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How to spot a government impersonator scam

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Scammers often disguise themselves as people working for the government and might pretend to offer help. But, really, they’re after your money or personal information. For Pride Month, the FTC wants the LGBTQ+ community to know about government imposter scams and how to avoid them.

Government imposters may call to “verify your Social Security number,” or say your Social Security number or Medicare benefits have been “suspended” due to a mix-up. Scammers may say your tax returns must be done differently because of a name change — and they need your Social Security number to fix it. For recently married people, or a trans person who recently changed their name, the excuses scammers use might make sense. But wait right there. Scammers are just phishing for personal information they can use to steal your identity or take your money.

So how do you spot it and stop it? Here’s what to know:

  • Scammers call, email, or text you for money or information. But the government won’t. Anyone who calls, emails, or texts, asking for money or personal information and claims to be from the government is a scammer. Hang up and don’t respond to messages.
  • Scammers tell you how to pay — usually by wiring money, cryptocurrency, or gift card. Nobody legit will ever tell you to pay in any of those ways. If they call, hang up the phone. If they email, text, or message you, don’t click on any links. It’s a scam.
  • Even if your caller ID says it’s from the government, it could be a scam. Caller ID can be faked. Even if it shows the government agency’s real phone number, or even if it says something like “Social Security Administration,” it could be anyone calling from anywhere in the world. Don’t trust it.

If you spot a government imposter, tell the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

Updated June 11, 2021 with updated language regarding people who change their names.

Comments

Somebody just called me from the Government said they was from VES (veterans evaluation service) saying they need to go over my C&P exam. They said they didn't know which one, when i asked them which one. I called them today, but didn't get no answer etc etc.. l thought it was strange.

We have had the "Census Bureau" come to our house 3 times in 5 yrs-we are 70ish & not the typical in our neighborhood; don't know why they pick us, why not a young couple with kids which is most of our neighborhood. We got a letter 3 weeks ago saying they were "calling us" on June 5th at 5:30 PM and they did. I begged my husband not to give info out over the phone but he trusts everyone. I told him it could be anybody in this world. I don't answer the door to strangers or give out info on the phone-EVER.

I wad contacted Buy a man said I had got a goverment grant that I would not have to pay Back. He told me to go to Diferent stores and get cards and put money on them he got me for 2700 hundred Dollars going to 6 or 7 store

They got me for 5000. I'm dealing with this right now and it's quite sad actually. Smh

During the day, when I'm not expecting anybody to call me. I look
at the ph: number first. Before I answer it, & if it doesn't look right
to me. I've just let it ring, or open it up. And close it, without saying
anything. Because I've been getting a lot of unwanted calls since I've had my Cell Phone. Thanks for letting me know about this.

I have been getting phone calls daily from someone claiming to be from the government calling to help me understand the Medicare process. I absolutely know they do not call unsolicited! They have my name, then tried to get me to verify or correct them on a date of birth. Unfortunately I’m dealing with some things where I have to answer in case it is a real call, so that’s how it came to be that I even spoke to them. It’s been the same lady every time with different numbers showing on caller ID. I block each one and report to FCC.

My husband got an email telling him to call this number: 510-970-1294 Of course he did. Gave out his parents’ names. Said he then called SSA and they verified the guy as legit. I don’t believe him. Anybody else?

Health call from CareHarmony trying to say I signed up and I did not. Wanted to do a health check on me. I was suspicious of this so terminated the call. They knew my Doctor's name . Is this a spam?

We have been getting daily calls from scammers on our land line, almost don't answer at all. A blanket attack about a month ago to area code 845 was reported on our Neighborhood ListServ. Latest one's caller ID read "NY COURTS." Many calls from Kerhonkson, NY, Camellia NY, Bronx NY. Also a hilarious call from "The Amazon and Apple Department" saying our accounts were in trouble and our computers likely to burn out. WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE FEDs' "DO NOT CALL" registry? Need it more than ever!!

I just received the following text - the link is a google doc form to fill out. I’m assuming this is a scam, yes?
“You have qualified for IRS American Rescue Act 2021 additional $1,400. Claim Here: // t.co /PwW0g505Yj”

I called a number gave name n they said I won some $$$$$ but I had to at n fee sound fiction to smh if you’re legit why do I have to pay a fee ?????

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