Facebook Live: How You Can Help Prevent Elder Abuse

Facebook Live: How You Can Help Prevent Elder Abuse


>>GOOD EVENING. I’M LAUREN FROM SOCIAL SECURITY. THANK YOU FOR TUNING IN TO OUR SOCIAL SECURITY LIVE SHOW TONIGHT. AT SOCIAL SECURITY, WE SERVE MILLIONS OF AMERICANS EVERY DAY BY PAYING RETIREMENT, DISABILITY, SPOUSES, AND SURVIVORS BENEFITS. WE ARE COMMITTED TO PROVIDING A FOUNDATION OF FINANCIAL SECURITY FOR OUR NATION’S CITIZENS. UNFORTUNATELY, SOME OF OUR SENIOR CITIZENS MAY BE FINANCIALLY EXPLOITED, ABUSED, AND NEGLECTED. OFTEN, THESE CHALLENGES ROB OUR ELDERLY OF THEIR DIGNITY AS THEY PREPARE TO LIVE OUT THEIR GOLDEN YEARS. ON JUNE 15TH, WE COMMEMORATE “WORLD ELDER ABUSE AWARENESS DAY.” DID YOU KNOW THAT APPROXIMATELY ONE IN TEN SENIORS IS ABUSED EACH YEAR, OR THAT ABUSE IS UNDERREPORTED, WITH AN ESTIMATED ONE IN EVERY 23 CASES BEING REPORTED TO ADULT PROTECTIVE SERVICES? WORLD ELDER ABUSE AWARENESS DAY PROVIDES THE OPPORTUNITY TO RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT ELDER ABUSE, WHY IT OCCURS, AND WHAT WE CAN DO TO HELP STOP IT. TONIGHT WE ARE JOINING FORCES WITH SOCIAL SECURITY’S OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL TO TALK ABOUT ELDER ABUSE AND SHARE TIPS ON WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP PREVENT IT. WITH US TO TALK ABOUT THIS IMPORTANT ISSUE IS JENNIFER WALKER, DEPUTY ASSISTANT INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR INVESTIGATIONS. WELCOME.>>GOOD EVENING AND THANK YOU. IT’S MY PLEASURE TO BE HERE TONIGHT TO TALK ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF PROTECTING SENIORS IN OUR COMMUNITIES.>>DEFINITELY. BEFORE WE GET STARTED, WE WANT TO LET THE AUDIENCE KNOW THAT WE WILL BE TAKING LIVE QUESTIONS ON THE TOPIC OF ELDER ABUSE AND THE OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL. IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION ON THIS TOPIC, BE SURE TO TYPE IT BELOW IN THE COMMENT BOX, AND WE WILL TRY TO ANSWER IT LATER. REMEMBER, DO NOT POST PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION ON SOCIAL MEDIA. SO, JENNIFER, CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHAT THE OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL DOES?>>SURE. THE OIG CONDUCTS OVERSIGHT OF SSA’S PROGRAMS AND OPERATIONS, AND IT DETECTS AND PREVENTS SOCIAL SECURITY FRAUD, WASTE AND ABUSE. EACH FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AGENCY HAS AN OIG THAT OVERSEES HOW IT OPERATES. I’M THE ASSISTANT DEPUTY INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR INVESTIGATIONS, AND I OVERSEE INVESTIGATIVE ACTIVITY THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY. WE HAVE AGENTS THAT INVESTIGATE SOCIAL SECURITY FRAUD IN EVERY STATE, BUT IN ADDITION WE ALSO HAVE AUDITORS, ATTORNEYS, AND SUPPORT STAFF, AS WELL. MAINLY DO WE OUR JOB AT OIG THROUGH OUR CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS OF SOCIAL SECURITY FRAUD AND OUR AUDITS OF SSA’S PROGRAMS AND OPERATIONS.>>OKAY, THANK YOU. AND CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT WHAT OIG INVESTIGATES AND HOW IT DOES ITS INVESTIGATIVE WORK?>>YES. WE INVESTIGATE ALL FORMS OF SOCIAL SECURITY FRAUD TO INCLUDE THEFT OF BENEFITS, INCLUDING DISABILITY BENEFITS. THIS OCCURS WHEN SOMEONE LIES TO SSA OR CONCEALS INFORMATION ABOUT THEIR SITUATION TO COLLECT BENEFITS. FOR INSTANCE, A PERSON MAY WITHHOLD INFORMATION THAT WOULD MAKE THEM INELIGIBLE FOR BENEFITS. WE ALSO INVESTIGATE DECEASED BENEFICIARY FRAUD. AND THIS HAPPENS WHEN SOMEONE DIES AND SOMEONE ELSE FAILS TO NOTIFY THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION OF THEIR DEATH, AND THEN THAT PERSON CONTINUES TO COLLECT BENEFITS OF THIS DECEASED PERSON. IN ADDITION, WE ALSO INVESTIGATE SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER MISUSE AND THREATS OR ASSAULTS AGAINST SSA EMPLOYEES OR PROPERTY. IN ALL, WE RECEIVE ABOUT 150, 000 ALLEGATIONS OF FRAUD EVERY YEAR FROM SSA AND DDS EMPLOYEES, FROM PRIVATE CITIZENS, STATE OR LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT, OTHER FEDERAL AGENCIES, AND THROUGH CONGRESS.>>OH WOW. AND CAN YOU EXPLAIN TO OUR AUDIENCE WHAT ELDER ABUSE IS?>>YES. SADLY, ELDER ABUSE ENCOMPASSES SEVERAL FORMS OF MISTREATMENT OF SENIORS, INCLUDING PHYSICAL ABUSE, NEGLECT, AND FINANCIAL EXPLOITATION. FOR EXAMPLE, A FAMILY MEMBER OR CAREGIVER COULD HARM OR NEGLECT THE SENIOR THEY CARE FOR. ANOTHER EXAMPLE WOULD BE A THIEF TRYING TO DECEIVE THE SENIOR OF INFORMATION TO STEAL THEIR MONEY OR FINANCIAL INFORMATION. OBVIOUSLY, THIS IS AN IMPORTANT ISSUE FOR SSA AND FOR THE OIG, BECAUSE MANY OF SSA’S CUSTOMERS ARE SENIORS.>>AND HOW DOES OIG COMBAT THESE ELDER ABUSE RELATED ISSUES?>>SO WE DO THAT IN SEVERAL WAYS. SENIORS DEPEND ON OTHER PEOPLE TO RECEIVE AND MANAGE THEIR SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS IN A LOT OF INSTANCES, AND WE CALL THOSE PEOPLE REPRESENTATIVE PAYEES. THE PAYEE RECEIVES THE SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS FOR THE SENIOR BECAUSE THEY CAN’T MANAGE THEIR OWN FUNDS. WHEN A PAYEE RECEIVES THE BENEFITS FOR A SENIOR, THEY PLEDGE TO USE THOSE FUNDS IN THE SENIOR’S BEST INTEREST. WHEN THAT DOESN’T HAPPEN, WE CALL THAT REPRESENTATIVE PAYEE MISUSE. WE INVESTIGATE SEVERAL HUNDRED OF THOSE CASES EVERY YEAR. OUR AUDITORS ALSO DO A LOT OF WORK IN THIS AREA TO HELP SSA MONITOR THE REPRESENTATIVE PAYEE PROGRAM. SSA WANTS TO MAKE SURE THAT ITS BENEFICIARIES GET THE HELP THAT THEY NEED, SO THE AGENCY USES OUR REVIEWS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FROM OUR AUDITS TO IMPROVE THE REPRESENTATIVE PAYEE PROGRAM. IT’S IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT THE MAJORITY OF REPRESENTIVE PAYEES DO THE RIGHT THING BY THE SENIORS THAT THEY ARE CARING FOR. FINALLY, THERE ARE SEVERAL SCAMS OUT THERE WHICH CAN AFFECT VULNERABLE POPULATIONS LIKE SENIORS. WE’VE SEEN EXAMPLES WHERE CRIMINALS CALL AND PRETEND TO BE EMPLOYEES OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION OR THE OIG. AND WHEN SOMEONE GETS THAT CALL, THEY THINK IT’S LEGITIMATE, BECAUSE THEY THINK IT’S FROM A REAL GOVERNMENT AGENCY. AND SOON THEY ARE GIVING UP THEIR MONEY AND THEIR PERSONAL INFORMATION. WE DO A LOT OF PUBLIC OUTREACH IN THAT AREA TO MAKE PEOPLE AWARE OF THOSE SCAMS AND TO HELP PROTECT THEM.>>OKAY. AND WHAT’S BEING DONE TO REDUCE ELDER ABUSE ON A BROADER SCALE?>>SO THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE HAS MADE IT A PRIORITY TO REDUCE ELDER ABUSE, TO ADDRESS CRIMES AGAINST SENIORS, AND TO RAISE AWARENESS OF THIS ISSUE. DOJ’S ELDER ABUSE INITIATIVE IS WORKING ON SEVERAL FRONTS TO PROTECT SENIORS FROM VARIOUS FORMS OF ABUSE. FOR EXAMPLE, PROSECUTING THOSE WHO PERPETRATE THESE FINANCIAL SCHEMES AGAINST SENIORS, ESTABLISHING FEDERAL, STATE, AND LOCAL TASK FORCES TO COMBAT THE ISSUE, AND PROVIDING ASSISTANCE FOR ELDER ABUSE VICTIMS. DOJ HAS A LOT OF INFORMATION ONLINE ABOUT THIS ISSUE, AND THEIR WEBSITE IS JUSTICE.GOV/ELDERJUSTICE.>>OKAY, THANK YOU. SO IF YOU’RE JUST TUNING IN, WE’RE HERE WITH JENNIFER WALKER, DEPUTY ASSISTANT INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR INVESTIGATIONS, TALKING ABOUT ELDER ABUSE AND HOW YOU CAN PREVENT IT. IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION FOR JENNIFER, PLEASE PUT IT IN THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW. WE WILL ANSWER IT LATER IN THE SHOW. REMEMBER, DO NOT POST PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION ON SOCIAL MEDIA. WE’VE TALKED IN GENERAL ABOUT ELDER ABUSE SO FAR. CAN YOU SHARE AN EXAMPLE OF AN OIG INVESTIGATION RELATED TO ELDER ABUSE OR FINANCIAL EXPLOITATION.>>YES, ONE IN PARTICULAR COMES TO MIND FROM A COUPLE YEARS AGO THAT OUR INVESTIGATORS INVESTIGATED IN THE STATE OF WASHINGTON. IN THIS CASE, A WOMAN CONVINCED HER LANDLORD, A 78-YEAR-OLD MAN, THAT SHE NEEDED MONEY TO PAY FOR CANCER TREATMENTS. IN FACT, SHE DID NOT EVEN HAVE CANCER, AND SHE USED THE MORE THAN $400,000 THAT HE GAVE TO HER FOR A GAMBLING ADDICTION. THE MAN WROTE THE WOMAN MORE THAN 190 CHECKS OVER A PERIOD OF TIME, AND LUCKILY HIS BANK BECAME SUSPICIOUS AND ALERTED HIS FAMILY MEMBERS. ONCE THE FAMILY MEMBERS STARTED LOOKING INTO THIS, THE WOMAN’S SCHEME UNRAVELED. UNFORTUNATELY, WHILE SHE WAS DEFRAUDING HIM, SHE ALSO APPLIED FOR BENEFITS FROM SSA AND THE STATE OF WASHINGTON. TO DO THIS, SHE CONCEALED THE MONEY SHE WAS RECEIVING FROM THE VICTIM. SO WHILE SHE WAS DEFRAUDING THIS INNOCENT SENIOR, HER LANDLORD, SHE WAS ALSO DEFRAUDING THE TAXPAYERS AS WELL. SO, AS A RESULT OF OUR INVESTIGATION, THE WOMAN PLED GUILTY TO HER CRIMES; A JUDGE SENTENCED HER TO TWO YEARS IN PRISON AND ORDERED HER TO REPAY THE MONEY NOT ONLY TO SSA BUT ALSO TO THE VICTIM.>>YEAH, WOW, THAT’S AN UNFORTUNATE STORY, BUT GOOD WORK BY OIG.>>THANKS.>>YOU ALSO MENTIONED THAT THE OIG WORKS CASES WHERE REPRESENTATIVE PAYEES OF SENIORS COMMIT FRAUD BY STEALING BENEFITS. WHAT ARE SOME SIGNS OF THIS TYPE OF FINANCIAL EXPLOITATION THAT PEOPLE CAN LOOK OUT FOR?>>YEAH, SO LIKE I MENTIONED BEFORE, WE INVESTIGATE SEVERAL HUNDRED OF THESE CASES EACH YEAR, AND THEY ARE VERY DISHEARTENING, BECAUSE THE SENIORS ARE ONE OF OUR MOST VULNERABLE POPULATIONS. BUT IN THESE CASES SOME THINGS TO LOOK FOR IS INDICATIONS THAT THE PAYEE IS NOT MEETING THE SENIOR’S BASIC NEEDS: THEY ARE LIVING IN SUBSTANDARD HOUSING; THEY ARE NOT GETTING THE FOOD, SHELTER, OR MEDICINES THAT THEY NEED. ANOTHER THING TO LOOK OUT FOR IS SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY ON THE PART OF THE PAYEE. IS THE PAYEE SUDDENLY SPENDING MORE MONEY ON THEMSELVES THAT SHOULD BE GOING TO THE SENIOR. AND LASTLY, ANY CONCERNS OR REPORTS FROM THE SENIOR THEMSELVES. ARE THEY COMPLAINING ABOUT SUBSTANDARD HOUSING, NOT HAVING ADEQUATE CLOTHING, ADEQUATE FOOD, OR THEY DON’T HAVE THEIR MEDICATIONS?>>OKAY. WELL, THAT’S GOOD INFORMATION. THANK YOU. LET’S TALK A LITTLE MORE ABOUT THE FINANCIAL AND IDENTITY THEFT SCAMS THAT ARE OUT THERE. WHAT SHOULD VIEWERS KNOW ABOUT THESE SCAMS?>>SO THERE ARE SEVERAL DIFFERENT TYPES OF THESE SCAMS. THE FIRST ONE I’LL TALK ABOUT IS IMPERSONATION SCHEMES. SO THIS IS A COMMUNICATION, USUALLY A PHONE CALL, AN EMAIL, OR A TEXT, IN WHICH THE CALLER CLAIMS TO BE FROM A GOVERNMENT AGENCY, LIKE THE SSA OR THE IRS. I’M SURE A LOT OF OUR VIEWERS HAVE RECEIVED SIMILAR CALLS LIKE THIS. THE CALLER IS TRYING TO OBTAIN PERSONAL INFORMATION OR FINANCIAL INFORMATION OR MONEY FROM THEIR VICTIM THROUGH INTIMIDATION BY SAYING THEY ARE WITH THE GOVERNMENT. THE SECOND TYPE OF SCHEME WE SEE A LOT OF IS CALLED AN ADVANCED FEE SCHEME. THEIR REQUEST FOR A PERSON TO PAY AN UPFRONT FEE TO THE CALLER TO RECEIVE SOMETHING OF VALUE, LIKE A LOTTERY WINNING, OR INVESTMENT EARNINGS, OR LUXURY VACATIONS. I’M SURE, AGAIN, OUR CALLERS HAVE RECEIVED CALLS WHERE THEY’VE WON A CRUISE. YOU KNOW, I’VE WON SEVERAL CRUISES LATELY. SO IF SOMEONE IS ASKING YOU TO WIRE THEM MONEY BEFORE YOU CAN RECEIVE A PRIZE LIKE THIS, DON’T DO IT. THAT’S A PRETTY GOOD INDICATION THAT IT’S A SCAM OR A SCHEME. THE OLD ADAGE IS TRUE: IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT USUALLY IS.>>YEAH.>>AND LASTLY, THERE ARE PHISHING SCHEMES, WHICH CAN ALSO TAKE MANY FORMS — EMAILS, PHONE CALLS, TEXT MESSAGES — WHERE THE PERSON ON THE OTHER END IS TRYING TO TRICK SOMEONE INTO PROVIDING THEIR PERSONAL INFORMATION, OR THEIR FINANCIAL INFORMATION, THEIR SSN, THEIR BANK ACCOUNT NUMBERS. SO BE ON THE LOOKOUT IF SOMEONE REQUESTS THAT TYPE OF INFORMATION FROM YOU. THE BIGGEST PIECE OF ADVICE I CAN GIVE IS DON’T SHARE ANY INFORMATION WITH ANYONE IF YOU ARE UNSURE OF WHO IS ON THE OTHER END OF THAT CALL OR THAT EMAIL.>>OKAY. AND HOW CAN PEOPLE PROTECT THEMSELVES AND THEIR PERSONAL INFORMATION?>>SO ONE OF THE BIGGEST THINGS TO REMEMBER IS JUST TO KNOW THAT THOSE SCHEMES ARE OUT THERE. AGAIN, LIKE I SAID, IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY IS. A FEW QUICK TIPS: NEVER PROVIDE YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION TO SOMEONE WHO CALLS YOU OR EMAILS YOU UNSOLICITED BY YOU. NEVER AGREE TO ACCEPT PREPAID DEBIT OR CREDIT CARDS FROM SOMEONE YOU DON’T KNOW. NEVER AGREE TO SEND OR WIRE MONEY TO SOMEONE YOU DON’T KNOW. AND ANY CALLER OR EMAIL THAT CREATES A SENSE OF URGENCY IS USUALLY NOT LEGITIMATE. AND LASTLY, SECURE YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION. KEEP YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY CARD LOCKED UP AND SEPARATE. SHRED DOCUMENTS WITH YOUR PERSONAL AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION ON THEM. DELETE SUSPICIOUS EMAILS. USE STRONG PASSWORDS FOR ALL OF YOUR ONLINE ACCOUNTS. AND REGULARLY CHECK YOUR CREDIT REPORTS FOR ANY SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY.>>WOW, THOSE ARE REALLY GOOD TIPS. THANK YOU. AND WHERE CAN PEOPLE REPORT SCAMS AND IDENTITY THEFT?>>SO IF THE COMMUNICATION INVOLVES SSA PROGRAMS OR OPERATIONS, YOU CAN REPORT THE FRAUD TO OUR SOCIAL SECURITY FRAUD HOTLINE AT OIG.SSA.GOV/REPORT. THERE ARE ALSO MANY IRS IMPERSONATION SCHEMES THAT I TALKED ABOUT. SO FOR THOSE, YOU SHOULD REPORT THOSE TO TREASURY OIG FOR TAX ADMINISTRATION. AND LASTLY, THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION HAS MANY RESOURCES ON THEIR WEBSITE TO HELP PEOPLE REPORT AND RECOVER FROM IDENTITY THEFT.>>OKAY, THANK YOU. SO IF YOU’RE JUST TUNING IN, WE’RE HERE WITH JENNIFER WALKER OF THE OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL WHO IS TALKING WITH US ABOUT ELDER ABUSE, AND HOW THE OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL CAN HELP US PREVENT IT. SO, BEFORE WE GO TO LIVE QUESTIONS, CAN YOU REPEAT FOR US ONE MORE TIME WHAT SHOULD SOMEONE DO IF THEY SUSPECT FRAUD, EXPLOITATION, OR ELDER ABUSE, AND WHERE SHOULD THEY REPORT IT?>>YES. SO IF THERE IS A SOCIAL SECURITY ASPECT TO THE CASE OR THE ALLEGATION, THE REPORT SHOULD COME TO THE OIG, THROUGH OUR WEBSITE AT OIG.SSA.GOV/REPORT. FOR OTHER CASES OF SUSPECTED ELDER ABUSE, THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE SUGGESTS THAT IN AN EMERGENCY, CONTACT 911. IF IT’S NOT AN IMMEDIATE EMERGENCY, CONTACT YOUR LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT. YOU CAN ALSO REPORT SUSPECTED ELDER ABUSE TO THE NATIONAL ADULT PROTECTIVE SERVICES ASSOCIATION, AND THEY HAVE A LOT OF USEFUL INFORMATION ON THEIR WEBSITE AS WELL. AND THEN DOJ ALSO HAS ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FOR REPORTING FINANCIAL EXPLOITATION AND SECURING VICTIM ASSISTANCE IN YOUR LOCAL AREA. THAT WOULD BE ON THE DOJ WEBSITE.>>OKAY. AND IF A PERSON REPORTS FRAUD, WHAT WILL OIG DO WITH THE REPORT? WILL IT BE CONFIDENTIAL AND DOES THE PERSON REMAIN ANONYMOUS?>>YES, SO WE CAREFULLY REVIEW EACH AND EVERY ALLEGATION WE RECEIVE. ONCE WE REVIEW THE ALLEGATION, WE DETERMINE WHAT ACTION SHOULD BE TAKEN. THAT COULD INCLUDE OPENING AN INVESTIGATION, REFERRING THE INFORMATION TO ANOTHER LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY, OR REFERRING IT TO SSA FOR ADMINISTRATIVE DEVELOPMENT. HOWEVER, PRIVACY LAWS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT CONCERNS PROHIBIT US FROM DISCLOSING WHAT WE DO WITH AN ALLEGATION, EVEN TO THE PERSON WHO REPORTS IT. BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, WE DO GIVE PEOPLE THE OPTION TO REMAIN ANONYMOUS WHEN THEY SUBMIT AN ALLEGATION OF FRAUD, AND WE TAKE THAT RESPONSIBILITY VERY SERIOUSLY.>>OKAY, THANK YOU. SO I THINK WE HAVE A LIVE QUESTION. OKAY. SO IF YOU WANT TO REPORT FRAUD, WHAT INFORMATION MUST I PROVIDE?>>SO OUR INVESTIGATIONS ARE MOST SUCCESSFUL WHEN WE GET AS MUCH INFORMATION AS THE PERSON REPORTING THE FRAUD HAS — THE WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, HOW. THE MORE SPECIFIC INFORMATION WE CAN GET, THE BETTER WE’RE ABLE TO DEVELOP THAT ALLEGATION AND INVESTIGATE IT.>>OKAY, THANK YOU. AND I THINK I HAVE ANOTHER ONE. WHAT TYPE OF IMPACT DOES THE OIG’S INVESTIGATIVE WORK HAVE ON SSA?>>SO LAST YEAR, LIKE I SAID EARLIER, WE RECEIVED ABOUT 150,000 ALLEGATIONS, WHICH WE REVIEW EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM. LAST YEAR OUR INVESTIGATIONS LED TO ABOUT 900 CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS. ABOUT $138 MILLION IN MONEY RETURNED TO SSA AND ABOUT $228 MILLION IN PROJECTED SAVINGS TO SSA.>>OH, WOW. AND FOR ANYONE WHO MIGHT NOT KNOW, HOW AND WHEN WAS THE OIG ESTABLISHED?>>SO THAT WAS VERY INTERESTING. THE OIG’S WERE ESTABLISHED IN THE 1970’S IN THE WAKE OF THE WATERGATE SCANDAL, BELIEVE IT OR NOT. IN 1978, THE INSPECTOR GENERAL ACT WAS ENACTED TO ENSURE THE INTEGRITY OF EXECUTIVE BRANCH EMPLOYEES. CURRENTLY, THERE ARE ABOUT 73 INSPECTORS GENERAL. ALMOST EVERY GOVERNMENT AGENCY HAS AN INSPECTOR GENERAL.>>OH, VERY INTERESTING. AND I THINK MY NEIGHBOR IS COMMITTING SOCIAL SECURITY FRAUD. WHAT SHOULD I DO?>>SO I WOULD SAY THE FIRST THING TO DO IS TO CONTACT OUR FRAUD HOTLINE. AGAIN, LIKE I SAID, GIVE US AS MUCH INFORMATION AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN ABOUT THE NEIGHBOR, THE PARTICULARS, WHERE THEY LIVE, WHAT’S THEIR NAME, WHAT YOU THINK THEIR DISABILITY IS. THE MORE INFORMATION WE HAVE, THE BETTER ABLE WE ARE TO ASSESS THAT ALLEGATION AND INVESTIGATE IT, IF PROBABLE. NOW, I WILL SAY THAT THERE ARE TIMES WHEN PEOPLE ARE RECEIVING BENEFITS, DISABILITY BENEFITS, AND THEY ARE STILL ABLE TO DO SOME ACTIVITIES LIKE CUTTING THEIR GRASS.>>OKAY, INTERESTING. I HAVE A COUPLE MORE. HOW DO YOU RECEIVE THESE ALLEGATIONS?>>SO WE RECEIVE ALLEGATIONS IN VARIOUS WAYS. WE RECEIVE ALLEGATIONS FROM SSA AND DDS EMPLOYEES, FROM PRIVATE CITIZENS, FROM CONGRESS. WE TAKE ALLEGATIONS IN SEVERAL WAYS TOO: THROUGH OUR ONLINE FORUM, BY PHONE, FAX, MAIL. AND ALL OF OUR CONTACT INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE AT OIG.SSA.GOV/REPORT.>>OKAY, THANK YOU. ANOTHER ONE. HOW MUCH SOCIAL SECURITY FRAUD IS OUT THERE?>>SO THAT IS A REALLY, REALLY GOOD QUESTION.>>IT IS A GOOD QUESTION.>>AND IT’S A DIFFICULT QUESTION, BECAUSE IT’S HARD TO PUT A NUMBER OR A STATISTIC ON A QUESTION LIKE THAT. WE ONLY KNOW WHAT COMES INTO US. WE ONLY KNOW THE FRAUD THAT IS REPORTED TO US. WE CLOSELY REVIEW EVERY ALLEGATION, AND WE INVESTIGATE EVERY ALLEGATION THAT WE HAVE THE RESOURCES TO INVESTIGATE.>>OKAY, THANK YOU. OKAY, SO I DON’T THINK WE HAVE ANY OTHER QUESTIONS. OKAY, SO IT LOOKS LIKE WE HAVE RUN OUT OF TIME. JENNIFER, WHERE CAN PEOPLE GO TO GET MORE INFORMATION?>>SO I WOULD SAY FOR ELDER ABUSE ALLEGATIONS, I WOULD POINT THEM TO THE DOJ WEBSITE. FOR ANY INFORMATION ON SSA OR SSA FRAUD, PLEASE GO TO OUR WEBSITE AT OIG.SSA.GOV.>>OKAY, THANK YOU. THIS HAS BEEN VERY VALUABLE INFORMATION. SO THANK YOU AGAIN, AND THANK YOU FOR SHARING THIS INFORMATION WITH EVERYONE. ELDER ABUSE IS A SERIOUS PROBLEM THAT CANNOT BE IGNORED. SOME PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO WHEN THEY SEE FRAUD AND ELDER ABUSE. NOW YOU’VE EQUIPPED US WITH THE TOOLS. WE NEED TO TAKE ACTION AND REPORT ABUSE WHEN WE SEE IT. SO THANK YOU.>>THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME TONIGHT, AND I WAS HAPPY TO SHARE INFORMATION TO PROTECT OUR SENIORS, WHICH CAN BE OUR MOST VULNERABLE CITIZENS.>>YES, OKAY. SO, THANK YOU SO MUCH AGAIN FOR JOINING US. PLEASE TUNE IN TOMORROW NIGHT AT 7:00 P.M. EASTERN TIME FOR OUR NEXT EPISODE OF SOCIAL SECURITY LIVE. CHIEF ACTUARY STEVE GOSS WILL BE JOINING US TO TALK ABOUT THE FUTURE OF SOCIAL SECURITY, SO YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS IT. CHECK US OUT ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND SIGN UP FOR OUR SOCIAL SECURITY MATTERS BLOG AT BLOG.SSA.GOV. THIS BROADCAST WILL ALSO BE CLOSED CAPTIONED AND MADE AVAILABLE ON OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL. WE’LL SEE YOU NEXT TIME.>>THE OIG SOCIAL SECURITY FRAUD HOTLINE RECEIVES THOUSANDS OF SOCIAL SECURITY FRAUD ALLEGATIONS EVERY YEAR. OUR TRAINED PROGRAM SPECIALISTS CAREFULLY REVIEW AND PROCESS THESE REFERRALS AND FORWARD THEM TO OUR INVESTIGATORS ACROSS THE COUNTRY.>>THE MOST COMMON CASES WE RECEIVE AT THE SSA FRAUD HOTLINE IS FALSIFYING INFORMATION THAT MIGHT AFFECT ONE’S ELIGIBILITY FOR SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS; CONCEALING THE DEATH OF A SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFICIARY; AND MISUSING SOMEONE ELSE’S SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER FOR ONE’S OWN PERSONAL GAIN.>>THE DEPTH AND DETAIL OF INFORMATION YOU PROVIDE IS CRITICAL TO DEVELOPING A SOLID ALLEGATION THAT WE CAN TURN OVER TO OUR FEDERAL INVESTIGATORS FOR REVIEW.>>THE MORE INFORMATION YOU PROVIDE WHEN CONTACTING THE FRAUD HOTLINE, THE GREATER THE PROBABILITY INVESTIGATORS WILL HAVE SUFFICIENT INFORMATION TO PURSUE THE ALLEGATION.>>YOU MAY REMAIN ANONYMOUS WHEN SUBMITTING AN ALLEGATION. HOWEVER, PLEASE NOTE THAT IF WE DON’T KNOW WHO YOU ARE OR HOW TO CONTACT YOU, WE MAY NOT BE ABLE TO COMPLETE AN INVESTIGATION. YOU CAN ALSO REQUEST CONFIDENTIALITY WHEN YOU SUBMIT AN ALLEGATION TO US IF YOU BELIEVE THAT THE DISCLOSURE OF YOUR IDENTITY WILL CAUSE PROBLEMS FOR YOU OR PLACE YOU IN DANGER. IF YOU REQUEST CONFIDENTIALITY, WE WILL PROTECT YOUR IDENTITY TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT ALLOWED BY LAW.

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