Social Security Reminder
Did you get one of these emails recently?
This one came to me February 7th. I assume by default that any email with a link in it is an attempt to deliver a virus, steal my identity, or otherwise advance a criminal’s well being (and so should you). So I didn’t click on the link, and instead did some searching on Social Security statement reminder email scams. While I did get a few hits, none looked exactly like this email.
Is this Email Really From the Social Security Administration?
My conclusion: this email is probably legitimate, but I’m not 100% sure, and so I’m not clicking on the link. Instead I’ll go directly to the Social Security Administration’s website, click on Sign In, and check my statement that way.
Checking your Social Security statement annually is a good idea—do it if you can manage the site’s registration process.
What’s Behind the Emailed Social Security Statement Reminder
Some time ago the SSA quit postal mailing statements to its customers (that’s us). Now if you want to see your statement, you must register through the SSA’s website and look at your statement online.
The SSA took lot of heat for this change since not everyone has a computer, Internet access, or is sufficiently technologically savvy to register. I think the email reminder is a feeble attempt to respond to the criticism.
But here are the problems:
- I’m not clicking on the link because I’ve been trained not to click on links in unsolicited emails and I’m not smart enough to be 100% sure the email is legitimate. That said, the note did remind me to check my statement, which I will do by going directly to SSA’s website. If the email’s a fraud, in that sense the crook did me a favor.
- Let’s say the email is legitimate, which I verify by clicking on the link and nothing bad happens to me. I’ve just un-done a bit of the very valuable learning I’ve absorbed to NEVER CLICK ON LINKS IN UNSOLICITED EMAILS. The SSA is telling me that in some cases it IS okay to click on links. Now I get the message that I should judge when it’s okay and when it’s not to click on a link in an email. Am I qualified to do that, perfectly? No! Is anybody? No! I think SSA should not be in the business of lowering Americans’ defenses to email scams, which this email does, if it’s legit. In part for this reason, I think most government agencies, as a matter of policy, do not send emails to citizens with links or that can rightly raise suspicions.
Did you get one of these emails, allegedly from the SSA? How did you react?