Scam Alert -- Don't Fall for this ID Theft Trick

Watch out for scammers pretending to represent the Social Security Administration or Service Canada. Con artists are contacting citizens via email and requesting personal information, which they use to commit identity theft. 
September 15, 2014

How the Scam Works:   

You get an email that appears to be from the Social Security Administration, Service Canada or organization acting on behalf of the official government agency. The email claims that you are eligible for a new benefit and need to complete an online form to apply.  

You click the link, and the form asks for basic information such as name, address and telephone number. It also requests information about your job, health and government ID numbers (such as driver's license or Social Security number).

When you complete the form, a confirmation page promises that your case will be reviewed and a government agent will contact you. Not likely! Scammers use the info you give them to commit ID theft, possibly redirecting your benefits to an account controlled by the thief.

As always, watch out for other variations of this scam. Scammers also call residents and ask for personal information over the phone. And other email versions use a slightly different scenario, such as asking you to update or verify account information.  

How to Spot this Scam:

  • Be skeptical of email. The government typically doesn't call, text or email. Government agencies normally communicate through the mail, so be very cautious of any unsolicited calls, text messages or emails you receive.
  • The government should already know your basic information. If a government agency is contacting you about your benefits, they should already know your basic information, such as name, address and government ID number.
  • Pick up the phone. If you receive a suspicious call or email, call the local government agency to check its legitimacy. Look for the phone number on previous correspondence or the official website. Don't call a number in the email.
  • As always, don't click on links and download attachments in suspicious emails. When in doubt, call to confirm the email first.

For More Information

For more information check out these alerts from the Social Security Administration and Service Canada.    

To find out more about scams or report one, check out BBB Scam Stopper.