The subject line says “Get Protected,” and the email talks about new features from the Social Security Administration (SSA) that can help taxpayers monitor their credit reports, and know about unauthorized use of their Social Security number. It even cites the IRS and the official-sounding “S.A.F.E Act 2015.” It sounds real, but it’s all made-up.
It’s a phishing email to get you to click on a scammer’s link. If you do, a scammer can install malware — like viruses and spyware — on your computer. Or, the link might send you to a spoof site — a lookalike website set up by a scammer to trick you into entering your personal information.
Not sure if an email is really from the government? Here are a couple of clues from the Federal Trade Commission.
- Did the email end up in your junk folder? Email providers use filters to help catch phishing scams and spam from getting into your inbox.
- When you hover your cursor over the link, does it really go to a trusted website? In this fake SSA email, when you hover over the url you’re told to click on, you see the link goes to an unrelated “.com” — instead of the Social Security Administration’s ssa.gov or another “.gov” site.