GREENSBORO, N.C. — What are the chances you would get an email telling you your Social Security number has been suspended and a letter in the mail telling you the same thing, on the same day?
It happened to one of your fellow WFMY News 2 viewers. Both the email and the letter talked about how her Social Security number would be suspended due to illegal activity in Texas.
THE FAKE SOCIAL SECURITY EMAIL
The email was sent on March 3, 2023. The initial “from address” is similar to Social Security so you might just glance over it and start reading, but don't. Stop. Really look at the address.
The Social Security Administration doesn't use Gmail. This is not an official address.
THE FAKE SOCIAL SECURITY LETTER
Now, let's look at the letter. It appears official with the logo at the top, a case number, and even a Social Security seal in the middle of the page. But again, stop and really look at it. Just like the email, there are giveaways.
This date is the same as the email, March 3, 2023, but the way it is written isn’t normal: March 03rd,2023. You would never type it that way, that's a scammer red flag.
Then later in the letter, it tells you to “plead yourself”. Again, small details the scammers are hoping you'll just overlook. Also, the number at the bottom of the letter isn’t associated with anything you know. I Googled it, and it is linked to a lot of random people and IP addresses.
The scammers want us to concentrate on the crazy stuff in the letter or email, not the small red flag giveaways. Their hope is, you'll be so upset, you won't think straight.
“We're all in a heightened emotional state. They know that. They take advantage of headlines, and they convince us that there's a problem and we have to solve it by paying,” said Kathlrrn Stokes from AARP.
Never call the number on the letter or click the link.
Instead, look up the number, the website, or your account yourself from your paperwork or your card.
Remember, payment by gift card or cryptocurrency is always a scam. Only use third-party cash apps like Venmo, CashApp, and Zelle with people you know personally.