Most California adults have a Social Security Number (SSN), and the government uses those numbers in many important ways. Misusing someone else’s SSN for your own financial benefit is illegal, and Social Security fraud costs the government millions of dollars a year.
What is Social Security fraud?
At its core, Social Security fraud is when someone makes use of another person’s SSN under false pretenses. This can take numerous forms and can be classified as white-collar crimes.
One of the most well-known forms of Social Security fraud is identity theft. This involves acquiring another person’s SSN and using it for some financial advantage. Frequently, it might be taking out loans or applying for credit cards. But there are other forms of Social Security fraud.
Other types of Social Security fraud
Here are some other common forms of Social Security fraud:
- Not notifying the Social Security Administration when a relative dies in order to continue collecting benefits
- Misleading the SSA in order to collect benefits, such as claiming benefits for a child not under your custody
- Hiding assets or your marriage from the SSA, if that information would impact benefits received
- Buying and selling SSNs and related data (often via the internet)
Note that another form of Social Security fraud involves colluding directly with employees of the SSA in order to set up benefits that would otherwise not be applicable.
It’s important to keep in mind that Social Security fraud goes beyond simple identity theft. If you believe you may have used a SSN improperly, or if your conduct might fit any of the examples from the above list, you could be at risk of prosecution.