Government imposters’ tricks revealed in full color

As part of our ongoing effort to raise awareness about scams targeting the Latino community, we’ve developed a new publication about government imposter scams. Impostores del Gobierno is our first Spanish-language “fotonovela” and we hope we can count on you to help us distribute it.     

Impostores del Gobierno tells the story of a young woman who responds to a call from a man who claims to be from the government -- and who convinces her to send him money. The plot is based on real complaints to the FTC from Spanish speakers throughout the nation, and offers practical tips on how to tell when a phone call, text or email is from a government imposter:

  • If you get a call from someone who says they work for the government and you won money in a “grant”, lottery or contest, it’s a scam. The government doesn’t call you on the phone or send you an email or text to give you money.  
  • If anyone tells you to wire money or use a pre-paid card to claim your “prize,” it’s a scam. If you have to pay, it’s not a prize – it’s a purchase.

The booklet is in full color and fits in a purse, backpack or messenger bag.  It is now available in print and online. Order as many copies as you can use — for free — at ftc.gov/fotonovela. If you’d like to distribute the booklet at your 2014 Hispanic Heritage Month events, please place your order before August 15.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

God Loves us all

I am interested in learning more about various scams to look out for. I am not sure why I am taken to the business section at Wells Fargo, my bank, when I go into the lobby. I do not even have a job, to my knowledge, much less a business. How can I find out if I do have a business, or if one has been opened in my name without my knowledge? I am at a loss as to where to turn from here for information. Any information would be appreciated.

If you want to stay informed about scams to watch out for, you can subscribe to receive the FTC’s Scam Alerts and other news at ftc.gov/stay-connected.  You can also check out our page on Scam Alerts.

Happened to me today 1 day after a IRS scam , the scammers love my phone numbers but this 1 slipped up. They said my credit was in good standings & I am not latye on my payments. Well we are not payin our cell phone at this time & I only got there cell phone call because we had WiFi in my house. They asked for $300 from a Walmart money gram & my ID scam!!!! Call them back cannot do not have a cell phone, if it is a true Grant its 100% free!!!!

About a year ago, I received a phone call telling me I won a lot of money. I had to go to a local chain store and purchase a specific debit or credit type card and had to pay a good amount for it. Then,I was to call them back and they would come to my house with the money.(prize). The man said he worked for, I think the FBI. When I hung up, he was under the expression, I went to buy the card. In stead, I called the FBI, the woman told me what I was dealing with. For days, this man continued to call me, asking why I had not followed his instructions. These were messages left on my phone, because I wanted no more to do with him, I would not answer the phone. Eventually, he gave up. Now, I do not trust anyone I do not know, that calls on the phone. Thank you.

I will gladly help distribute this information at my business location because I try my best in helping people about scams most are very easy to figure out there scams but the have gotten much smarter on this scams lately it's hard to tell anymore and even harder when they parent up with big cooporations or represent them in some way some how we have to be very carfull now a days is kind of scary working on my credit has being almost a full time job figuring out all this mess no easy way to fix it and try to pay and settle in some cases that makes it worst because then it's like you admitted it was you.

Thanks for helping us distribute this publication. You can order free copies at ftc.gov/fotonovela.

A month ago I received a phone call that I had one 3.5 million dollars and sports from Publisher Clearing House. I thought it was great since I have big medical debt. The man got mad and his accent changed when I refused to give him my credit cards even tho maxed out he said he would pay them and then I was to go to Walmart buy a money gram for $900. It turned out phone calls from Kingston Jamaica were billed to my Cox account(about $90's worth). I hope Cox does not make me pay. When I called Cox they said the charges would be removed. I am an elderly person. I contacted the Better Business Bureau in my city. They said they could do nothing not even post it for others. I feel like the biggest idiot. I'm glad that the Fed Gov. has this websight and is looking out for us.

OMG! It happen to me today. I got a call saying I was just awarded a grant for $7,800. All I had to do was go to Walmart and get a Green Dot Money Take Voucher for $4.95 they will deposit $500 on it, because there was a limit they could deposit they couldn't put it all on it unless,
I added $200 on to the Voucher they could deposit the hold thing. According to the government they will never call you about winning a voucher and two in order to receive a grant you must first apply for one. If it sounds to good to be true it probably isn't.

Thanks for sharing your experience and for filing a complaint with the FTC. It's important to submit a complaint because investigators from all over the country access the FTC's complaint database. Watch this video to learn more about how to file a complaint with the FTC and why it matters.

My email is bombarded with notifications for me to claim millions of dollars in lottery winnings (that I did not play), inheritances (from non-relatives), loan offers, executive positions that require I give my bank account info so $$ can be deposited in my account. All scams. It bothers me that our seniors are targeted by these crooks over and over, and, too often, fall for it. No matter how much we inform, too many still don't get it. It's as though they think it doesn't apply to 'this one.'

The best thing I ever did was to get caller ID. I do not answer any calls that I don't recognize. I feel that if it is important, they can leave a message. This, however, does not stop the late night or early morning calls. The DO NOT CALL list does not work as there are no consequences. Most of the scammers are from foreign call centers and they do not fear our laws.

Dear Friends and Family - I want to warn you about a scam that I almost fell for. I got a recorded call from the "IRS" that stated that failure to call would mean prosecution. When I called the number back (202) 506-8701, the "IRS officer" who answered (David Parker, who had a thick Nigerian accent), read the subpoena to me. He quoted articles and said that I had been reviewed and that I owed the IRS $4575.56. I told him I didn't have that kind of money and asked if I could pay in installments. He said I needed to send "good faith" money. The first amount was $2,500, but they came down to $750. I had to stay on the phone with them while I went to the bank to get money. I took out $300 and tried another ATM machine, but my credit union only lets me take $300 daily. He asked me to try another ATM machine, so like an idiot, there I go. Still couldn't get more money and they agreed to the $300. I was to go to CVS pharmacy and get a prepaid Visa card and then I was transferred to the "accounting office" of the "IRS" to get more instructions on how to do this transaction. Meanwhile, while I was talking to the first guy, I checked the phone number on line, which didn't point to the IRS. I told him this, and he said,"I'll call you from the IRS 800 number," so he hung up and called back. My phone showed the 800 number and when I checked on line, the IRS did come up. So I asked him if that number was a 24 hours service number and he said yes. When they transferred me to the "accounting office" I asked the new person (Kevin Brown - who by the way had a thick middle eastern accent) to give me his number in case we got disconnected. His number is (202) 506-8567. So I hung up and called the IRS 800 number. I got a recording that the office was currently closed and the recording gave the their office hours. Meanwhile they tried calling me back one call after the other, but I didn't answer and they finally stopped calling. On my way home I thought, if this was real, I would have received snail mail correspondence from the IRS, not this last minute call saying that if I didn't pay today, they would send my case to court. The first guy was very convincing. So much so, that I went to the bank to get money!! So lease be careful!! If my father had been the one to answer, he would have sent them the money because he doesn't speak English very well, and because of their tactics...he would not have checked numbers on the internet like I did. Please send this to all your contacts to warn them of this scam. Thank you!!

I have been getting calls from a foreign man saying he is from the government grant division and I have grant money in my name. He wanted a prepaid debit card number or my bank credit card number. After I told him no he asked why. I told him I didn't believe he was from the government. He was very persistent. I told him if I had money in my name that he should send me a check. He knew my address which is very unnerving.

If you receive a check with your name on it and the sender asks you to deposit it and send money to them, this could be a fake check scam.

I just had this same thing happen today and they turned out to have a callback number that was a personal cell.People should be aware of these scammers and give no personal information.

I got a call from Liz and she said I have a grant for 7000 but they won't me to go get a green dot money card and load 200 the number is 347-535-4487

Today i got a call from washington dc, number starting 202-407-9095 watch out for this number they will say you won the government prize money and you don't have to return the money first i spoke to a guy and later he gave me this girl's number she told me to go to walmart or walgreens buy a green dot scratch card which is re-loadable and load it with $200 and we will return you with the balance, i already knew this was a scam so i told the girl to deduct the $200 from my winning money and send me a check of the balance amount , and you know what she hung up on me.

these people are scam artists

I just received a call from a foreign man saying i was selected to receive $7,000 in grant money from the united states federal grant program. I asked how i was selected and he was vague. The caller id came up as 78. I knew it was a scam but i wanted to see how much he info he would divulge. Not much. I was given a,number to call and the number ww415 as the verification number. The phone he gave me to call is (206)855-3305. It is the "finance" department. While listening to all the office noise in the background i could tell it was fake and looping.(im a musician) He asked for my bank acct card number 3 times and i ignored his requests and just kept asking questions while i reverse looked up the number he gave me. It is located in the state of washington on an island. He said they were located in DC. So i told him before i call i would like to check out how legitimate the grant is. He tried to persuade me not to by confirming it was valid. I know an application must be filled out before any grant is awarded. Beware of this scam. I gave all the info i could get from the caller here. Not much else i can do. Now i am reporting it to the ftc and local law enforcement. Good day everyone.

Yes, thanks for filing a consumer complaint with the FTC. We appreciate your blog comment because it helps warn other people about this scam, but it’s not a formal complaint. Watch this video to learn more about how to report a scam and why it matters.

I have been getting calls from Heather Gray. IRS rep. The call is from Washington, No. is 1-202-506-9726. When you call back it is a man with a very thick foreign accent. He lets you know you are going to jail and the police will be at your house in a few days. I called my accountant and I am just fine with the IRS. I filled a report with the police. They keep calling me. A few days ago I got a call from a internet scam. Once your number is out there are you a target forever?

irecieved a called today from a number again a man with a thick indian accent then he told me another number it was the samr person but a diffrent number told me to wait 15 min befor i call ask me fen i told him there is no precess fee for grant he got pissed off and told me not to call that number again i told him he was scammer the number to be aware of is12026977222 and the other is 2027384242

Today, received two calls from 202-241-1017. Each time they left a voice mail. I completed a consumer complaint already but wanted to give people a heads up. The first caller was female spoke very very poor English asked for someone I know. She said her name was "Kelly Jones". She Must speak in person or with "attorney of record" regarding money owed to IRS.You could hear her struggling with the script she was given to read.
The second caller was a male. He asked for someone we don't know but the person he was for had a Hispanic name. Same threat must call or attorney of record must call IRS owe money. IRS never calls they send letters in mail. They don't answer the phone 24/7. Their phone are high quality and you don't hear them breathing hard or crackling on the phone line.

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