PHISHING SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS
Cybercriminals are hell-bent on Phishing for Social Security Numbers, (SSN) because it’s the fastest and most effective route to stealing your identity!
During the first half of year 2017, about 60 % of all data breaches involved the exposure of Social Security Numbers (SSN). When a company or organization gets hacked, nearly half (47.7%) of these attacks involve Phishing. The grand prize of these phishing expeditions is to reel in as many Social Security Numbers as possible.
Phishing – Favorite Tool in a Cybercriminal Arsenal!
Phishing is mostly done via texts or email. Cybercriminals attempt to lure or entice their victim into clicking on a link or open an attachment in a text or email. Once the victim complies, they are directed to provide personal information, including their SSN. Malware may also be downloaded giving them access to all your files.
Similarly, Spear-Phishing, is a more laser-focused Phishing attempt. For example: Cybercriminals target a company’s Human Resources Department, seeking payroll information in order to steal the Social Security numbers of its employees.
Armed with your SSN – a Criminal can do a lot of damage!
Once your Social Security Number is gleaned via Phishing or a data breach, they will easily make you a victim of identity theft. They can establish new lines of credit, open bank accounts, apply for personal loans, open utilities or phone service, file a fraudulent tax return and even get a job, using your SSN.
Additionally, the medical ID number of most Medicare recipients is their SSN. Identity thieves are well aware of this fact. So, by phishing for the Medicare information of a recipient, the thief is able to gain access to their SSN too.
- Never provide your SSN to anyone who requests it. Always ask if you are legally required to give it to them. Always offer some other form of ID, such as a Driver’s License or code number instead.
- Never click on links or open attachments in emails, unless you are 110% sure it is safe to do so. Always check with whomever sent it to you first.
- Never carry your Social Security card in your wallet, nor your Medicare card if it uses your SSN as your Medical ID number.