the highest average losses.

Real-Life Examples of SSDI Fraud

To illustrate the impact of SSDI scams, here are some real-life examples:

  • Case 1: Elderly Victim in Florida An 82-year-old woman in Florida received a call from someone claiming to be an SSA official. The caller informed her that her Social Security number had been compromised and she needed to transfer her funds to a secure account. The victim ended up losing $10,000 before realizing it was a scam.

  • Case 2: Disabled Veteran in California A disabled veteran in California was contacted by someone posing as an SSA agent, who claimed there was an issue with his benefits. The scammer used official-looking documents to convince the veteran to provide personal information, which was then used to steal his identity and benefits.

  • Case 3: Young Professional in New York A 35-year-old professional in New York reported receiving an email that appeared to be from the SSA, asking for personal information to resolve a benefits issue. After providing the information, he discovered his identity had been stolen and fraudulent credit accounts were opened in his name.

SSA’s Efforts to Combat Scams

The SSA and SSA OIG have implemented several initiatives to combat SSDI-related scams:

Public Awareness Campaigns: The SSA sent out 127.6 million letters to warn about scams and also created public service announcements and videos like “How to Spot a Scam,” which received a lot of views and engagement.

Educational Outreach: The SSA OIG conducted outreach efforts, including giving presentations to SSA employees and the public, creating blog posts aimed at specific demographics, and participating in advisory groups focused on protecting older adults from scams.

Collaboration with Telecommunications Companies: The SSA OIG collaborated with U.S.-based telecommunications companies to stop scam calls from coming into the country. Penalties were imposed on gateway carriers involved in facilitating scam calls.

Social Media Monitoring: The SSA OIG continues to monitor social media platforms for fake accounts, resulting in the removal of several fraudulent accounts.

Protecting Yourself from SSDI Scams

To protect yourself from SSDI-related scams, follow these tips:

  • Verify Communications: Always verify the legitimacy of any communication claiming to be from the SSA. Official SSA correspondence will never threaten you or ask for personal information via phone or email.
  • Report Scams: Use the SSA’s dedicated scam reporting form or hotline to report any suspicious activity.
  • Stay Informed: Stay updated on the latest scam tactics and prevention tips by visiting the SSA’s scam awareness page and following their official social media channels.

At Newlin Disability, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of SSDI recipients. If you believe you have been a victim of an SSDI scam, contact us immediately to discuss your legal options and ensure your rights are safeguarded.

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If you’re navigating the complexities of Social Security disability claims, Newlin Disability is here to provide expert guidance and support. Reach out to our experienced team today, and let us help you understand your options, streamline the application process, and maximize your chances of receiving the benefits you deserve.