Scammers Fake Social Security EmailReading Time: 2 Minutes
Last Updated: March 23, 2022
The subject line says “Get Protected,” and the email talks about new features from the Social Security Administration (SSA) that can help taxpayers monitor their credit reports, and know about unauthorized use of their Social Security number. It even cites the IRS and the official-sounding “S.A.F.E Act 2015.” It sounds real, but it’s all made up.
It’s a phishing email to get you to click on a scammer’s link. If you do, a scammer can install malware — like viruses and spyware — on your computer. Or, the link might send you to a spoof site — a lookalike website set up by a scammer to trick you into entering your personal information.
Not sure if an email is really from the government? Here are a couple of clues. Did the email end up in your junk folder? Email providers use filters to help catch phishing scams and prevent spam from getting into your inbox. And when you hover your cursor over the link, is the web address really a trusted website? In this fake SSA email, when you hover over the URL you’re invited to click on, you see the link goes to an unrelated “.com” — instead of the Social Security Administration’s ssa.gov or another “.gov” site.
If you get a questionable email, don’t click on any links, or open any attachments. Report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov — and to the real organization impersonated in the email. You also can report it to your email provider. Some email providers let you mark messages as phishing scams. Your report is most effective when you include the full email header, although most email programs hide this information. To find out the full header, type the name of your email service with “full email header” into your favorite search engine, and include this information in your report. When you’re done, delete the email.
If you’re unsure about an email that looks like it’s from the government, contact the agency directly. But find the contact info yourself.See Comments
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I keep getting phone calls from 5404102280 with an extra 1 at the end. Saying they are soc sec…. and that my number has been cancelled because of fraud…
I do nor answer .
Thanks for letting us know, Mary. Generally, we will only contact you if you have requested a call or have ongoing business with us. Recently, scams—misleading victims into making cash or gift card payments to avoid arrest for Social Security number problems—have skyrocketed. Our employees will never threaten you for information or promise a benefit in exchange for personal information or money.
If you receive a suspicious call like this: 1) Hang up. 2) Do not provide personal information, money, or retail gift cards. 3) Report suspicious calls here. For more information on how to protect yourself, check out our Frequently Asked Questions. We hope this helps.
This is not the the first time when we face these issues. We all get this type of emails daily. Be safe …
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Amy Herbert, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC