Imposter Scams: How They Work and What You Can Do
Here’s how they work:
You get a call or an email. It might say you’ve won a prize. It might seem to come from a government official. Maybe it seems to be from someone you know – your grandchild, a relative or a friend. Or maybe it’s from someone you feel like you know, but you haven’t met in person – say, a person you met online who you’ve been writing to.
Whatever the story, the request is the same: wire money to pay taxes or fees, or to help someone you care about.
But is the person who you think it is? Is there an emergency or a prize? Judging by the complaints to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the answer is no. The person calling you is pretending to be someone else.
Here’s what you can do:
1. Stop. Check it out – before you wire money to anyone. Call the person, the government agency, or someone else you trust. Get the real story. Then decide what to do. No government agency will ever ask you to wire money.
2. Pass this information on to a friend. You may not have gotten one of these calls or emails, but the chances are you know someone who has.
Want to know more? Sign up for scam alerts at ftc.gov/subscribe.
Federal Trade Commission | ftc.gov/PassItOn
Please Report Scams
If you spot a scam, please report it to the Federal Trade Commission.
Call the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP
(1-877-382-4357) or TTY 1-866-653-4261
Go online: ftc.gov/complaint
Your complaint can help protect other people. By filing a complaint, you can help the FTC’s investigators identify the imposters and stop them before they can get someone’s hard-earned money. It really makes a difference.