Social Security officials warn recipients of e-mail scam

From Newsday

The government says that the 49 million people receiving Social Security will get a 3.3% cost-of-living increase next year. It didn't take long for crooks to try to get their cut.

The Social Security Administration has issued a warning: Beware of e-mails that look as if they come from the agency and have the subject line "Cost-of-Living for 2007 update." The body of the e-mail says, "NOTE: We now need you to update your personal information." It goes on to say that Social Security "will be forced to suspend your account indefinitely" if you don't comply.

A recipient who clicks on the link in the e-mail will be taken to a website designed to look like the SSA's home page.

The user will be asked to provide his Social Security number as well as bank account and credit card information.

This is an example of "phishing," an Internet scam in which con artists masquerade as a trusted agency or business in order to steal sensitive information, then your money. Anyone who receives this e-mail is asked to report it to Social Security's inspector general at (800) 269-0271. Recipients are urged not to open the e-mail, or any other purporting to be from Social Security.

SSA corresponds with recipients only by regular mail and never sends unsolicited e-mails.

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