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Government imposters want to get to know you

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The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the FTC want you to know about a scam in which callers posing as federal employees are trying to get or verify personal information. This is a government imposter scam.

Sometimes, the caller asks you to verify your name, and then just hangs up. Other times, he or she might ask for detailed information — like the last digits of your Social Security or bank account number. Imposters might say they need this information to help you or a family member. But their real reason is to steal from you or sell your information to other crooks.

Your caller ID might even read “HHS Tips” or “Federal Government” when they call. The phone number could have the “202” Washington, DC area code, the headquarters for many federal agencies. The phone number may even be for a real government agency. But don’t be fooled: Scammers know how to rig their caller IDs to show false information.

So how can you tell the caller is an imposter?

  • The federal government typically will contact you by U.S. Mail first, not by phone or email.
  • Federal agencies will not demand personal information like your Social Security Number or bank account number over the phone. Also, just because the caller knows details about you, doesn’t mean she is trustworthy.
  • The caller typically asks you to send money – often via wire transfer, by using a prepaid debit card, or maybe by sending you a fake check to cash. Federal agencies will not ask you to use any of these methods to send money for any reason.

…and what should you do?

Comments

I was scammed on March 8, 2017 by people who posed as the IRS. I blindly followed orders and gave them money. They wiped me out. I have $10.96 left. And there are others who keep calling me. I learned the hard way. It will take a long, long time to recover my losses. I have no money to pay my bills. I am alone. So all of you out there, please be careful.

I have been receiving massages from them but never take them serious

I've got identity theft from EVERY direction, as well as my husband, and my parents. I have a junk car that is pushing me into insanity and I need help!! I need a fantastic attorney for a lemon law issue, 1 for construction and economic development and rural development as well as multifamily housing, contractor grants and loans, banking and farm programs. The attorney I need, has to be well rounded because as well as those things, I have a TON of others!!please please someone help me

I have different scams I have been hit with: #1.- I donate to a charity every month by sending them a check. Someone supposedly from that charity called me on my phone and asked me to please make my donations by a credit card, that they are asking all donators to do so because it will streamline their bookkeeping or some other reason. Bottom line -they want your charge account number to buy themselves goodies that you pay for. Didn't fall for it. #2. -phone call- I won PCH award of 3 million, this guy was so convincing! (but he had a Indian accent)also I won a new car, but I had to pay so much money to show good faith and the money would be used to transport the new car to my home the next morning...Sure it would, didn't bite the hook but this person knew his stuff and was so convincing!
Scammers are getting smarter & more creative in their scams. They are also doing a heck of a lot more "prep-work" in practicing their scams and some are well prepared to fool you if you ask questions. Now I ask the full name of the person and their company on the phone calls. Most hang up after this, but if they persist, I ask for their phone number to call them back.(Then they certainly hang up).
For the month of March, so far, I get 3-4 scam calls a day. What is especially weird about this is that they are all from the same
"scam company" They say- hello, this is " Visa- Mastercard Services" and because you have such a good history of payments on your credit card, we are calling to reduce your credit card interest rates,.......Yeah! right!
BTW, did I mention, I'm on the "Do Not Call Registry"
That's a joke! I have a print out of at least 10 phony caller ID's a day. How can these people get so many phone numbers to call from. One of the numbers even said it was from a Doctor, a MD!
These phone scams are annoying and a huge waste of my time.

There are two numbers to look out for trying to scam saying they are from the IRS 1-575-268-3518 and 1-206-388-4903. When they asked me for money I said, let's three way with local Police Office, they hung up! LOL!

Another phone # to beware of is 210-401-0895 looked up the info on the #, it shows it's in San Antonio. However, they can still be over seas & show whatever area they want. My call was from a man of Indian descent, claiming to be IRS, I knew right away it was not, he could barely speak English. He was very persistent, said I owed $$$ , & of course I am being sued & or arrested. I called him back several times, because I figure that if I keep this creep on the phone talking to me, he won't be busy at that time scamming someone who doesn't know any better. I finally lost it with him (after he told me I owe him $75,000!!) & told him what to do with himself. Called Michigan st police & reported it, they get many complaints everyday from this same phone #. Come on people, just BEWARE.

I also received a phone call stating she was from the IRS. I didn't answer since I didn't know the number. I heard the voice message and got worried when the operator stated "you will be arrested within 24 hours if no action is taken". I got worried so I called the number. The number is (646)809-9689... She wanted me to pay $7,520 that I owed for miscalculation from the year 2010-2015. In 2010 -2012 I was still in high school and didn't work until later on 2012 roughly around November. The lady hang up when I mention that to her, but I called again didn't want to be arrested. After talking to her again she gave me two options one go to court and get a criminal attorney or two pay the money now and win. I told her I didn't have the money so court will be, but she assured me I will lose and go to jail best to pay the money now. I advised her I was unemployed and hang up. Soon after I google the number and found reviews that this number is all a SCAM.

Phone 240-293-4764 computer generated voice said IRS has a warrant out for your arrest. Message said call 240-293-4764 back.

Thurston County Sheriff phone scam. Received message on my machine this morning (not blocked by NoMoRobo) from 360-768-0552 (Google says this is Vancouver, WA #) saying the Thurston County Sheriff (TCS) "needs to discuss the results as soon as possible" of a court case (warrants) and I need to "make contact with all due haste" with TCS. The called ID showed 360-768-0552, and that's the same number the caller said to call back on, which I did. Please note, that I consider myself a scam expert and engage scammers intentionally to report them to the FTC. I called 360-768-0552 and left my own land line number they called on. The voice message on 360-768-0552 said it was the Thurston County Sheriff . I was called back in 5 minutes. I asked the person answering what the main TCS number was, and they answered correctly. The story line was that Darlene K       had been in court yesterday and had a warrant out against her. The voices and words used sounded very professional and were not foreign, like most other scammers I have engaged with. The scammer hung up before telling me what he wanted to scam me out of. Two red flags here: the 360-768-0552 number is from Vancouver, WA (over an hour South of here) and I know that law enforcement does not call people with warrants. I talked to my local police department, and they confirmed that this scam call had been going around my county frequently.

Received IRS IMPOSTER VOICEMAIL SAYING THEY ARE MONITORING MY PROPERTY FOR POTENTIAL FEDERAL TAX LIENS..ALL BE AWARE OF 1-815-595-4232....

Question for Moderator:

How in mentioning the county the scam is involved in and I live in considered too personal?

I did NOT include my address. I referenced two counties and the phone number the scammer used in place of the local sheriff's office.

Yes I have read you commenting rules:
comments that contain personal information, like home addresses

Comments submitted to this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personal information.

The scammer I talked to was very unusual in that he was very professional sounding in words and accent, which made this scammer more dangerous than the India scammers.

Indian accent man stated that I had been randomly selected for a $40,000 grant from the Department of Health and Human Services. When I asked for a phone number to call him back, he hung up. Someone else who sounded very similar called 5 seconds later. I demanded I speak to this supervisor since he told me "that this is NOT a scam and he worked for the federal government". He transferred me to "Paul" who told me that I was going to be in trouble now. When I asked how exactly I would be in trouble-- they couldn't tell me exactly how. They warned me multiple times that the call was being recorded as a threat.... They have been calling 10 times a day for the past 7 days. Enough is enough!!

I was called this morning about a grant. He said I would be getting $14,566 for a grant and I would not have to pay anything back. He wanted my bank no. so I gave him a fake no. He wanted me to go to a Walgreens and get a NIH card and then go to an ATM and put $388 into the card and wait 15 minutes and I would have my $14,566 in my bank account.I asked him what the $388 was for and he told me processing fees. That's when I hung up on him. He called me back and left a voicemail saying he is going to take the $388 out of my bank. I thought good luck with that. He said his name is Richard Johnson and he is the senior grant officer. His badge number is DM8463 and the phone no. is 202-871-0481.

I never answer calls that I don't know! It seems they are all scams or they want to sell me a medical alert system, back brace, weight loss program, etc. (They leave messages on my voice mail!) I did answer one call who I thought was from my electric company because the caller id said Info Elect. But it was from Elections/ electoral doing a survey! I only answered "no" to one question and hung up! And it was before 8 a.m. when they called! And I still get calls from them! I also get calls from Charities but I don't answer! Some of these calls are also scams! I'll look them up on google or Charity Navigator. And some scams claim they are from churches, ministries or other charities.

I don't reply to email trash, so i don't get got by them. I have received some requests for help from friends that have been hacked, these are also obvious... he lates come from the HMS Inland Revenue in England what morins... I found a couple of years ago when i got calls by phone that to them time is money, so i had them repeat the information or had my pen run out of ink, or said i was not sure how to spell something... the longer i drew them out and kept them on the phone the less likely they were to call back... It is kinda of fun to keep them on for 30 mins +.... this just irkes them to death...

I agree that the do not call lists DO NOT work. I think the scammers get the numbers from them. Since 8 am this morning I have had 6 calls that are scammers. Numbers from 318,201,202,315.318, and 312. I have even told the take my name off the list and one SOB actually stated then well keep your money.

I pretty much know that government agencies don't contact you any other way. Either they will send you a certified letter or show up at your place in person should you owe them anything or be found of some federal crime. If any of these scammers call you impersonating them, you should probably ask them why they haven't sent anything in the mail about this. Should they get defensive or fail to go in detail, it's most likely that you don't owe them anything. Also, even though the IRS does have an official phone number, they make it clear that they don't cold call anyone for anything and that everyone usually calls them first just like tech support.

I have been receiving calls on my cell phone and the message was that this person was a county process server in my county and that he would be coming to my place of residence the next day to serve me summons, i ignored it because a soon as i heard the message i googled the name he gave and process servers in my county and nothing came up, but what i DID find out that where i live the sheriffs dept is the one that serves people. A couple days later my fiances mother gets the same call two times on her answering machine and contacted me right away freaking out thinking it was real she is a senior citizen and has alot of health issues and this would send her into such a panic she would get sick i tried telling her that its a scam and not to worry but she thought I was lying to her so she wouldnt freak out. These PPL clled her again yesterday and told her that because I never responded that they have entered a default judgment against me, so i decided to call and find out what was going on and when i asked when this court date was he said well there isnt a date set once you get served then they will set the date and I told him that make absolutely no sense, he proceeds to tell me that the federal gov't is the ones " coming after me" for a bank account I open and withdrew a substantial amount of money and never "repaid" he said the amount i overdrew was 1,120 and that was back in 2008 so now i owe 3,012.13 , i knew right then this was a poorly executed scam because I never had a bank account at the bank he claimed i got angry an called him a few choice names and hung up the number is 877-567-7083 be careful these ppl sounded VERY convincing as they had my soon to be mother in law in a panic.....i hope they are caught an sent to prison for a very long time!!! It is against the law to claim that you are working on behalf of the federal gov't is it not?? What troubles me is that this pos had my ss number and address!!! I don't feel safe anymore!!!

Got call from area code 202, the man calling says he is from Medicare health source. I said wrong number and hung up.

Received 2 IRS calls today 1 hr apart. # is 337-245-2150.
Well spoken in American-English with a perfect cell phone connection.

I AM GETTING CALLS FROM A BILLY AND A JOE STATING THEY ARE FROM THE SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY AND THEY ARE CALLING ON A RECORDED LINE AND TO PRESS ONE AT ANYTIME TO STOP THE CALLS AND GO INTO MY RECENT FILING FOR DISABILITY. I HAVE NOT FILED FOR DISABILITY.

Government grant - I can receive $9,000.00 because I paid my bills on time! Right.... I used to write grants, I know what is involved. They don't give it away.

Calls from 866-365-4968 claim to be the Department of Justice with a federal subpeona to court for criminal activity. They want people to pay them over the phone under threat of arrest at your place of employment by the local Sheriff's department. Be vigilant and don't fall for it!

I believe my husband being scammed by someone claiming to be from the FTC. He told my husband he's from Ontario. Several times he has wired money to my husband and then asks him to send it to someone else supposedly in Customs. It alll began when he called and told my husband that he had won some money. I have tried without any results to explaining to him that this is a scam. He's is 72 years old and very desperate and naïve.

My kids have told me that this is a MONEY LAUNDERING scam and that he could be charge as a money mule. They are very nervous and upset by this and told me to contact the FBI.

I need help, don't know what to do!

The person who called your husband is not from the FTC. That is a scam. The scammer could take your husband's money and personal information and your husband could get in trouble with the law.

Please send a short email about this FTC imposter to BlogInfo@FTC.gov for more information. Thank you.

Did you get my concern, not sure if you did?

I just called the number on an IRS notice received by a client company, for which I have POA/CAF#. The agent stated as of a couple days ago IRS agents to now required to request the callers SSN and date of birth in addition to the CAF#.

I just received a call from 866-365-4968 claiming to be the Department of Justice. They claimed I was part of a Fraud case and some lawyer should have contacted me prior. If anyone knows anything about the law and how it works, that is the exact opposite of how the law works. The person on the other end of the line did not speak correct/fluent English. Sounded like it came from a call center. She would not tell me what city they were calling from, should be a simple answer if you are representing the U.S. Government.

Montevideo, Minnesota and Appleton, Minnesota is being hit hard by this scam. Identity theft amongst our retired military here is on the rise, we all know someone who's an old retired veteran of war who has their Identity stolen. I can count 8 people in the last month who were victims of both these crimes, maybe their related. The police can't do anything so no one even bothers. The only thing me and a few others know for a fact that an organized crime ring from Los Angeles, California has been hitting our towns hard every since early 2017. This includes healthcare referrals / kickbacks and people trying to purchase EBT/SNAP benefits. Like sending them in to get the $192 Monthly card then they either give it away or exchange it for money gift. The pitch is "someone in need could really use food" instead the cards are used to purchase goods (think private owned retails not Walmarts) and the product never leave the shelves. I guess the money gets laundered. I heard a story of a guy who has 30 EBT cards and the card holder is a different person than the recruiter. They're all from California or have recruited locals to do this. Our town has only 5000 people, other towns are experiencing same thing, heck it only takes me 15-20 minute drive.

As of 6:05PM EST 2018-03-08 they are still at it. The caller id on the phone was: Langley. the phone number was 360-331-1000. The caller sounded foreign, maybe from India. The tell you that you won a $9000 govt grant. You dont have to pay it back and it is tax free. Then they start to ask for various personal information. Beware!!

206-866-0882 $9000 grant but will cost $200 to get it.

I got a call 0n 6/05/18 about winning a gov. Grant by a lady named Berry Whatson employee # 1026 claming to work in Washington dc, the caller ID said Wisconsin. 414-203-8148. Sge told me to call 315-544-0961 at 11am the next morning and give them activation card number vr732 to claim $9248.00 grant to fix my house or car. It would be paid by my choice of card, money gram, western union. When I called the next day, the guy gave me the same run through. Then told me to get the money I have to pay 250.00 to money gram. I was not asked for any info. Besides my name confirmation. I blew this guy off after that. I hope it was a scam and not the grant I was looking into. Otherwise I'm screwed.

Hello!
Two days ago I and my husband got phone call, and the people said we qualified to get government grant for $7000.00. Her name Carmen Young, she is Government officer and her number 347-448-4256. It was Saturday, she asked us to go to Walmart and get money wires for amount of $256. When I asked for what that amount, she said it’s one time fee to process application, however it’s fully refundable. After we will pay fees, she’ll issue money check for $7256.0 Then I asked from her to send us a letter saying about grand by mail, so she said they’ll send a mail after they will issue a check for us. Firstly it is scary and terrible, secondly funny. PLEASE BE CAREFUL!!!

Yeah.... 352-045-2641 has been calling. An individual saying they are with us government and i won a grant. I never let them get very far. Cuz I doubt they would call me, let alone hire a guy who could barely speak English as it is. So yeah

For the last 3 weeks I have been getting messages on my voicemail saying there is a warrant out for my arrest. They are from different states. Today my husband called the number back asking them why they called. Lol they said I don't know, what's your name. We don't give that information out. Click they hung up.

i have over the past few days recieved 3 calls on my cellphone from (360)208-8541. I haven't answered but they leave a computerized message that is only partly there telling me to call them back at (360)208-8543 or there will be a lawsuit and legal action

I have a man messaging me on Facebook claiming to be with the government and here is his message to me: "This is an Empowerment Program set up by the Federal Government to help the American and Canada and communities and other countries around the world. The money giving by the federal government is not a loan. Are ready to fill the Requirement Form?"

I am tired, I've more than a year receiving daily phone calls from someone named Like Scam, sometimes as Likely Scam, using locals landline numbers, cell phone numbers, other numbers with unknown area code, sometimes leaving messages, this is the IRS, you have to contact us immediately, otherwise the sherif is going to arrest you, you own money to us, and leave different numbers, always there is a female voice, not same one, or same person stating you have to call immediately in regarding a Student loan, or same lady stating you have a pending debt about your mortgage, I've complaining, every time when I reported the caller, again starting calling from different numbers, they are like roaches, are everywhere, one day I received a call almost at midnight, from Like Scam, if checking on the white pages who called me, I found people from Fl, a 71 years old man, or fake business, or telephone numbers with unknown name locations, companies and more. I think our government should find those fraudulent callers, file a legal action against them and the telephone company who is issuing services to those impostors. I have changed my cell phone three times, I cancelled my landline phone, I am tired. Our government needs funds to make the wall, well this is a way to obtain it. I apologize for this last comment, but is just a though.

I had a scammer relentlessly contacting me through phone texts after he hacked my friends Facebook page. He claims to be from some government grant committee.He then asks you to pay a fee of $500. Through Amazon gift cards of I tunes cards. His number is 510-296-7408. I've been playing him for about a year or so. He says his office is in East Orange N.J. but if you look up the address it's an apartment building in the projects. What a fool. I told him I reported him but he keeps answering me every time I ask him how do I pay. He's definitely from South Africa due to his accent.

I recently received a call from 202 954 2123, a Male with a Foreign accent telling me that I won a $9000.00 free government grant but I would have to call 747-282-2317 to have the bank send me the money. The person gave me a Grant ID activation code. Seems fishy to me 

I want people to know that there is calls coming in saying GSA and the phone number is 202-559-3400. This is nothing but a scam.

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