SSA Inspector General Combats Social Security-Related Internet Fraud
- Credit card companies have helped us locate fraudulent websites and identify the perpetrators. They have also helped combat this type of fraud by ceasing to accept funds or process payment transactions from websites that violate Section 1140.
- Google and Microsoft (which powers both Yahoo! and Bing search engines) have taken positive steps in the fight against advertising violations of Section 1140. Both companies have modified their advertising policies to broadly reflect the prohibitions set forth in Section 1140 (i.e., policies that prohibit advertisers from creating the false impression of a connection to a governmental agency), while also prohibiting advertising for the sale of free government forms.
We plan to expand our outreach efforts and collaboration with the private sector even further, to ensure that Internet-based avenues such as mobile apps and networking sites do not become the next vehicles for Social Security-related fraud.
“Social Security touches the lives of virtually every American. In recognizing this, the Congress enacted Section 1140 as a consumer protection tool to combat unscrupulous individuals who seek to take advantage of consumers. We are able to impose hefty penalties against these individuals, but we have also found that collaborating with the private sector is essential in fighting this type of fraud and protecting consumers,” said Inspector General O’Carroll.
Anyone wishing to learn more about our Section 1140 outreach and enforcement efforts may read this article recently published in the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency’s Journal of Public Inquiry. In addition, we encourage anyone who suspects a website of violating Section 1140 to report that to the OIG’s Fraud Hotline through our website, http://oig.ssa.gov/report.