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 an attachment to an email that appeared to come from the Attorney General of Texas although the purported letter from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was on the letterhead and carried the logo of the Social Security Administration.
In somewhat stilted language the letter informed the recipient of the letter that his Social Security number would be suspended because his Social Security had been used for criminal purposes including money laundering. The letter provides a telephone number that it says is that of the Office of the Inspector General for the Social Security Administration to call to resolve the matter.
The notice is a phishing email designed to trick the targeted victim into calling the phony phone 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.
In addition, the telephone number to reach the Social Security Administration is not the number contained in the notice.
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. Further a legitimate letter from the Attorney General of Texas would not come on stationary of the Social Security Administration.
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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