2015 Top 25
Social Security Administration
Innovations in American Government Awards

To combat Internet, e-mail, mobile app, Facebook, Twitter, and online advertising violations of Section 1140 of the Social Security Act, agency attorneys in 2011 launched an innovative outreach partnership with search engines, domain registrars, financial institutions, and social media to shut down fraud, phishing, identity theft, and misleading online advertising schemes. Through partnerships with hosting, networking, and commerce companies, the private partners began helping to identify perpetrators and shutting down or suspending violators (and cutting off their ability to process credit card payments) until they complied with Section 1140, often along with the levying of a civil monetary penalty. Cutting off the money proved highly effective in stopping scammers, even offshore websites, in their tracks; some shut down within hours of being unable to process payments.