Text Size Button - Decrease

Text Size Button - Normal

Text Size Button - Increase

With millions of people relying on Social Security, scammers target audiences who are looking for program and benefit information.

Social Security Tips & Info

Desk with laptop, coffee, and cell phone

Don't Be Misled by False Medicare or Social Security Ads

(September, 2018)

Online and otherwise, there’s a lot of information out there, and sometimes it’s difficult to tell what sources are credible. With millions of people relying on Social Security, scammers target audiences who are looking for program and benefit information.

The law that addresses misleading Social Security and Medicare advertising prohibits people or non-government businesses from using words or emblems that mislead others. Their advertising can’t lead people to believe that they represent, are somehow affiliated with, or endorsed or approved by Social Security or the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (Medicare).

People are often misled by advertisers who use the terms "Social Security" or "Medicare". Often, these companies offer Social Security services for a fee, even though the same services are available directly from Social Security free of charge. These services include getting:

  • A corrected Social Security card showing a person’s married name;
  • A Social Security card to replace a lost card;
  • A Social Security Statement; and
  • A Social Security number for a child.

If you receive misleading information about Social Security, send the complete ad, including the envelope, to:

Office of the Inspector General Fraud Hotline

Social Security Administration

P.O. Box 17768

Baltimore, MD 21235

You can learn more about how we combat fraudulent advertisers by reading our publication What You Need to Know About Misleading Advertising at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10005.pdf.

You can also report Social Security fraud to the Office of the Inspector General at oig.ssa.gov/report.


Maria Ortega

Maria Ortega is a Public Affairs Specialist for the Social Security Administration. Her weekly column on all things Social Security appears in the Sunday Edition of the Sun-Sentinel. She conducts speaking engagements about Social Security programs and is always available to address issues that may affect the public. She coordinates exhibits, fairs, conventions and seminars and serves as an Agency contact with news media, community organizations and advocacy groups.

Maria has agreed to let us reprint her articles here for your convenience.

Thank you Maria!


Social Security Tips & Info