Social Security Administration scam alert, am I really getting more spam, and am I being too paranoid?

Is the email I just received from the Social Security Administration a scam – and other subscriber questions: Internet ScamBusters #208

Internet ScamBusters™
The #1 Publication on Internet Fraud

By Audri and Jim Lanford
Copyright © Audri and Jim Lanford
All rights reserved.
Issue #209


Today we’ve got another subscriber Q&A issue for you. We’ll
answer these questions:

  • Is the email I just received from the Social Security Administration a scam?
  • Is it my imagination or am I really getting a lot more
    spam recently?

  • Am I being too paranoid?

We especially recommend you check out the first question — it
includes info about a new Social Security Administration scam

In addition, we thought you might enjoy a news article from
last week that quotes Audri, called
“Victims Still Falling Prey to Nigerian E-Mail Scam.”

However, before we begin today’s Q&A, we first encourage you
to take a look at this week’s most popular articles from our
other sites:

Easy Christmas Decorating Ideas: If you’re looking for some easy Christmas decorating ideas, then check out this article

Cash Back Credit Cards Great Choice for Consumers: Find out if cash back credit cards are right for you

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Report Identifies Safest Cars:
Learn more about the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s most recent report on the
safest cars here

Creative Ideas for Presenting Christmas Gifts: How you decorate and wrap
your Christmas gifts can make a major difference. Here are some easy suggestions.

Popular Christmas Gifts This Holiday Season: Check out this aticle on
popular Christmas gifts — you’ll be glad you did.

Making Sure Your Child Doesn’t Become a Victim of Identity
Theft: How to help insure that your child does not become a victim of
identity theft

Let’s get started…

Internet ScamBusters Q&A

Question: I’m a senior and got an email yesterday from the
Social Security Administration that says if I don’t respond by
tomorrow, I’ll stop receiving Social Security! Is this a scam??

Answer: Yes, it’s a scam. In November, the Social Security
Administration issued a security alert about a new phishing
scam aimed at seniors.

The subject line of this supposed Social Security
Administration email is: Cost-of-Living for 2007 update.

The email claims its purpose is to inform Social Security
recipients about the 3.3% Social Security benefit increase for
2007. It also contains the following statement:

“NOTE: We now need you to update your personal information. If
this is not completed by [a date close to today’s date], we
will be forced to suspend your account indefinitely.”

The recipient is then directed to a bogus phishing website
that is designed to look like the Social Security
Administration’s website.

At the phishing website, victims are asked to create a
password and to confirm their identity by providing their
Social Security number, credit card information and bank
account information.

Action: Delete the email. Do NOT visit the website.
Recognize that the Social Security Administration does not
send out emails that require you to give out your personal
information, nor do they use scare tactics and short deadlines
via email to pressure you to update your account.

For more information, you can see the Social Security Administration News Release about this scam alert.

To learn more about phishing scams, click here.

Question: It seems as if I’m getting a whole lot more spam
in the past month or so. Is this my imagination, or is the
spam problem getting worse?

Answer: Unfortunately, it’s not your imagination. In
November, there was a dramatic increase in the amount of
spam coming out of Russia.

In fact, Russian spammers are now using 70,000 infected
machines capable of pumping out a billion messages a day!
Many of these emails are “pump and dump” scams hawking penny

We’ve personally seen an enormous amount of additional spam
in the past month — and our spam filters are working double
duty just to keep up. It’s VERY frustrating. For more info,
visit this eWeek article.

Question: I sell handcrafted merchandise online. i recently
received an order for $1800 worth of drums. The customer said
he had a customer who owed him $5000. A $5000 check was going
to be sent to me so I could take out the $1800 for the drums
and I was to send the remaining $3200 on to a shipper who
would pick up the drums when I was finished making them. I
refused, he tried to convince me, I ended up declining the
order. Am I being too paranoid?

Answer: You are NOT being too paranoid at all. This is a
classic scam called the “overpayment” scam. You can read more about
the overpayment scam here.

Time to wrap up for today — have a great week!