Phishing is a scam involving e-mails sent with the intent to trick people into giving up personal information after clicking on a “link” to a bogus website designed to appear “legitimate.” The information is then used to commit identity theft and a host of financial crimes. The latest “lure” being used is a Social Security cost of living increase.

The Social Security Administration announced today:

The Agency has received several reports of an email message being circulated with the subject “Cost-of-Living for 2007 update” and purporting to be from the Social Security Administration. The message provides information about the 3.3 percent benefit increase for 2007 and contains the following “NOTE: We now need you to update your personal information. If this is not completed by November 11, 2006, we will be forced to suspend your account indefinitely.” The reader is then directed to a website designed to look like Social Security’s Internet website.

Full SSA alert and information on where to report attempts, here.

In most phishing attempts financial institutions are impersonated, but in the past the phishermen have impersonated the IRS, FBI and even Interpol.

Phishing is an ever growing problem and a good place to learn more about it is the Anti-Phishing Working Group. There is excellent information on this site on how to avoid being a victim of this scam!

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