Beware of Social Security Scams

The Better Business Bureau receives numerous consumer inquiries and complaints about direct mailings that use the words “Social Security” or other government-like symbols as come-ons to get consumers’ attention – and sometimes their money.

One type of mailing offers to provide, for a fee, various services which are available for the Social Security Administration at no charge, such as, obtaining a Social Security number for a newborn, notifying Social Security of name changes for newly married persons, or obtaining personal earnings and benefit estimate statements. Consumers can obtain this information for free by calling the Social Security Administration. You can find their number in the blue pages of your telephone directory, or visit their Web site at

Another type of solicitation allegedly offers an extra social security check to senior citizens who send back money or provide their bank account or social security numbers. Recipients are asked to send a “filing fee” of varying amounts or to fill out a form including their Social Security and bank account numbers so the fee could be “automatically deducted.” Social Security recipients usually do get letters from the government when their benefits increase or the government may send out a statement on taxes paid and future benefits due. But, the federal government never asks for someone’s Social Security number – they already know it.

Consumers who fill out applications for these fraudulent companies are providing enough confidential information to permit use of their identity to establish credit, apply for a loan, buy a car, or conduct many other transactions in their name.

If you receive misleading information about a “Social Security” service from someone seeking payment for the service, send the solicitation to the Social Security Administration. If you have a complaint about a company you believe have defrauded you, contact the Better Business Bureau.