Say No, Keep Your Dough
Imposter scams often begin with a call, text message, or email. The scams may vary, but work the same way - a scammer pretends to be someone you trust, often a government agent, family member, or someone who promises to fix your computer - to convince you to send them money or share personal information.
Scammers may ask you to wire money, put money on a gift card, or send cryptocurrency, knowing these types of payments can be hard to reverse.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, Americans lost more than $667 million to imposter scams in 2019.
Recognize the Scam
You get a call, email, or text message from someone claiming to be:
- A FAMILY MEMBER (or someone acting for them), saying your relative is sick, has been arrested, or is in serious trouble and needs money right away.
- A COURT OFFICIAL, indicating that you failed to appear for jury duty and need to pay a fine or you will be arrested.
- The POLICE, saying you'll be arrested fined, or deported if you don't pay taxes or some other debt right away.
- From SOCIAL SECURITY, claiming that COVID-19-related office closures mean your benefits have been suspended.
- From the IRS, saying you owe back taxes, there's a problem with your return or they need to verify information.
- From your BANK, claiming they need to verify personal information before they can send you a new card.
Be suspicious of any call from a government agency asking for money or information. Government agencies don't do that; scammers do.
Don't Trust Caller ID. Even if it might look like a real call, it can be faked.
Never pay with a gift card, wire transfer, or cryptocurrency. If someone tells you to pay this way, it's a scam.