Majority Press

Senator Collins Calls on Social Security Administration to Strengthen Efforts to Combat Scam

The Senate Aging Committee’s Fraud Hotline has received a significant increase in complaints about the Social Security scam since last year


Click HERE to read Senator Collins’ letter.

 

Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins, the Chairman of the Aging Committee, urged the Social Security Administration (SSA) to strengthen its response to the Social Security scam that seeks to rob Americans of their hard-earned savings.  In a letter to SSA Commissioner Andrew Saul, Senator Collins made clear that she expects the agency to take concrete action to protect seniors and requested additional information on the steps SSA has taken thus far.

 

The Social Security scam involves con artists impersonating Social Security staff and calling victims to tell them that their Social Security number has been compromised and used by someone else. In another iteration of this scam, Mainers are told that their Social Security number has been suspended and that there is a warrant for their arrest.  The fraudsters claim they need additional information from victims to verify their identity. 

 

In April 2019, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that reported losses from the Social Security scam over the past year eclipsed reported losses from the Internal Revenue Service scam in its peak year.  The FTC’s data aligns with the findings of the Aging Committee.  The Committee’s Fraud Hotline (1-855-303-9470) has received a significant increase in complaints about the Social Security scam since last year.

 

“I am deeply troubled by the Social Security scam that continues to target older Americans in Maine and across the country,” Senator Collins wrote.  “Although the Social Security Administration (SSA) is taking steps to raise public awareness and limit scammers’ ability to continue perpetrating this scam, I am very concerned that the response to this scam has been lagging.  Given the severity of the Social Security scam, I urge you to take all available steps to prevent more Americans from being targeted by this pernicious scam.”

 

“In addition to the harm this scam is inflicting on older Americans and public trust, I am concerned about the scam’s effects on the SSA’s ability to serve the public,” Senator Collins continued.  “I have consistently emphasized the important role field offices play in providing face-to-face services for millions of seniors, people with disabilities, and their families, particularly in rural areas where individuals may not have access to computers and high-speed internet.”

 

Senator Collins requested that SSA Commissioner Saul respond to a series of questions to better understand SSA’s efforts to prevent Americans from being targeted.

 

Click HERE to read Senator Collins’ letter.

 

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In the past six years, Senator Collins’ Aging Committee has held 23 hearings focused on financial fraud and scams.  Senator Collins has also helped lead efforts to fight against robocalls.  In July, she chaired a hearing assessing the government’s response to these illegal calls.  She also introduced a bill to crack down on the deceptive caller-ID “spoofing” tactic many robocallers use, and she successfully pushed the FCC to approve a proposal to allow carriers to block illegal robocalls by default.

 

Last year, the Senior $afe Act, a bipartisan bill Senator Collins authored with then-Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), was signed into law.  This new law provides support to regulators, financial institutions, and legal organizations to educate their employees about how to identify, prevent, and report financial exploitation.

 

Earlier this year, Senator Collins unveiled the 2019 Fraud Book, which details the top 10 most common scams reported to her Committee’s Fraud Hotline over the previous year. 

 

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