Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Phish Bait: Social Security recipients.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, 2006]
Origins: In November 2006, recipients of Social Security benefits were
Those who took the bait by clicking the false link were transported to a site that looked like the real Social Security site. Once there, they were asked to register for passwords and confirm their identities by providing personal information such as their Social Security numbers, bank account and credit card information.
On 7 November 2006, the Social Security Administration issued a press release about the scam:
Jo Anne Barnhart, Commissioner of Social Security, and Patrick O’Carroll, Jr., Inspector General of Social Security, issued a warning today about a new email scam that has surfaced recently.Last updated: 28 November 2006
The Agency has received several reports of an email message being circulated with the subject "Cost-of-Living for 2007 update" and purporting to be from the Social Security Administration. The message provides information about the
"I am outraged that someone would target an unsuspecting public in this manner," said Commissioner Barnhart. "I have asked the Inspector General to use all the resources at his command to find and prosecute whoever is perpetrating this fraud."
Once directed to the phony website, the individual is asked to register for a password and to confirm their identity by providing personal information such as the individual’s Social Security number, bank account information and credit card information.
Inspector General O’Carroll recommends people always take precautions when giving out personal information. "You should never provide your Social Security number or other personal information over the Internet or by telephone unless you are extremely confident of the source to whom you are providing the information," O’Carroll said.
To report receipt of this email message or other suspicious activity to Social Security's Office of Inspector General, please call the OIG Hotline at 1-800-269-0271. (If you are deaf or hard of hearing, call the OIG TTY number at 1-866-501-2101). A Public Fraud Reporting form is also available online at OIG's website www.socialsecurity.gov/oig.
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