Jane Burigsay
Courtesy: Social Security Administration

Older people are at a greater risk of being victims of fraud and other forms of financial exploitation. The United States Postal Service has seen an increase in mail fraud and, as a result, is promoting community strength and fraud awareness to prevent abuse. It’s a strategy that Social Security supports. You, too, can help your more vulnerable loved ones fight fraud.

If you or a loved one receives an advertisement in the mail, be aware that it could be from a private company or even a scammer. U.S. law prohibits people and/or non-government businesses from using words or emblems that mislead others. These companies’ advertising cannot lead people to believe that they represent, are somehow affiliated with, or are endorsed or approved by the Social Security Administration.

Scammers commonly target people who are looking for Social Security program or benefit information. If you receive misleading information about Social Security, send the complete advertisement, including the envelope it came in, to:

Office of the Inspector General Fraud Hotline
Social Security Administration
P.O. Box 17768
Baltimore, MD 21235

Community can simply mean your family unit. The more you know about what your loved ones are exposed to, the better you can protect them.

We also receive reports of people pretending to be a Social Security employee contacting members of the public. The caller generally asks you for personal information, such as your Social Security number, date of birth, your mother’s maiden name, or your bank or financial account information. This type of call may be an attempt to steal your identity and/or money from your bank accounts. They may state that your Social Security number will be suspended or they may demand immediate payment from you. You should not provide this information to these individuals.

A Social Security employee may contact you to follow up on a previous application for Social Security benefits or to follow up on other business that you initiated with Social Security. Keep in mind that Social Security employees will never threaten you or demand any kind of payment in exchange for services.

It’s important that you report any and all fraudulent attempts. This can only strengthen our communities and your family. You can report Social Security fraud at oig.ssa.gov/report.

SOCIAL SECURITY IS HERE FOR YOU

Social Security turns 84 this year. With more than eight decades of service, we have now provided benefits to one of the most diverse populations in history. Regardless of background, we cover retirees, wounded warriors, chronically ill children and people who have lost loved ones.

Knowing that we cover so many different people, we’ve created People Like Me webpages that speak to specific audiences. Sharing these pages could make a positive impact on someone’s life. Here are a few that might speak to you.

Do you know someone who needs to start saving for retirement? No matter where they are in their careers, Social Security can help. It’s never too late to start planning. We offer two pages — one for people early in their career at www.socialsecurity.gov/people/earlycareer, and one for people who have been working for a while, www.socialsecurity.gov/people/midcareer.

Social Security plays an important role in providing economic security for women. Nearly 55 percent of the people receiving Social Security benefits are women. Women face greater economic challenges in retirement for a number of reasons. First, women tend to live longer than men, so they are more likely to exhaust their retirement savings. A woman who is 65 years old today can expect to live, on average, until about 87, while a 65-year-old man can expect to live, on average, until about age 84.

Second, women often have lower lifetime earnings than men, which usually means they receive lower benefits. And, third, women may reach retirement with smaller pensions and other assets than men. Share this page with someone who needs this information and may need help planning. www.socialsecurity.gov/people/women.

We also proudly serve wounded warriors and veterans. They sacrificed their lives to preserve the freedoms Americans treasure. Many of them do not know that they might be entitled to benefits. Share our resources with them to make sure they are receiving the benefits they deserve: www.socialsecurity.gov/people/veterans.

If you did not see a page here that relates to your situation, check out our general People Like Me page at www.socialsecurity.gov/people.

Jane Burigsay is Social Security’s public affairs specialist in Hawai‘i.

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