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We know scammers are out there, impersonating the authorities and conjuring up different schemes to fool people into giving them money. They might say they’re calling from the IRS because you owe taxes. Or claim they’re from the FTC, calling to help you recover money lost to a scammer. But now we’re hearing about a new ploy: scammers are impersonating the police! That takes some chutzpah, huh? Here’s how it works.

You get a phone call. Someone you care about is in jail and, they say, you need to pay up to bail him out. The scam-detecting radar in your head immediately goes off. You’re skeptical – but the caller ID says the call is from the police department. And, let’s be honest, your nephew is a knucklehead and you can totally imagine him being arrested. So, you keep listening.

The caller tells you to put money on a prepaid card and give him the card number. Now your scam-detecting radar is going off the charts. You know that police departments — and the federal government, for that matter — don’t tell people to pay with prepaid cards. You also know using a prepaid card is like paying cash — once the money is gone, you can’t get it back.

“But what about the caller ID?” you wonder. In fact, what seems like reliable information about the source of a call isn’t so reliable anymore. Scammers can rig caller ID to look like they’re calling from the police department. Or, really, anywhere — even your own number. Don’t rely on caller ID. It’s not foolproof. Scammers can easily spoof it to try to gain your trust. If it looks like the police are calling, look up the non-emergency phone number (hint: it’s not 9-1-1) and call to find out if the story is legit. You’ll soon learn it’s a scam.

Report the imposter to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. Select the category “Scams and Rip-offs” then “Impostor Scams”.

To learn more, read Government Imposter Scams or listen to these tips.

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179 Comments


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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

TamTam
December 12, 2015

In reply to by I hate Ignoran…

I agree 100%! Where are any hearts of compassion to those who are elderly/disabled/etc?! Not everyone understands how sick people are in this world when their bed ridden. Apparently whoever took the time to call people stupid basically for getting ripped off from these morons is the ignorant one. I pray you don't fall prey to these sick people who might just scam you.
Brenda
July 18, 2015
Thanks for keeping us informed.
lordsadashiva
July 20, 2015
we need really help from IRS department thank you IRS .please help us
ramaswamydusai
July 21, 2015
you people are great to help people do not know really people are.please inform us first about stammers are clever than government people.
gaya3silva
July 22, 2015
I received 2 scam phone calls on 07/21/15 and 7/22/15. These people were posing as USCIS personnel and custom police. The phone # that I received the calls are listed below 661-7480240 866-3472423 Please feel free to e-mail me regarding this matter. Thanks
B L Rasco
July 23, 2015
i cannot here well at 92, got scam call on home phone with message form IRS Agent to call 202 559 0661 on July 21,2015. I returned call and they said I owe taxes and would sue if I didn't pay. Could not here amount. I have not received a letter or bill from the IRS about any taxes due or owed. I have not owed or paid any taxes in years. HELP STOP SCAMERS
Land of Disney
July 24, 2015
I got a call last week wanting a donation of $25.00 for the local Sheriff's Department. I said "NO" that I had worked for a Sheriff's Department, and we NEVER solicited over the phone. This fell on deaf ears, as he said how about $10.00 donation? I said, "You don't even work for the Sheriff's Department do you?" He said "No." I said, "Just how much to you make by calling?" He said his company makes 85% and the Sheriff's Department makes 15%. "That's all I wanted to know, and take me off your calling list!"
baigs11
July 24, 2015
I was contacted by messanger to say that I had won Facebook s lottery? Funny they don't do one ! Anyway the woman who is called Jennifer Rodriguez and has a F B page saying she works for Facebook and is a administrator of funds . I was supposed to have won a cool $500,000,00 not bad . Then this woman asks for $210 for admen fee s once payed into a western union I would receive my check within 24hours . I even contact the FBI and even they said it was true do don't really understand that one ?? Why are they saying I have won and even showed me a check in my name on it and a code bar which I still have to run to see if it comes up with anything? Anyway I no am being scamed but it's a good one ,as said they can even get a FBI letter saying it's from a James comey FBI agent can this be checked his name ??? It's not that the FBI who I was leaving E-Mails for were to the FBI s headquarters so that's wot I don't get ?? He was not e mailing me I to him ??? . I will put all his details on and try to add the screen shot of the check . It looks official so beware? ----- Her name agent Jennifer Rodriguez FBI agent. James comey ....
ctressler
August 21, 2017

In reply to by baigs11

These are useful details for a complaint.  Please report your experience at ftc.gov/complaint. Your complaints help the FTC and other law enforcement agencies bring scam artists to justice. We cannot address complaints if they are submitted through the blog comments.

Please remember: If you have to pay, it’s not a prize. For more information, please see Prize Scams.

Chelle B Starr
August 07, 2015
I received a phone call stating on 8/6/2015 stating that I was going to be arrested on my job for bank fraud and i t was a felony charge. They said I owed Cash Advance. I was like "what!! You must be nutts!!" The guy claimed he was an a attorney from Harbor Mediation. I explained to him that I know how debt collections work and he told me that I should just hire an attorney because if I did not pay by 10am on 8/7/2015, I would be transported to the Federal Jail. I have him a piece of my mind and he disconnected the call.
Kerri1926
February 07, 2018

In reply to by Chelle B Starr

Yes I get these calls also. I still get them.
TheDoctor
August 12, 2015
I keep getting "Windows Tech Dept" calls, and once in a while "Police Benevolent" calls, I WANT TO STOP THEM
notfallingfirascam
June 28, 2017

In reply to by TheDoctor

I had that same response. I told him to call my attorney. He got pissed off but I never received any more calls after tha!
wasntfooled
August 14, 2015
Watch out for the IRS imposters. They are very clever and highly trained. It is scary to hear that your property, money and drivers license will be confiscated and that you will be arrested. They need to be caught and prosecuted! Im wondering why, with all the technology available, these telephone scammers cannot be traced and arrested?
Nancita
October 21, 2017

In reply to by wasntfooled

I got a voice mail from 7182148771 saying they was the irs sending cops to pick me up within the next 24hrs that I needed to call to clear this matter up but never once said my name this was on Oct 18th I never called them back and cops haven't showed up
ENTERPRICEWEBD…
August 24, 2015
california republic bank aka crbauto, aka crbnk needs to be investigasted . there under chase and bancore scamming ,they steal mail ,they peddle info and i have proof.
FTC Staff
August 24, 2015

In reply to by ENTERPRICEWEBD…

You can report problems with a bank to the bank regulator for the state. Look online for contact information.

Carter
August 25, 2015
I RECEIVED A PHONE MESSAGE FROM NO. 202-552-1015 SAYING HIS NAME WAS INVESTIGATOR JOSEPH DANIELS FROM THE FEDERAL BANK FRAUD DIVISION AND THAT I HAD THIS ONE OPPORTUNITY TO RETURNED THE CALL BEFORE HE CALLED MY LOCAL POLICE TO ARREST ME, I KNEW IT WAS FAKE BECAUSE I WORK IN LAW ENFORCEMENT AND THINGS AREN'T DONE THIS WAY. BUT....WHEN I GOOGLED HIS NAME, I FOUND A "SPECIAL AGENT" JOSEPH DANIELS THAT WORKS IN PENNSYLVANIA. SO I THINK THE BAD GUYS ARE USING THE GOOD GUYS NAMES, SO IF WE GOOGLE THEM, THEY WILL APPEAR REAL. GOOD LUCK TO ALL. I ALSO FOUND THAT A COMPANY BY THE NAME OF EASTERN STAR SOLUTIONS IS CONNECTED TO THIS J. DANIELS. DO NOT TRY TO ACCESS THEIR WEBSITE, IT HAS MALWARE AND VIRUSES, MY COMPUTER NOTIFIED ME BEFORE I CLICKED ON THE WEBSITE LINK.
Lisa
August 28, 2015

In reply to by Carter

I got this exact same call and I reported them to FTC although I'm sure nothing will come if it. I also recently received a call asking me when I would be home to have appears served me as I was being served. Really??? Lmao even if that WAS true do u think I'm going to tell u like I want to be served with papers!? Terrible scam.
One irritated …
March 03, 2016

In reply to by Lisa

I recently got the same call and the creepy thing is he had my old address and social security number. Sick people!
4ensics4me2
August 28, 2015
1-202-821-3671 1-202-821-4813 1-202-821-4818 1-202-821-4754 1-202-821-7132 1-202-821-6509 1-202-821-2503 1-202-821-3615 1-202-821-9643 1-202-821-6601 1-202-821-5430 1-This is referrence to case # 65603157, these are numbers that scammers have used in the past according to the reverse look up in the white pages website. 202-821-4757 1-202-821-8050 1-202-821-3697 1-202-821-9710 1-202-821-2224 1-202-821-2455 1-202-821-9626 1-202-821-6503 1-202-821-9146 1-202-821-5298 1-202-821-5989 1-202-821-9792 1-202-821-7481.
Help
August 30, 2015
So one called my home aND left a message saying that his name was johnathon Jackson and my husband who's identity has been stolen was going to be charged with two felonies he claims to be director of financial crimes unit 512 806-7626
Island girl
September 03, 2015
Beware in to entering on line trades mostly are phony and do your research they can be outside the United States like london , or an Island of of Spain. The FTC commissioners will say that they can only put it in some kind of file but won't be able to pursue for they are outside their jurisdiction.
No way...
September 08, 2015
I got a call from a Roger Mason claiming to be from Jefferson County Legal Department and told me that I needed to be at home or work between 12 and 5 tomorrow (he has told me this about ten times now) or I would be arrested. Claiming that I owe some debt from like 09 that I am about ninety percent sure is not legit. Either way, they are impersonating our local authorities and I am pretty sure that is not legal.
Concerned Citizen
September 09, 2015
BEWARE of the following numbers: 225.406.8591 with call back # 509.428.2146. This person will threaten you with being "taken away in handcuffs" because of felony IRS charges, not responding to summons, etc. DO NOT BE FOOLED! This person will try to scare and intimidate you into verifying your personal information, including your SSN.
Not Amused
October 23, 2015
Got this on my voicemail at home: Voicemail from (352) 275-5686 "I would like to talk with you regarding an enforcement action executed by the United States treasury intending your serious attention. Ignoring this will be an intentional second attempt. To avoid initial appearance before the magistrate judge or grand jury for federal criminal offense. My number is 352-275-5686. I repeat it's 352-275-5686. I'd like you to cooperate with us and help us to help you. Thank you. Bye."
sick of it
February 02, 2016

In reply to by Not Amused

I have received the same voice mail numerous times over the past few months from different numbers and names. who stops these guys?
Concerned citizen
November 12, 2015
Got a call from a person trying to be Police Officer Daniel Smith, badge number 14476, Washington PD. This was regarding tax fraudulent with a case number registered against me by IRS, according to him. After a series of questionnaire, he started posing to be more demanding and threatening, that if I did not comply with his advice (paying $1840) within 60 to 90 mins, the case would be automatically closed and that meant an arrest warrant in my name with police showing at my doorstep to put me into jail. And this was his last call. The number he called 4254569637 goes to the IRS number, though. I contacted the local police dept. and even called Washington PD to find that it was definitely scam. No police officer calls on behalf of IRS in such a manner. Just letting know, in case you might get similar call. They will even say the case ID number and warrant ID issued under you name for arrest.
Come and Get It
November 13, 2015
Received a call from a male identifying himself as an IRS agent (heavy foreign accent). He said I was under investigation for failing to pay taxes ($49,000) and wanted money immediately. He began fishing for personal information and of course I provided none. He said he was coming to my house and would arrest me and put me in prison. When I told him that wasn't going to happen, he became upset, and said "I will come to your house and cut your head off with an ax". I let him know that I am a well-armed, retired law enforcement officer and it would be the last house call he would ever make. Sometimes, keeping these creeps engaged brings out their true intent.
no way
November 23, 2015
I got something like that from an indian guy or something like that stating they were from the us treasury watch out people
Mike B.
December 16, 2015
I have received numerous harassing calls from scammers who claim that they are collecting monetary donations for the American Federation of Police Officers- sometimes they say it's for "the County Sheriff's Office" , or it's for "the State Troopers". I don't have a college education, but I know a scam when I hear one!!
carmine circelli
December 29, 2015
I received a call at 12:46 pm from a person claiming to be an IRS agent today claiming that a warrant was out for my arrest regarding taxes. My taxes are paid. Attorney general office Mr Altman refered me to make a complaint with your office. The return call they left is 703-543-9645 ,please investigate.
ctressler
December 29, 2015

In reply to by carmine circelli

Thank you for sharing your experience. We can't address complaints that come through the blog comments. Please go to ftc.gov/complaint to report this.

hafsai13
January 07, 2016

On January the 6th,I had received two calls at different times & the caller identified himself as from the IRS,and said I owe money to the IRS and that the Sheriff department will be at my home soon to arrest me.The # from which the caller made is: 202-681-3882.

Julie W.
January 08, 2016
On 1/8/16 I encountered a similar IRS/Sheriff Dept scam called similar to hafsai13 1/7/16 post. First call came in at 9:30 from 716-858-8095 which I missed and a voicemail was left from James Caller with the Erie County Sheriff's office claiming I will be arrested if I do not call Officer Sean Wutz with IRS at 202-754-8404. I returned the call and he claimed if I do not pay $2750 or at least 50% to $1000 immediately I will be arrested at home or work. I asked a lot of questions and gave little info because I was puzzled because my taxes are paid. As a result I put a 90 fraud alert on the credit report agencies just to be safe.
E Rios
January 12, 2016
202-798-7300 called yesterday, 11Jan16, stating that he "was with the U.S. Government." After I asked him what kind of scam was he running he apologized for calling and then hung up. Maybe I should call him in the middle of the night....
MTN
February 02, 2016
I also just received a call from 202-754-8404 saying that I needed to turn myself in- I am hoping this is also a scam? They said it was officer Lee Chandler and that I had a complaint filed against me by Officer Thomas O'Brien.
Wtf
June 30, 2016

In reply to by MTN

Same thing... 4 felonies. I'm a school teacher, far from being a felon.
Wtf
June 30, 2016

In reply to by MTN

Same thing... 4 felonies. I'm a school teacher, far from being a felon.
M Price
February 02, 2016
I just received a call from 202-754-8404 by a man claiming to go by Officer Greg Martin, however the individual had an extremely STRONG accent. He addressed me as Mr. M (my first name, not Mr. Price) and claimed that I had serious deficiency in my income tax and I needed to call immediately because there are serious allegations against me. This really needs to be investigated and taken care of immediately as there are many elderly people that would be intimidated by a caller such as this and will pay money to them.
AMD`
February 17, 2016
I got a call showing up on my caller ID as 911. When I answered it was a foreign accented person stating they were with the VA State police and that they had a warrant out for my arrest claiming I had gotten a loan that I had taken out. I hung up on them.
roses2545
March 06, 2016
I got a call from 704-682-1703 saying that I will get arrested if I don't call them back which made me worried I don't know if this is a scam or not.
SRV
March 07, 2016
I got a call today from an unknown number and the person said this is Gary Black calling from the 911 State Police Department. I did not say anything and hung up! The person called twice more. I did not say anything and hung up both times. After that, I have stopped receiving calls - hope this scammer doesn't call again!
cena0805
April 18, 2016

In reply to by SRV

Yeah, even I got a call asking my name and then nothing much happened.
sam
May 25, 2016

In reply to by SRV

I got a call from the same Officer Gary Black today threatening I had tax issues with IRS and I had to provide my location so they could come and arrest. I then called up 911 to complain about this and they guaranteed that if they really had an arrest warrant for me, they would not be calling me to find my whereabouts.
CICT
April 11, 2016

The most recent telephone numbers linked to the IRS impersonation scam are; 2022392041 2022392551 2022414821 2062045022 3022203931 3023279048 3054071377 5407290215 7168036165 7188739187 7656027070 2028005644 3128789024 8703950605 3474343415 4093565013 6122065225

kristen6
April 18, 2016
Someone called my grandad's home phone and claimed he was from the police department he said his name was officer Blake and that he was calling about an inspection and he wouldn't tell me which police department he was with
Somiya
May 20, 2016
Yesterday I received a call from Danial Smith. He is a big faker. He told me that you did not pay the taxes for your international transaction and asked me to pay 1360$. He said I am calling from Colorado police department. His badge number is 14476. It was really miserable, they are trying to threaten international students to deport them from United State. I got a call from this numbers (7195795227). He said to go to Moneygram and send me money on this name (Jonty Elroy Minnesota). Alternatively, he asked me to buy Itunes cards.
Officer Lee Ch…
June 13, 2016

Caller ID: 7705135000 Here's an excerpt from the Voicemail: "This is a message for . , this is Officer Lee Chandler and I am calling you from the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office with Badge ID 4927. , we were trying to get a hold of you, because we have received a case and complaint against you, from an Officer by the name Thomas O'Brien who is working with the Internal Revenue Service.....so I want you to step down to your nearest police department and surrender yourself or else speak with Officer Thomas O'Brien... Please call 202-754-8239 and you can see what's going on...MAKE SURE , you get in touch with this officer as soon as possible, and resolve this matter before you will be get arrested..." NOTE: I think I could make out the thick Indian accent of the caller.

hp_ftc
July 07, 2016

In reply to by Officer Lee Ch…

Dito. I got exact same call with my local sherriff office contact details :)