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 Post subject: Beware Social Security Fraud
PostPosted: Feb Sat 03, 2018 7:04 pm 
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The recent Experian debacle led me to do the prudent thing and create an online Social Security account before some bad actor did it first. After weeks of feeling safer and smug, on Jan. 22, someone other than me used my SS# to file applications for retirement and disability.

On Jan. 23, my local SS office mailed me a letter advising me of this and saying if it wasn't me, to contact my local office before Feb. 2. I received the letter Jan 30 and didn't read it until Feb. 1. Immediately, I logged into my account. Sure enough, I could see the two applications 2/3 processed.

I called the local office and they said they couldn't work me in that day, so I went yesterday morning. I arrived 40 minutes before opening, the line was long, and a norther was blowing in. They set me up with a specialist, who said, "Oh yeah, I'm the one who send you that letter." I showed him that the number it said to call didn't work. He said, "Hmmm, that says 888 and it should be 866. I'll fix that."

The specialist set to work denying the applications. I asked him how someone could have filed in my name since I had set up a secure account. He said that my online account is used only for me to check status and that people must still go to the main SS site to initiate any actions.

He also said that the applications looked fraudulent to him in the first place, which is why he sent me the letter. The first hint was that they filed for both retirement and disability. Also the email address looked off. I asked him if it had gone through, how would the bad guys have gotten paid? He said the money would have gone nowhere, which doesn't make sense. I did see a sign in the building that was encouraging direct deposit, saying that 98% of SS recipients receive benefits by direct deposit. So I guess they could have just used an anonymous bank account.

TAKEWAY:

1. Read Social Security mail immediately

2. If you have an online SS account and set it up for email notifications, don't count on it. I received none. I had to log in to see activity.

3. Although it's not perfect, go ahead and set up an online SS account so no one does it before you.

4. Don't expect to resolve things by calling the main SS number (55 minute wait). In my case, the specific local office was the only one who could handle the problem. I had called a less busy office nearby with shorter waiting times, and they told me they couldn't help.

5. Call the local office before the day you show up to get an idea of waiting times. They told me to come before they open or to expect to sit there 2 hours. I arrived 40 minutes early and was able to get the first appointment.


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 Post subject: Re: Beware Social Security Fraud
PostPosted: Feb Sat 03, 2018 8:40 pm 
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Macrohenry wrote:

5. Call the local office before the day you show up to get an idea of waiting times. They told me to come before they open or to expect to sit there 2 hours. I arrived 40 minutes early and was able to get the first appointment.


Like the DMV, our local offices offer online appointments.


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 Post subject: Re: Beware Social Security Fraud
PostPosted: Feb Sat 03, 2018 8:48 pm 
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Macrohenry, what was your reason for setting up an on-line account in the first place? Are you already on SS, or not yet (and that's why you did it).
I've been on it since 2005, late wife a few years later, and they've always simply direct-deposited to our checking account. I don't see how anyone could hack that, but of course the ingenuity of thieves is never ending.

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 Post subject: Re: Beware Social Security Fraud
PostPosted: Feb Sat 03, 2018 11:00 pm 
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fifties wrote:
Macrohenry, what was your reason for setting up an on-line account in the first place?

I set up the online account only to prevent a bad actor from setting one up in my name before I could.


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 Post subject: Re: Beware Social Security Fraud
PostPosted: Feb Sat 03, 2018 11:21 pm 
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Location: Albuquerque, NM 87123
I recently started getting SS, and it was impossible for me to do anything on-line; I kept getting a message to try again later. I had to call for an appointment, which was set up for the following month, and it sounded like I had to come in person to the local office--not so. After another call they said it was a phone interview, which took less than 15 minutes. Really, this could have been done with the first phone call--very simple questions. I could have saved a lot of time by not looking for every document I thought I might need.

The funds are direct-deposited and you should get them the same time of the month.

BTW, when you call the main office in Baltimore, be prepared to get some nasty rude people; some are nice and do their job, but I had to write a complaint letter about one of them.


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 Post subject: Re: Beware Social Security Fraud
PostPosted: Feb Mon 05, 2018 4:47 pm 
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Location: Lehigh Valley, Pa
Social Security is one of those places that tends to be a crap shoot performance wise... My Father recently passed in November but his payments continued!!! I was "on hold" for an hour and the woman that took my call told me he was indeed reported as DEAD.... and she NEVER saw this happen before.... HAAAA... my neighbor went through the same baloney with his Grandmother 12 years ago and it took a few weeks to unravel.... I hope they just remove the money from his account, but I'm not holding my breath...
Fraud is a whole other can of worms.... GOOD LUCK with that!!!

Jim

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 Post subject: Re: Beware Social Security Fraud
PostPosted: Feb Mon 05, 2018 6:30 pm 
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Location: ZIP 23831 South of Richmond, VA 25 miles down the pike.
My wife elected to receive her small Social Security Check back in 2001 via Direct Deposit. Sometime later, don't recall first time, she got a FYI letter saying she could register online for security reasons. She tried and no go as input did not match online records. You get three shots at it and then instructions to call them. Well then they say get your records and go to local SS office. Now that's a real bummer, you get so tired waiting you have to go back home to rest.

She has tried over and over in the years (she tried this past week just checking) but same old story and never entertained the thought to go to local office. There should be no reason to do that. She has been receiving her check since 2001 and the notices of new benefit amount increases, 2% this year and you couldn't buy a Little Ceasar $6 most cheese pizza with that. So as long as her check comes in it's ok. I don't see how they could maintain the same social security number more than once especially in the payout area without detecting a match. I believe their system is not fully an intergrated one. Surely they should be able to check for dupes.

Bill J.


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 Post subject: Re: Beware Social Security Fraud
PostPosted: Feb Mon 05, 2018 6:32 pm 
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All of the welfare programs are rife with fraud and mixed-up bureaucracy, and the mess with this particular program will only worsen as the Baby Boom generation ages. The SS number has become a de-facto national ID number, but one which is VERY insecure. Switching to passports, a secure national ID, would help prevent fraud and other criminality.

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 Post subject: Re: Beware Social Security Fraud
PostPosted: Feb Mon 05, 2018 9:06 pm 
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Location: Florida
I signed up for SS at the local office. Even without an appointment it only took about 30 min. total. The most striking thing about my visit was that the great majority of the people in the waiting room were nowhere near social security age.

RRM


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 Post subject: Re: Beware Social Security Fraud
PostPosted: Feb Mon 05, 2018 9:11 pm 
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FStephenMasek wrote:
All of the welfare programs are rife with fraud and mixed-up bureaucracy, and the mess with this particular program

Ahh Stephen ol boy, here we go again. SS is NOT a welfare program. WE paid into it, so it's OUR, repeat, OUR money coming back to us, at the government inflated rate.

They simply mandated a retirement savings account -with no interest- on us <look at it that way. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Beware Social Security Fraud
PostPosted: Feb Mon 05, 2018 10:39 pm 
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FStephenMasek wrote:
All of the welfare programs are rife with fraud and mixed-up bureaucracy, and the mess with this particular program will only worsen as the Baby Boom generation ages. The SS number has become a de-facto national ID number, but one which is VERY insecure. Switching to passports, a secure national ID, would help prevent fraud and other criminality.


No Offence but Prevent Fraud? Oh! Grasshopper. :mrgreen:
Look at all the regulations and Laws and yet are Prisons are full. Traffic Laws and More Car accidents. It breaks down to No Moral$ and its getting worse.

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 Post subject: Re: Beware Social Security Fraud
PostPosted: Feb Tue 06, 2018 2:21 am 
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Radiosmoker wrote:
It breaks down to No Moral$ and its getting worse.
That is surely a factor. There have always been criminals, but is that really a happy life? Probably not. Unemployment hitting historic lows, and pay increases will surely help. On Sunday, the priest informed us that membership in the Roman Catholic Church is declining by 2,000 people per day. Sooner or later, it seems likely the people shunning churches will realize that their TVs and cell phones are poor substitutes....

I don't want to get this thread locked, but the old argument that SS is "my money" just does not hold water, since the trust fund only contains IOUs. I think the original trust fund lasted something like three years before they started spending it as it came in. Like it or not, is a fact. Back to morals, besides being the right thing to do, it feels is so much better to earn and save for yourself, than want money from strangers. Just like the drug users think the junk makes them feel good, when being drug-free and really enjoying live is far, far better. The same with debt, another drug. Some think having all kinds of stuff around them which really belongs to a lender or landlord is a good life are missing out on the far better feeling of being debt-dree. Note that income level is not the issue. There are people at all income levels who spend like crazy and fail to save, and others who save and invest (e.g. the story of the two doctors making $750,000 per year in The Millionaire Next Door, but one has a very small net worth and thinks he does good by shopping like crazy for his new Porsche).

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 Post subject: Re: Beware Social Security Fraud
PostPosted: Feb Tue 06, 2018 3:09 am 
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FStephenMasek wrote:
it feels is so much better to earn and save for yourself, than want money from strangers. Just like the drug users think the junk makes them feel good, when being drug-free and really enjoying live is far, far better. The same with debt, another drug. Some think having all kinds of stuff around them which really belongs to a lender or landlord is a good life are missing out on the far better feeling of being debt-dree.


This sounds wonderful. Your description makes living debt-free sound like such a natural choice. But have you ever wondered why this doesn't work for most folks? Have you ever wondered why touting this way of life yields so little results in changing others' behaviors? (Am I correct in assuming that changing others' lives is why you would want to espouse such virtues?)

This may not be fact, but here's what I believe: I believe this way of life works for you because it IS natural...for you. Some folks are predisposed to abide in the upper 1%. If you are one of those, you are fortunate. You are fortunate not because of the hard work you did to get there. Lots of poor folks do hard work. You are fortunate because of the gifts you were given that eventually directed your hard work to fruitful opportunities. You are fortunate to have gifts that gave you discretion about what to avoid. Not everyone has those particular gifts.


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 Post subject: Re: Beware Social Security Fraud
PostPosted: Feb Tue 06, 2018 4:38 am 
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FStephenMasek wrote:
On Sunday, the priest informed us that membership in the Roman Catholic Church is declining by 2,000 people per day.

Not to worry, Stephen; there are 3 Muslim converts for every Christian one. :wink:

And SS not being "my" money? OK then, how do you define what they took out of my paychecks for all those years as? And when we had a business, they made us pay 2X the wage earner rate for SS out of the late wife's earnings. Your definition of that confiscated money is ?

Now AFA debt; it's simply a financial tool. Most folks can't afford to purchase a house outright for cash, so they have to borrow what they can't come up with, typically 80-90%. Leveraging one's money on an appreciating asset is an excellent way to grow wealth, is it not?

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 Post subject: Re: Beware Social Security Fraud
PostPosted: Feb Tue 06, 2018 5:01 pm 
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Location: Butte, MT USA
I went on Social Security several years ago, did it all online and never visited a local office nor received any checks because I went with direct deposit.
It all went extremely smoothly. There was one phone call by Social Security to confirm everything, and I made a point of thanking the person who called for being so cordial, knowing that people who work for Social Security are likely the target of much abuse by the idiots among us who have been trained to hate their own government.


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 Post subject: Re: Beware Social Security Fraud
PostPosted: Feb Tue 06, 2018 5:35 pm 
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To make this more like a group conversation, I'll add another piece. Several years ago, Rima got pick-pocketed in downtown LA. Her green card was one of the things stolen. She had to go to the government office in Santa Ana and answer all kinds of questions she had already answered, and have new finger prints, even though they had her prints in their system. Then, they wanted to lecture her on why she should be careful not to lose the card! Bureaucracy always becomes a mess.

OK, Fifties, the answer is easy. Yes, we and our companies paid the SS tax, now 12.4%. However, the money did not go into the fund as anything more than an accounting entry. It was spent. It started-out as a zero-interest savings program, but that only lasted a few years until they spotted a growing pot of money to spend. Yep, we are "owed," but the only way they can pay us is to take from somebody else and give to us, since the fund is full of nothing but IOUs. No functional difference between it and any other welfare program, as money is taken from strangers to give to the recipients. I do not want any money taken from strangers, and would not want it even if I was broke. I realize that I may be forced to sign-up for it, as they have tied it to Medicare, and I may be forced to sign-up for that.

Wise use of debt is OK. However, for many people debt is nothing but a drug, enriching the pushers (sellers and lenders) while keeping the borrowers down and dependent. I once heard (on one of my AM radios) a caller to Dave Ramsey's show state that her father had told her that she would go thorough her entire life with car payments and so forth. How sad. Thankfully, she found a better way and became debt free, breaking the cycle in her family.

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 Post subject: Re: Beware Social Security Fraud
PostPosted: Feb Tue 06, 2018 7:22 pm 
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Location: Albuquerque, NM 87123
FStephenMasek, I have a question for you:

Let's say you were defrauded in some way; criminals emptied your bank accounts and the Feds refused to honor FDIC because they thought you were involved. Pension plan void because your previous employers were bozos or they took the money and now live in the South of France. You now have $14.87 in savings and your wife is hungry. All you have to fall back on is Social Security.

What you gonna do, BUSTER???

Well?? What's your answer?


Last edited by Johnnysan on Feb Tue 06, 2018 8:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Beware Social Security Fraud
PostPosted: Feb Tue 06, 2018 7:57 pm 
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FStephenMasek wrote:
Yep, we are "owed," but the only way they can pay us is to take from somebody else and give to us, since the fund is full of nothing but IOUs. No functional difference between it and any other welfare program, as money is taken from strangers to give to the recipients. I do not want any money taken from strangers, and would not want it even if I was broke.
As children, my brother's and my allowance was 25 cents a week. My mom made us each withhold a nickel that was deposited in our piggy banks. When the piggy banks got full, we got to break ours open and do with the savings what we wanted to.

The piggy banks were identical. Each had exactly the same amount of money and we broke them open at the same time. Would it have mattered if they were switched? Not to our simple minds.

If all else was the same except if I'd never met my brother, then if the piggy banks were switched, according to your logic I would be taking money from a stranger.


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 Post subject: Re: Beware Social Security Fraud
PostPosted: Feb Tue 06, 2018 9:40 pm 
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FStephenMasek wrote:
OK, Fifties, the answer is easy. Yes, we and our companies paid the SS tax, now 12.4%. However, the money did not go into the fund as anything more than an accounting entry. It was spent. It started-out as a zero-interest savings program, but that only lasted a few years until they spotted a growing pot of money to spend. Yep, we are "owed," but the only way they can pay us is to take from somebody else and give to us, since the fund is full of nothing but IOUs. No functional difference between it and any other welfare program, as money is taken from strangers to give to the recipients.

OK, this is where your argument dies, because there IS a "functional difference". Welfare programs provide for the unfortunate WHO HAVE NOT paid anything into the fund; it's a straight charity. SS is something that WE HAVE PAID INTO. It is not a charity by any stretch of the imagination.

FStephenMasek wrote:
Wise use of debt is OK. However, for many people debt is nothing but a drug, enriching the pushers (sellers and lenders) while keeping the borrowers down and dependent.

Yes, true, but this is an aspect of a free democratic society. Would you have those that run the government mandate and control the use of credit?

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 Post subject: Re: Beware Social Security Fraud
PostPosted: Feb Wed 07, 2018 1:42 am 
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You find a 100 dollar bill on the sidewalk. You can't spend it bacause it came from a stranger, and you can't give it to charity because you don't believe in it. Now what? :shock:


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