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Who’s pretending to be the government now?

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You’ve gotten the calls: from Social Security. Or the IRS. Or Medicare. Or any number of other agencies. Except: as soon as the caller threatens you or demands that you pay them with a gift card or by wiring money, you know. It’s a scam. Even if caller ID tells you otherwise – that’s not the government calling.

The FTC’s latest Data Spotlight shows the surge in reports about government imposters. You know about the Social Security Administration (SSA) imposters who claim that your Social Security number has been linked to “criminal activity” and ask you to provide some information or money. (That’s a lie. The real SSA doesn’t work that way.) But those scammers are not alone: people are still telling the FTC that they’re getting calls from – and losing money to – scammers pretending to be the IRS, Medicare, a government grants group, or cops and the FBI.

Want to know more? Now there’s – dare we say – an awesome way for you to find out. And even create your own handout. You see the graphic here, but if you go to the dynamic, interactive version of the graphic, you can create a version that focuses on the time period or scam you’re most interested in.

Exploring the data can tell you, for example, that this year’s median losses to law enforcement imposters are the highest of all imposter scams (a whopping $3,000), and that 20% of the people who reported those scams told us they lost money. Those calls work because they’re scary. But now you can stay on top of the latest as data is updated every quarter. Or go back 5 years and see how things have changed.

And, of course, there are tips on how to spot government imposters scams. So if you want to share the handout you created with a few clicks, you’ll be able to tell people about not just the scope of the problem, but help them know what to do when they get the next call from the – ahem – government.


Tagged with: government, imposter, scam
Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


One of the newest SS scams came today in a phone call with a woman's pre-recorded voice, claiming to be Officer Maria Gomez of the Social Security Admin., saying that my SS number "has been suspended due to some reasons" and to call them back. Right there, you know it's a scam especially since the caller was identified on my house phone as Cartref Science with the following number: 781-219-0658 (Boston MA area). I found this out by doing a reverse phone look-up online. Of course, I didn't call back as it's obvious these people are "phishing" for your SS# and possibly other personal info.

I just now received a call from a private ID to my cell phone it was a woman sounding like she was in a call room and had an Asian type accent, she asked if this was me she was calling, she said my name incorrectly. I asked her who this was, she said she was from the federal governmen, in fact she did not say which federal government!! I took control of the conversation and said - look, if you're going to be calling me on a private number I don't believe that you're from the government and also if you need to contact me you would be doing it through the mail, so at this point you need to not call me any longer because I don't believe you are who you say you are and that you are trying to create an identity theft issue - have a good day take care goodbye, and I hung up. I feel if you are strong and take control the conversation it will take them off guard I do believe I offer too much information but I was irritated.

I got phone call said this federial trade commission you have won
$1.5 million . i was tolds this not SCAM. was told to go to CVS buy Amazon card.
is this scam

That is a scam. The FTC does not call people about winning money. Anyone who says you won money should send you the money. They should not tell you to pay money. If someone calls and says you won a prize, don't send them money or buy a gift card. That's a scam.

I received a call from 833-438-2856 came up United States
Saying there was a charge against my social security number that needs to be cleared up right away (left a message) I called back right away thought someone stolen my identity & I was going to be charge for it. There was people in back ground on phone, number came up United States. Before they went into detail they needed my last 4 digits of ssn & area code which I gave. Then they began with this story about finding my dna in a car with drugs found in another country I was being charge. Then I freaked out then thought about it asked why are you contacting me & not the FBI or police then hung up the phone. Now they have my info I have taken percussion. I hope enough. Hope this helps!

Beware...those who have been recently arrested. Arrest records are public. Callers claiming to be FBI, ATF, CIA, ETC., investigating "related" issues with your recent arrest are especially terrifying and convincing. The scammers had my son's phone number, social security number, and arrest date for a "drunk in public" charge. Allegedly, finding "drugs" in his vehicle while it was impounded. While it might seem difficult for some to understand HOW people fall for these scams, imagine being new to the criminal justice system and getting calls....AND THE PHONE NUMBER IS THE CORRECT PHONE NUMBER WHEN YOU SO A QUICK GOOGLE SEARCH, IT SHOWS AS THE FBI's PHONE NUMBER!

One thing I highly advise people to ask if they happen to answer the phone always ask who they are trying to contact. Most times they hang up, if they don't they ask who are they speaking with, in which case I either hang up or say you called me so you tell me. Then they usually hang up after that.

I have been using an app that I pay annual fee for and it blocks numbers reported as scams. About 98% good. Some scams spoof MY first 5 digits which is rich since my number was specially purchased about 25 years ago when we had real phone companies: ma bell. One can enter prefix or area code blocks.
Thing is the block app shows TONS of attempts. How those scam clowns continue is just mind boggling.

2 calls same day hour apart 2 different # 1 800 965 3676 and #1 800 651 5789. SS card was on hold .Oh wait I just got another one same day these are all one hour apart # 1 800 590 8838


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