The Checkout

Social Security Scam

You know the saying: There's a sucker born every minute. Well, there certainly seems to be an e-mail scam born every minute as well.

Here's the latest scam, disclosed by the Social Security Administration: E-mails that appear to come from the agency are sent to "Dear Social Security Number and Card Owner" with the message, "someone illegally is using your Social Security number and assuming your identity." Readers are directed to a Web site that looks like Social Security's. E-mail recipients are then asked to confirm their identities by entering their Social Security numbers and bank information. Credit card data, with expiration date and PIN number, are also requested.

Of course this is a scam. Social Security Commissioner Jo Anne Barnhart says the agency NEVER asks for credit card information or a PIN number. In a statement, Barnhart said she is "outraged that someone would target an unsuspecting public in this manner." But given the proliferation of these scams, she certainly shouldn't be surprised.

By  |  February 23, 2006; 7:00 AM ET Consumer Alerts
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I continue to find your column most helpfull and informative. Thanks.

Posted by: Bill Morgan | February 23, 2006 8:27 AM

It's called social engineering, and it will continue for as long as people trust strangers over e-mail. It's unfortunatley up to the mark to have a healthy dose of cynicism to avoid being caught in the first place.

Posted by: Adam in SC | February 23, 2006 10:04 AM

People must be really stupid to fall for something like this. Natural selection.

Posted by: Matt, Ashburn | February 23, 2006 12:45 PM

I happened to read the "CHECKOUT" for the first time...enjoyable!
Suggestion: Please make it possible for the
reader to: (a) e-mail the article to a friend/s AND (b) "save" via the reader's
e-mail for future use by the reader OR some other way: "bookmarking" OR save it as "favourite" content for future use.
Finally, it would also be helpful IF the article can be viewed in "PRINTABLE FORMAT"
which can read faster AND the reader can also get a "PRINTED/HARDCOPY".

Posted by: Charles Seshan | February 23, 2006 1:42 PM

Perhaps we should all fill in false information when we get these kinds of email. Make the thieves sift through millions of incorrect entries to find the few correct ones.

Posted by: postReader | February 23, 2006 10:38 PM

postReader has a VERY GOOD idea.Same with all those unbelievable loan $420,000 at 3.25% and $400 monthly payment. A 100 year +/- loan ?

Posted by: Richard | February 25, 2006 8:42 AM

A bigger SS scam is; parents claiming their grade school aged children are A.D.D and A.D.H.D., so they should get SS disability checks every month. Why? Because the children can't work?

As a 62 year old, disabled, single, woman, living way below the poverty level, I question the intelligence behind the SS rules.

Why does SS enable people with addictions to call themselves disabled and get a check each month to spend on booze and drugs?

It's disability bought and paid for by the government, while I barely survive on $600. a month and $50. of food stamps.

When I got hurt I lost mt home and everything of worth I had worked for for 30 years. I suffered a heart attack last year mostly from stress, and can't afford my pills now that the SS medical has changed.

My power is about to be shut off after living all winter just warm enough so the pipes didn't freeze. Much of that time in bed trying to stay warm.

When I go to the store I see people selling food they bought with food stamps, to pay for their addiction.

If someone really wanted to fix the system, parents of children, who are too young to work, and addicts wouldn't be able to scam the system.

Posted by: Gem Chapman | February 26, 2006 1:18 PM

Posted by: Sabrina | September 22, 2006 2:03 AM

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