Protecting the privacy of your Social Security number is essential in order to protect yourself from identity theft. Identity thieves use a variety of pretenses to trick people into providing their Social Security numbers to scammers who can then use it as part of their efforts to steal your assets or get loans in your name that they don’t repay. Recently a savvy Scamicide reader received an official appearing notice through email that appeared to come from the Social Security Administration. The notice carried the logo for the Social Security Administration and read as follows:
“We have noticed some unusual activity on your account and as a security measure we are required to deactivate your SSN services. This is not a permanent cancellation; you will be able to reactivate your account at any time. We apologize for any convenience this may have caused you. If you need any help with reactivating your account, please contact our customer service at 1(888) 623-2544.”
The notice is a phishing email designed to trick the targeted victim into calling the phony customer service number whereupon they will be asked for their Social Security number thereby turning it over to an identity thief.
The first thing to look for any time you receive an email such as this is the email address of the sender. In this particular case the email of the sender had absolutely no relation to the Social Security Administration and, most likely, was that of someone whose email account had been hacked and made a part of a botnet to send out these phishing emails.
In addition, the telephone number to reach the Social Security Administration is not the number contained in the notice. The real number is 800-772-1213.
The fact that the email contained the Social Security Administration logo is not an indication that the communication is legitimate. Counterfeiting the logo is easy to do.
It is important to note that the Social Security Administration does not police the use of Social Security numbers and suspend them in cases of fraud.
Finally, it should be noted that the Social Security Administration does not initiate communications with people through email and wouldn’t even have your email in their records. However, if you have a My Social Security Account (which I urge you to get) you will receive an email once a year to remind you to review your Social Security Statement online. A My Social Security Account will enable you to get information from the Social Security Administration quickly and conveniently.https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/create.html
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