If you’re like most people, you protect what’s valuable to you.
To protect your family financially, you buy health and life insurance. To protect your home, you get homeowner’s insurance, a security alarm, or perhaps a large dog. To protect your jewelry, you hide it in a safe place or buy insurance in case you need to replace it. To protect your money, you invest it, perhaps in a bank that offers FDIC coverage.
Social Security is much the same. We value the people we serve, our employees who work hard to provide world-class customer service, and the integrity of our programs. We protect these by using many tools to identify, prevent, and stop fraud, and we seek the maximum punishment for those who commit it.
The tools we use help us predict where fraud may occur, and, by monitoring cases closely, we identify fraud sooner rather than later. We also have stiff penalties that discourage people from committing fraud.
Social Security has a zero-tolerance policy for fraud. While we cannot prevent every instance of fraud any more than law enforcement can prevent all crime, we aggressively investigate and pursue prosecution of those who try to cheat the system. Our 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.
Social Security takes fraud seriously and so should you. If you suspect someone is committing Social Security fraud, report it online at http://oig.ssa.gov/report or call the Social Security Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271.
Fontaine Joynes is a Social Security District Manager in Baltimore, Maryland.