The Social Security Administration has issued an important fraud alert involving a bogus e-mail message that is apparently circulating widely. The SSA's press release is reproduced below.
PUBLIC WARNED ABOUT E-MAIL SCAM
Tuesday, November 7, 2006
SOCIAL SECURITY News Release
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.
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 3.3 percent benefit increase for 2007 and contains the following “NOTE: We now need you to update your personal information. If this is not completed by November 11, 2006, we will be forced to suspend your account indefinitely.” The reader is then directed to a website designed to look like Social Security’s Internet website.
“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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Note: Copies of most SSA press releases, as well as other Social Security information and statistics, are available at SSA's Internet site, Social Security Online,
SSA Press Office 440 Altmeyer Bldg. 6401 Security Blvd. Baltimore, MD 21235
410-965-8904 FAX 410-966-9973