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You get a text, call, or email from someone who says they’re with the government. They may claim to be a U.S. Marshal, saying you must pay a fine for missing jury duty. Or the IRS, saying that you owe thousands in back taxes. Some might threaten legal action, deportation, or arrest if you don’t pay up or give them your financial information.

In other cases, it sounds less scary and more like your lucky day. The call, text, or email will say you’ve won a prize, the lottery, or a grant — but you need to pay some fees or taxes to get your winnings.

These are all scams. Scammers will try to make it seem legitimate. They might give you a badge number, or even know information like the last four digits of your Social Security number. A Washington, D.C. area code on your caller ID also might seem convincing. But caller ID can be faked.

If someone calls, texts, or emails saying they’re with the government and you must pay, stop.

  • Never send money — especially by gift card, cash reload card, or money transfer. No government agency will threaten you or demand payment this way.
  • Don’t give out your personal or financial information to anyone who calls, texts, or emails.
  • If you sent money to a government imposter, contact the company you used to send the money (gift card company, cash reload card company, or wire transfer service) and tell them it was a fraudulent transaction. Ask to have the transaction reversed if possible.
  • Report it to the FTC at

July is Military Consumer Month. Share this video and help military families avoid IRS and government imposters.


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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.

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  • 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

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.

Bernie Don't u…
October 15, 2018
Received 2 calls that left messages in the last three days. First # was 760 304-8784 (now out of service) and second from 516 303-8489. Called back and a man with what I'm guessing was a middle eastern accent claimed to be IRS agent Edward William Employee ID #IRM50121. When I told him that I would call the IRS to confirm, he threatened that the police would be at my place shortly. When I asked him if he knew who I was, he gave me the wrong name. Hung up on him.
October 17, 2018
I received a call Monday from (irs) telling me I was going to be locked up etc if I didn’t call back. # 415-295-444 to me this doesn’t sound like a us number
October 25, 2018
Today, Oct. 17, 2018, I received an e-mail from the sender "federal bureau" When I hovered over this sender, the address of "federalbureau 287 @yahoo. com" appeared. The message line stated (in all caps, FOLLOWED BY A PERIOD): "(FBI) PAYMENT MEMO TO PAYMENT BENEFICIARIES. " I didn't open the e-mail, so I don't know what it said. Just alerting folks.
October 25, 2018
Using a search engine on my laptop, I found an entry that was titled New Mexico LIHEAP online application. The url was benefits application. com/ program_info /NM/ LIHEAP? gclid= m. It took me through seemingly routine questions starting with my zip code, including a request to look up my credit score. It had led to a marketing site. I did not "look up" my credit score but I'm afraid others might. At least all I get are spam emails.
October 22, 2018
I have gotten 2 calls about the same thing with the same robocaller from the east and west coast. It said I was being investigated by the United States government and since I had not responded in 6 months that the fraud was intentional and they would proceeds with charges. At first I was concerned but then the second call tipped me off. I wasn’t concerned enough to call back. My daughter fell for the puppies scam. Even when I told her it was a scam they still sent money.
November 01, 2018
Last week I got a call from 240- 345-3128 saying this is the I.r.s. Final attempt to call me saying they're going to have me arrested by u.s. Marshals and have in front of a federal magistrate judge and grand jury i don't owe any back taxes to the scammers last year I got a call area from area code 206-629-6080 claiming to be with the u.s. Treasury department claiming got a $10,000.00 government grant in order to get my grant send $250.00 they'll refund my money after reading comments from other people they said they about got taken they didn't send any money a 2.5% fee to claim the grant money
November 27, 2018
There's a scam with PCS Publisers Clearing House. You have won! You have to send $555.00. I don't where l hung up when the man on the phone got abusive
David B Pressey
December 01, 2018
I RECIEVED A CALL FROM 1-866-978-6354 SAYING I WAS SELECTED BY THE GOVERNMENT TO RECIEVE A ONE TIME GRANT IN THE AMOUNT OF $9,200 that I would never have to pay back. The man's name was MICHAEL MILLER. HE SAID I WOULD HAVE TO PAY A $250 fee to fill out a registration form at Western Union. I contacted Western Union and they said they've never heard of any of this.
January 21, 2019
Recieved a call from 2035714634 at 730am stating legal action has been taken against my social security number and to avoid this call them back immediately. I am so tired of this.
January 23, 2019
One comment said don't press redial...why is that...If they already have your number which is usually all over the internet then what harm is there...
January 31, 2019
I’ve had 10call now claiming to be from the government of the United States and I received funds from anywhere 15,000 all the way down to 6000 and something and I have caught them on it each and every time and I’ve said something to them each and every time and I rang up on the year is now 2019 and I am getting older I’m in my 50s now I just think that people have become well anyhow I wish something can get these calls resolved their are problems people have and this could be really bad for them
February 06, 2019
I received a call today, I did not answer. They left the message that they have been trying to get ahold of me for the past 6 months and that 'they' the USGov't as filed an intentional fraud under my name. This is the number it was called from 760-795-8089 Please help me figure this out.
February 08, 2019
I received a FB Messenger message from "my wife's cousin" telling me she saw my name on the "Government List" where I have money waiting me to claim...It was a special grant...bla, bla, bla, just need to call the number 855-_ _ _-_ _ _ _. I will send just $1200 to bla, bla, bla. It was not her cousin. Her cousin Linda's FB account had been "Cloned." Received a call a few minitutes ago that my wife answered saying, "This is the 'Federal Government of the United States" They hung up Oriental voice.
February 16, 2019
502-912-8126 texted me saying my table is ready when I do not even live in that state. I called the number and it said to call the restaurant cause it was a seating number or something
Jack R. South
March 05, 2019
Received a call from person claiming to be Joseph Hall from the Consumer Protection agency d they were trying to contact me re: a group said they were had been attempting to notify me about a sweepstakes prize that needed to be delivered to me and I should call him `at 202-470-4326, extn. 1009 ASAP so he could ask me some questions about the transfer. He had a very heavy foreign accent and sounded like a scam. Is this phone number part of your communication system. fgoreig sabout
She's fed up
March 26, 2019
I keep getting calls every few days from (844) & (833) area codes with different numbers. It comes on my cell phone but I do not answer. I am left a voice recording stating they are trying to reach me because someone has files a because I have not responded a fraud claim has been fil,ed with Federal Government in our name. Do know how people keep getting away with it.
March 26, 2019
Yep getting those robot scam from New York 518-682-6036 and one 833-653-4948 saying 4 claims against me and the police are coming unless I call them and give them money to stop this file..SCAMMER!!!!!!!!!!!
March 27, 2019
Received a robo call vm from 332-874-6826 (NYC#) calling to tell me that my SSN was suspended.
Don't use your…
May 26, 2019
This happens a lot online. I hate to hear about the hundreds of individuals who get scammed. I currently have ID theft. The manager of my complex now two management companies later rented two apartments using my social security number. The fact they can't seem to be stopped is odd.
June 17, 2019
I keep getting calls from (202)746-4715 and (202)766-9203 telling me this is a case from a federal database and to press one to speak with an our officer to resolve this case. It is a computerized voice.
July 20, 2019
Just start chatting with a guy who is currently stationed in NJ on a base, he told me to email the colonel with my name age phone number and request to be added to his military database. After I did so I received an email back from the colonel saying I'm not family it'll cost me $200 to be able to speak with him over the phone. Not sure if this is a scam or real.
August 13, 2019
Got a message "Appearance before the magistrate judge___jury for a federal criminal offense which is against your name your. case ID 308 to to get more information about your case in the federal database...... " The number 202-509-8962
August 17, 2019
I got a phone call today from the number 8332214925 saying that my social security card had been canceled for suspicious behavior . I called back and it said the number wasnt in my area to call.
August 17, 2019
someone called texted me today saying my last name and that I was being contacted by the "federal agency" which was obvs fake not only from the fact they called and texted me but also that they called themselves that. I then told them off and they said tell your papa rose that to which I got confused but remembered how all that info is on public databases, and I told them off again that they are trying to scam a 17yr (which I am actually 17) and they continued to try even though I stated a fact that should have made them think of wait this guy doesn't have any thing for us. and then I blocked them lol. They gotten much better at there strategies now.
September 09, 2019
This been happen on Facebook Scammer Hey good morning I got a good news for you I Don't know if you aware of the Federal Government and the U.S Department Of Treasury are giving out the sum of $150,000.00 in order to help some people in the states and outside the country Am so grateful because am among those who got the check from the Federal Government Agency.I was surprised to see your name on the Federal Government List when they brought the check to my home and i wondered if you have gotten it too..... Then the proceed to try to ask,me,for my address and they try to say they not a scammer
September 24, 2019
I’m sorry i for got to put the phone number that they used but I receive a text call from this number 1-833-888-2816 Know that your social security number is been used for some kind of fraudulent activities in the South border of Texas. So please in order go ahead get more information to speak with officer or press one I repeat press one hi this call is from social security administration office my name is officer Amanda Barns and the purpose of the call we are trying to reach you to let you know that your social security number is been used for some kind of fraudulent activities in the South border of Texas. So please in order go ahead and get more information to speak with officer or press one I repeat press one thank you and have a great day.
October 31, 2019
I got a call from 605-202-6132 they said if i did not pay now that the sheriff would come today and arrest me and take me to jail . I told them could they have him come now because I need to be feed and had not eaten in a week and need a bath and clean close could you please send him as soon as possible. THEY HUNG UP.
November 06, 2019
I received this email today:I'm Mick Mulvaney. The Acting White House Chief Of Staff Office Address: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20500, United States. We received a report from United Nations that you have an abandoned fund worth 5 Million in Philippines. I have instructed United Nations and the concerned authorities to bring the consignment box to our Head office in Washington DC. The fund will arrive my office today. I want you to kindly reconfirm Your Full Name, Current Home Address, Nearest Airport, Government Valid ID and your Direct Cell Phone # So that arrangement can be made for the delivery of the consignment to your home address. I can be reached at +1(202)996-8925 If am not available.
November 07, 2019
I received a call from someone with a thick accent about me winning a 9500 free federal grant. The guy wanted to verify information then gave me a code and a number 202 643 0912. I called the number and spoke to this lady named Rachel she wanted me to go to a Walgreens and purchase and activation card in order for me to receive the funds. Right in then I knew I was a scam so I cut it short and hung up
November 14, 2019
I have received 2 calls from Washington D.C. numbers (202-512-2339 and 202-512-9837) When I asked my husband to call them and see who it is, a man answered "Hello" and then told my husband that no one should be calling anyone from that number since it's a government office. He didn't say which one but when my husband told him that I have gotten phone calls from his number and another, the man asked my husband who I am in to which my husband said it doesnt matter, he just wants to know who is calling his wife (me). None of them leave voicemails and I started getting concerned that it has been 2 days in a row. I am going to assume it's a scam and that a government number was spoofed.
Mr T
January 31, 2020
Just got a call saying my social security number had been compromised and they wanted to connect me to an operator before a fine was issued against me. Bogus!
866-978-4747 i…
March 11, 2021
A scammer wanted money to 'insure' delivery of prize money, by calling another scammer at 866-978-4747. The insurance agent imposter asks the 'winner' for $4000 to insure the delivery prize . 866-978-4747 is a scammer's phone number. Do not fall for this scam, there is no prize.
April 01, 2021
Got a call from 1 907 378 4391, a robot voice claimed they were from the U.S. Marshall office and that my identity was involved in criminal activity and to press one to connect to my court officer or there would be serious repercussions if I did not reply
April 06, 2021
Here we go again. Just got a phone all from a Ms. Schultz stating she was with the goverment ( I did NOT pick up the call, I never do with the UNKNOWN NUMBERS or 800. ) Said to call her ASAP and she was serious about it because if I did not pick up I might be ARRESTED!! she NEVER gave the number to be called. I'm sick of these calls! I appear to get a new one every month or so.
June 09, 2021
I just received a call with this number 202-743-3356 saying irs is giving me back money
July 07, 2021
I got a call from someone saying he’s a FBI agent he told me I got a arrest warrant on me. He said if I don’t pay him he’ll arrest me, I blocked him yesterday but the next day he called me from another number and he threaten me. I blocked him again I’m affaired he’ll call me again with a different number tomorrow what should I do
Sick of Scam
August 23, 2021
Just received a call from unknown number leaving a voicemail stating john a process server would be at my place of employment Friday 08/27/21 And I can reschedule by contacting 323-332-9266. Is this a typical scam?
Also Sick of Scams
August 30, 2021

In reply to by Sick of Scam

I just got a shady call referring me to the same number: 323-332-9266. The call came from a restricted number, and the man on the phone said I was being sued for failure to appear, and I had one hour to call the law firm. Oddly enough, a google search for the number and "law firm" returned no results other than your comment and a few others on similar scam reporting sites.