Avoid hoaxes, fraud in providing sensitive
Senior citizens should exercise great
caution when responding to solicitations
promising additional Social Security benefit
payments, according to Social Security's
The Office of the Inspector General has
issued an alert entitled "Misleading
Solicitations Target Senior Citizens." OIG's
just-completed investigation revealed that
over 29,000 individuals were duped by flyers
promising extra Social Security benefits or
Many sent sensitive personal
information--Social Security cards, drivers
licenses, birth certificates, military
papers--to an address listed on the flyers.
One flyer promised elderly African-Americans
$5,000 pursuant to a "Slave Reparations Act"
that has not been passed by Congress.
The flyer falsely informs recipients that
the government is "refunding monies to
anyone alive that was born up until the year
of 1927 due to the Slave Reparation Act."
This flyer promises elderly recipients
$5,000 if they supply their name, address,
phone number, date of birth, and Social
Security number to a "National Victim's
The flyer states that the $5,000 may be
attached to the person's Social Security
benefit check or issued in one lump sum. The
flyer is a hoax.
The second flyer targets "notch babies" born
between 1917 and 1926, although some
versions of the flyer have extended that
time frame significantly. This flyer
promises recipients higher Social Security
benefits or a $5,000 lump sum settlement
under a bill proposed in the Senate.
The flyer warns recipients that "Social
Security will not contact notch babies", so
they should write to be placed on a
register." The flyer asks for identifying
information, including Social Security
number. This flyer is also a hoax.
In the unlikely event that Congress passes
some kind of notch legislation, a national
registry of notch victims would be
unnecessary: the Social Security
Administration already maintains a list of
everyone drawing Social Security benefits
including addresses and dates of birth.
Inspector General James G. Huse, Jr. said,
"By falsely promising additional Social
Security payments, the anonymous mailings
tricked people into parting with coveted
personal information. Think twice before
responding to any solicitations promising
additional Social Security payments.
Anyone with questions about Social Security
should contact the Social Security
Administration or their Congressional
The return address on both flyers directed
responses to a post office box registered to
TREA Senior Citizens League, an independent
affiliate of The Retired Enlisted
Association. TSCL has denied any involvement
with the flyers, but they are keeping the
personal data that was submitted. And they
are using that data for fund raising