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Is the Social Security Agency Sending Me Emails?

Posted on February 17, 2016 at 9:50 AM

"Get Protected"

"S.A.F.E. Act 2015"

"...a new Security features that helps you as a tax payer..."

Besides the obvious bad grammer and misspellings, these types of emails should stand out to you that something is not quite right.  The email might have even made it to your Spam Folder, and not your Inbox; another sign that it might not be a legitimate email from the Social Security Administration.  These are usually phishing emails, designed to download malware onto your computer to take your personal information after they convince you to click on a link.  Or, they are designed to send you to a special website where they will convince you to enter your personal information to get credit monitoring or find out about unauthorized users of your Social Security information.  They are not from Social Security.  

You can do a quick test to see if the email is from a phishing site:  Hover your mouse over the link they want you to click on, but don't click on it.  A message box should show you the website's address where you would go, if you actually clicked on the link.  It usually will not say, "http://www.SSA.gov."  If you get one of these emails, use the forward button to send it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at "spam.uce.gov."  Or, you can mark it as "spam," if your email provider has a button to allow you to do so.  

The Social Security Administration has this to say about reporting spam emails to them:  "Your report is most effective when you include the full email header, although most email programs hide this information. To find out the full header, type the name of your email service with “full email header” into your favorite search engine, and include this information in your report. When you’re done, delete the email."

This is what a phishing email might look like:

http://blog.socialsecurity.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/screen2.jpg

If you ever need to know if a government agency sent you an email or not, contact them through your own means (look up the telephone number or email address; don't use links in the original email).  Even if you have to wait on hold, or get shuffled through several people to find your answer, the cost will be much less than losing your credit and identity.  Be safe.

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