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Use trustworthy websites

The following item ran in “Kokua Line” on Oct. 5.

Question: Is there a fee for replacement Social Security cards?

Answer: No, the Social Security Administration does not charge for replacement cards, which raises an important point. Kokua Line has heard from readers who paid private vendors for government services they could have received for free — if only they had gone to the correct website. For Social Security, that’s

The internet is full of commercial websites (ending in .com) that charge for services available at no charge from the government.

So when seeking information online, be sure that you go to the government agency’s official website, which should have an address that ends in .gov (for government) or .mil (for military). Don’t rely on a search engine to take you to the best site. Look for https:// at the beginning, which signifies that the site is secure.

The website is a good place to start a search. Besides the A-to-Z index, there’s a search function that scans only official sites.

Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star- Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; or email

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