Social Security Warns Senior Citizens to Be Sure
They Are on the Official Social Security Website
Countless consumers victimized each year by
misleading advertisers who use "Social Security" or "Medicare" to entice
the public to use their services
March 25, 2013 - Thinking you are doing business
with Social Security can be a costly mistake when you have been mislead
to a website posing as the official government site, says Oscar Garcia,
Public Affair Specialist with the Social Security Administration. He
also advises prompt notification of a beneficiaries death to another
question in this Social Security Q&A.
Does Social Security charge to change your name
on the Social Security card? I thought it was free, but the website I
was on wanted to charge me $50 to do this.
That service is absolutely free from Social
Security. Go back and check the website you visited. The most important
tip is to look for the .gov at the end of the web address. If it does
not have .gov, then it is not the real Social Security website
Countless consumers nationwide are victimized each
year by misleading advertisers who use "Social Security" or "Medicare"
to entice the public to use their services. In many cases, 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 updating a Social Security
card to show a bride's married name; replacing a Social Security card;
and getting a Social Security number for a child.
These for-profit businesses may cleverly design
their websites, so when people use Internet search engines, their
advertisement pops up. They may even make their advertisement look
similar to the real Social Security website.
Some of these sites, at first glance, appear to be
affiliated with Social Security. Upon closer examination, these are
for-profit companies charging individuals for a service that is provided
free by Social Security.
For instance, a quick Google search on replacing a
Social Security card brings up paid advertisements for websites that
charge a fee just to get an application for a new card. The law that
deals specifically with misleading Social Security and Medicare
advertising prohibits people or non-government organizations, like
for-profit businesses, from using words or emblems that mislead others.
Their advertising cannot lead people to believe that they represent or
are somehow affiliated with or endorsed or approved by Social Security
or the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (Medicare). That does
not stop advertisers from trying.
Do not be tricked into paying a fee for a service
that is free. Remember: if it does not show .gov, then it is not Social
My father receives Social Security retirement
benefits, and I will be in charge of his estate when he dies. Should
that occur, do I need to report his death to Social Security or will
benefits automatically stop?
In the event of his death, please notify Social
Security as soon as possible by calling us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY
1-800-325-0778). This will ensure that we update his record and stop his
benefits timely. We will also determine if another person, such as a
spouse, may be eligible for survivors benefits based on his record. We
suggest reading a copy of our online publication, How Social Security
Can Help You When A Family Member Dies, at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10008.html.
Oscar Garcia is a Public Affairs Specialist with
the Social Security Administration. You can direct your questions to him
at: SSA, 411 Richland Hills Drive, San Antonio, Texas, 78245. You can
also email him at Oscar.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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