Home ScamsScam Catalogue Social Security Administration Phishing Scam

Social Security Administration Phishing Scam

by Brett M. Christensen

November 2006

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.

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,