Who’s the target?
Mainly seniors, but anyone can be susceptible.
What’s their goal?
To obtain your money by fraudulently impersonating a government agency or other trusted company, and requesting you make immediate payment on a false debt.
How do they do it?
Someone reaches out to you via phone, email, or text message claiming to be an agent from a trusted entity such as the IRS, Social Security Administration, Amazon, Microsoft, or other government organizations. Then, they will claim that you owe money. They can claim it is from back taxes, a charge on your account or failure to appear for jury duty. They’ll tell you if you don’t pay right away you will face serious consequences such as fines, arrest, or deportation. Once you send them these funds in the form of gift cards, wires, P2P, cryptocurrency or money transfers, they abscond with your money and can become untraceable.
- They’re requesting you make a payment to someone you don’t know, especially in the form of a gift card, money transfer, wire or payment app
- They’re emphasizing a sense of urgency or an immediate deadline
- They’re telling you that you’re in jeopardy of being fined, arrested, or deported if you do not pay
How can we stay safe?
- Keep private information private
- Contact the organization directly by locating their official government website and contact information
- Don’t fall for their urgency. It is always okay to hang up the phone/not respond until you do your own research
If you think you have been scammed:
- Contact all your financial institutions as soon as possible
- Contact FTC.gov
- Contact the Social Security Fraud Hotline (if applicable)
- Contact the DMV (if applicable)