The US Social Security Administration has issued a warning to the public about a new phishing scam email that attempts to trick recipients into providing personal information on a fraudulent website.
The scam email purports to be from the Social Security Administration itself. However, the message is not sent from the SSA. Instead, it is being distributed by scammers intent on stealing sensitive personal information.
The scam email has the subject line, “Cost-of-Living for 2007 update” and claims that the recipient is required to update personal information or risk having his or her account suspended. The recipient is urged to click a link in the email in order to supply this information.
However, clicking the link will open a fake website designed to resemble the genuine Social Security website. The site instructs the victim to register for a password and then provide information such as a Social Security Number, credit card details and bank account data, ostensibly for identification purposes. Information entered on the fake website can then be harvested by scammers and used for credit card and bank fraud and to commit identity theft.
The Social Security Administration or other government departments do not request personal information via unsolicited emails. In the past, a similar scam message, claiming to be from the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS), informed recipients that they were eligible for a tax refund and directed them to follow a link to fill out a refund form. However, the “refund form” was in fact a bogus website designed to steal identity and financial information.
Phishing fraud takes many forms and people all over the world continue to fall victim to such scams. If you receive any unsolicited email from a government department, bank or other institution that asks you to click a link and submit personal information, then you should view the message with the utmost suspicion.