Company Pays $50,000 Penalty to Settle Claim of Misleading Consumers with Social Security-Related Images

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 18, 2019
 

The Inspector General for the Social Security Administration, Gail S. Ennis, announced today that USA Filing Services, LLC, has agreed to pay a $50,000 penalty to resolve the Government’s claim that the company misled consumers by using Social Security-related images on its fee-based Social Security card application services website, blog, and Facebook account.    

The Social Security Office of the Inspector General is authorized to enforce Section 1140 of the Social Security Act, a consumer protection law that prohibits people and companies from misleading consumers by giving a false impression of association with, or endorsement by, the Social Security Administration. Section 1140 also prohibits reproducing and selling Social Security publications and forms without authorization, as well as charging, without proper notice, for services that the SSA provides free. 

The Social Security Administration does not charge individuals for Social Security card applications; the agency provides all of its forms (including the Application for a Social Security Card) for free through its website and field offices located nationwide.

The Office of the Inspector General can impose civil monetary penalties against individuals, organizations, or other entities that violate Section 1140. All monies collected go directly to Social Security’s Old-Age and Survivors Trust Fund.

USA Filing Services cooperated with the Office of the Inspector General and voluntarily discontinued its use of the Social Security-related images upon notification of the Government’s inquiry of this matter. Pursuant to the terms of the settlement agreement, the company did not admit to violating the law, but did agree to pay a $50,000 penalty.

Inspector General Ennis encourages the public to report suspected violations of Section 1140 to the Social Security Fraud Hotline:

  • online at https://oig.ssa.gov/report;
  • by mail to P.O. Box 17785, Baltimore, MD, 21235;
  • by fax at (410) 597-0118; or
  • by phone at (800) 269-0271, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. 

For more information on Section 1140 enforcement, please visit https://oig.ssa.gov/section-1140.

For press inquiries, please contact Tracy Lynge, Communications Director, at (410) 965-2671.