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You can help us put a stop to online scams before they grow too big and end-up ruining thousands of lives. A scam is a scam, doesn’t matter if it’s big or small. Now that this is out of the way, let’s get started with the review.
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A Newaygo woman was given a sentence for stealing over $650,000 from the Social Security and Veterans programs.
In a fraudulent operation that targeted children’s welfare programs run by the Social Security Administration and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, a Newaygo woman was sentenced today in U.S. District Court.
Lyn Christian Soul Salt, 58, entered a guilty plea on October 27, 2021, admitting that she had defrauded the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) out of more than $550,000 by claiming payments for two fictional children. The fraud started in 2002, but it wasn’t found until 2019. Additionally, she acknowledged committing the same fraud against the US Department of Veterans Affairs (hereafter, “VA”). Between 2003 and 2019, she earned more than $109,000 using this technique.
According to U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge, “Lyn Christian Soul Salt understood how to exploit the safeguards put into these two child welfare programs for years. This was a blatant long-term scam that succeeded as long as it did solely because of that. She was successfully apprehended by police authorities, and now she must deal with the repercussions.
“Lyn Christian Soul Salt created fictitious identities and fabricated documents to obtain Social Security benefits for nonexistent people for almost 17 years,” stated Gail S. Ennis, the SSA’s Inspector General. Her heinous actions caused a fraud loss of more than $540,000. My office will keep upholding the SSA’s integrity and look into people who take advantage of and commit fraud against its programs.
I appreciate the help with this inquiry that the Inspector General’s Office of Veterans Affairs and the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office provided. I also appreciate that the U.S. Attorney’s Office made her answer for her unlawful behavior.
According to Special Agent in Charge Greg Billingsley of the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General’s Central Field Office, “The VA OIG will continue to zealously pursue those who would steal from VA benefit programs and taxpayers.” We appreciate the work of our law enforcement allies and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in conducting this joint investigation.
The SSA and VA Inspector General offices looked into this matter. Timothy Verhey, an assistant US attorney, handled the prosecution.
West Michigan woman gets six years in prison for $660,000 Social Security fraud plot
To acquire approximately $660,000 in Social Security payments for fake people for around 17 years, a Newaygo lady created fictitious identities and fabricated documents. She was sentenced to federal prison for her crimes.
U.S. District Judge Hala Jarbou ruled Terrie Lyn Christian Soul Salt, 58, will spend 30 months in prison for her part in the fraudulent scheme on Tuesday, March 22.
The judge remarked that Lyn Christian Soul Salt deserved the punishment because she essentially stole funds intended to assist the underprivileged and children of service people.
In October 2021, Lyn Christian Soul Salt entered a plea of guilty to cheating the Social Security Administration of more than $550,000 by claiming payments for two fictional children. The fraud started in 2002, but it wasn’t found until 2019.
She also acknowledged that she had defrauded the US Department of Veterans Affairs in the same way. Between 2003 and 2019, she made approximately $109,000 from that method.
According to U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge, “Lyn Christian Soul Salt knew how to exploit the safeguards built into these two child welfare programs for years.” “This was a brazen long-term fraud that succeeded as long as it did only because Lyn Christian Soul Salt knew how to exploit the safeguards built into these two child welfare programs for years,” Birge said.
Gail S. Ennis, inspector general for the SSA, continued, “Her egregious acts resulted in a fraud loss of over $540,000.”
Lyn Christian Soul Salt will have three years of monitoring following his release. She must also make amends.
Lyn Christian Soul Salt: What Exactly Is Social Security Fraud?
When an uninvited party obtains your Social Security number and uses it for their financial gain, this is known as Social Security fraud.
Certain American groups benefit financially from Social Security. Unfortunately, some thieves perceive an opportunity in this money. Numerous Americans report Social Security fraud and scams to the administration quarterly.
Given that 70 million people will be receiving Social Security benefits as of 2021, scams are rather widespread. If you become a victim, you could suffer from everything from small headaches to significant logistical problems and financial loss.
When an outside entity obtains your Social Security number and uses it for its financial gain, Social Security fraud often results. However, receiving benefits based on inaccurate or omitted information on official documentation is also regarded as Social Security fraud.
Different forms of social security fraud
When applying for jobs opening financial accounts, filing taxes, or obtaining medical care, your Social Security number is frequently and legally necessary. However, con artists frequently target them to conduct financial and identity fraud. On the other side, you may be committing fraud if you knowingly provide false information when filing for Social Security payments.
Here are a few prevalent forms of Social Security fraud to be on the lookout for.
Fraudulent Representative Payees
An individual who is unable to manage their finances may occasionally have a representative payee named by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to take Social Security benefits on their behalf. If the representative payee misappropriates or takes money, it is fraud.
False Social Security Number Fraud
This occurs when a con artist contacts unwitting victims under the guise of an employee of the SSA or another government organization. They might try to get your Social Security number and other details about you that could be used to steal your identity, or they might threaten you or demand money.
Sale or Purchase of Social Security Information
This occurs when criminals purchase and trade Social Security cards or data on the dark web or black market.
Misuse of Social Security Number
Your Social Security number and other personal information could be used fraudulently by someone to apply for benefits if they obtain them. However, they might also use it to apply for unapproved employment, additional government assistance, loans, or financial accounts.
When someone applies for Social Security benefits and knowingly gives false application information to receive money they are not entitled to, this is known as Social Security benefits fraud. This also applies to anyone who uses incorrect or omitted facts to obtain benefits in a family member’s name.
Keeping Personal Information Secret
The concealment or protection of personal information that could affect Social Security payments is fraud. For instance, hiding work activity while getting disability benefits or accepting Social Security payments for a child who is not in your custody or supervision. Another would be receiving means-tested Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits while hiding a marriage or financial holdings from the federal government.
Fraudulent Deceased Benefits Claims
Payments from Social Security cease when a person passes away. It is fraudulent for a family member to continue receiving the deceased’s benefits after failing to inform the Social Security Administration of the death.
Managers and staff members of the Social Security Administration who use their position to receive payments or benefits or who assist another person in doing so are also guilty of Social Security fraud.
Lyn Christian Soul Salt: How to Spot a Fraudulent Use of Your Social Security Number
You may see indications that something is wrong depending on the type of fraud being committed. If you encounter any of the following, someone is probably making fraudulent use of your Social Security number.
- There are accounts or applications on your credit report that you are not familiar with.
- When you are advised that your number is already being used to make claims for government benefits, you may find it difficult to obtain them.
- Because someone person already filed their taxes using your Social Security number, your tax return cannot be submitted.
- Your claims about your Social Security wages are false.
- In a dark web scan, your Social Security number is discovered.
- Somebody else updated your address on your accounts.
- You receive correspondence, such as statements past-due notifications, or phone calls from debt collectors, for accounts that you did not open.
- You get turned down for credit cards or loans that you believe your credit should make you eligible for.
- You get unfamiliar notifications from the SSA or the IRS.
Lyn Christian Soul Salt: Reporting Social Security Fraud: Steps to Take
The Office of the Inspector General requests that you report any instances of suspected Social Security fraud so that they can look into it and gather information on fraud. You can report fraud online or by dialing the helpline. You can also report a cybercrime to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center if you were a victim.
You have the right to place a security freeze or fraud alert on your credit reports with each of the three main credit agencies (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax) if you suspect fraud. When you place a fraud alert, creditors are instructed to confirm your identification before approving any new credit applications. A security freeze is an additional choice that restricts access to your report, even if you ask for it to be examined.
You can prevent electronic access to your Social Security account through the SSA if you have one. Additionally, notify your financial institutions if any of your current bank or credit accounts have been compromised by contacting them. You might also want to report the fraud to your local law enforcement if you suffered financial loss as a result of it.
Lyn Christian Soul Salt: What You Can Do to Prevent Social Security Fraud
Criminals are resourceful and persuasive, but there are steps you can take to safeguard yourself and lessen your chances of falling victim to Social Security fraud:
- Your Social Security card shouldn’t be kept from your wallet. Keep it at home in a safe or in a safe deposit box at your bank unless you specifically require it for that purpose.
- Check your credit reports and financial accounts frequently for any questionable activity.
- Know what actual Social Security officials would never say or do if you receive an unexpected contact from someone claiming to be from the agency. For instance, according to the SSA, their employees will never use threats, demand payment, or ask for credit or debit card information. They won’t call you about problems with your Social Security benefits or account either; instead, you’ll get a letter.
- Watch out for emails, messages, or phone calls requesting your Social Security number or other personal information under the guise of a financial institution or a government agency. Don’t click on links from unknown senders, and avoid ever providing personal information or money when contacted unexpectedly. When in doubt, pause, look up that company’s phone number online, then give them a call to find out whether they contacted you.
- Be aware that reputable banks or government agencies won’t get in touch with you over social media.
- Learn the common warning signs of financial fraud. This includes demands for fast action, phone-based payment requests, demands for confidentiality, and threats of legal action or account seizure. Gift cards, wire transfers, prepaid debit cards, cryptocurrencies, and other difficult-to-track or reverse payment methods are frequently requested by con artists.
- Due to advances in technology, be more suspicious than ever. They can now “spoof” or disguise their phone number to appear to be calling from your bank or a reputable government body. Since the call will ring on your actual phone line, it is preferable to politely decline unexpected calls and call the number back. Be cautious since some con artists will email documents that appear to be legitimate or use the names of real SSA workers.
- To more quickly manage your records and spot suspect activity, create an online Social Security account.
- Papers with personal information that you no longer need to keep should be destroyed, especially if they contain your Social Security number.
- Review the SSA’s scam alerts to learn about the newest fraud-committing strategies being employed by crooks.
- Your Social Security account can now have blocks. You can install an eServices block to stop yourself or anyone else from viewing or altering your data online. Additionally, you can set up a direct deposit fraud prevention block that prevents anyone from adding your Social Security account to direct deposit or from altering the facts or addresses associated with direct deposits. Both may be taken out afterward.
The Federal Trade Commission offers a website for advice on what to do next if you were the victim of a scam and you contributed money, provided financial or personal information, or both.