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Social Security Protects Your Investment In You: Column By Darlynda Bogle

We provide benefits to about one-fifth of the American population and help protect workers, children, people with disabilities, and the elderly.  For example, as of March 2021, Social Security paid monthly retirement, disability, dependent or survivor’s benefits to 22,973 persons of different ages and socioeconomic backgrounds in the United States Virgin Islands. 

One of our most important responsibilities is to protect the hard-earned money you pay into Social Security, which is why we have zero tolerance for fraud.  We take fraud claims seriously and investigate them thoroughly.  We respond quickly and decisively to prevent and detect fraud.  For example, we monitor transactions to detect actions that demonstrate an intent to defraud the American people.  We will continue to innovate and develop anti-fraud initiatives because any level of fraud is unacceptable. 

Recently, we launched a Public Service Announcement as our latest effort to caution you about the ongoing nationwide telephone scam.  The video features a message from our Commissioner, Andrew Saul.  Along with our Office of the Inspector General, we continue to receive reports about fraudulent phone calls, text messages, and emails from people who falsely claim that they are government employees.  The scammers play on emotions like fear to convince people to provide personal information or money in cash, wire transfers, or gift cards.  Fraudsters also email fake documents in attempts to get people to comply with their demands.

“I want every American to know that if a suspicious caller states there is a problem with their Social Security number or account, they should hang up and never give the caller money or personal information.  People should then go online to report the scam call to Social Security,” said Commissioner Saul.  You can report these scams at oig.ssa.gov.

Learn how to protect yourself and report any suspicious calls or emails right away.  If you have already been a victim of one of these scams, please do not be embarrassed.  Instead, report the scam at oig.ssa.gov so we can stop these scammers and protect others.  Please share our new Public Service Announcement video with your friends and family at www.youtube.com/socialsecurity.

You can also share our publication, Social Security Protects Your Investment, at www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10004.pdf.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we could not receive visitors at our field office except for previously arranged appointments on special limited critical situations. However, we continue providing our services by phone and internet. If you have questions on Social Security benefits and services, please access www.socialsecurity.gov. You could also access our automated services at 1-800-772-1213 or call your local Social Security office Monday to Friday from 9:00AM to 4:00PM. To locate the telephone number of your local field office, please input your residential zip code at www.ssa.gov/locator/ .

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Victor Rodriguez

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