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You’ve gotten the calls: from Social Security. Or the IRS. Or Medicare. Or any number of other agencies. Except: as soon as the caller threatens you or demands that you pay them with a gift card or by wiring money, you know. It’s a scam. Even if caller ID tells you otherwise – that’s not the government calling.

The FTC’s latest Data Spotlight shows the surge in reports about government imposters. You know about the Social Security Administration (SSA) imposters who claim that your Social Security number has been linked to “criminal activity” and ask you to provide some information or money. (That’s a lie. The real SSA doesn’t work that way.) But those scammers are not alone: people are still telling the FTC that they’re getting calls from – and losing money to – scammers pretending to be the IRS, Medicare, a government grants group, or cops and the FBI.

Want to know more? Now there’s – dare we say – an awesome way for you to find out. And even create your own handout. You see the graphic here, but if you go to the dynamic, interactive version of the graphic, you can create a version that focuses on the time period or scam you’re most interested in.

Exploring the data can tell you, for example, that this year’s median losses to law enforcement imposters are the highest of all imposter scams (a whopping $3,000), and that 20% of the people who reported those scams told us they lost money. Those calls work because they’re scary. But now you can stay on top of the latest as data is updated every quarter. Or go back 5 years and see how things have changed.

And, of course, there are tips on how to spot government imposters scams. So if you want to share the handout you created with a few clicks, you’ll be able to tell people about not just the scope of the problem, but help them know what to do when they get the next call from the – ahem – government.

 

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228 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.

nutcracker
September 06, 2019
I got a call from 615-378-0439 saying fraudulent activity related to your social security number, i must call them immediately. It looks like a scam call. Not sure how and where to report.
Ricky L. Catrett
September 07, 2019
Received phone call from617-322-0854 claiming to be Social Security that my SSA number has been connected with crime and fraudulent use yesterday afternoon with instructions to call back to this number.
DDM
September 09, 2019
I have been receiving 40+ calls PER DAY on my cell from a scammer in India who I accused of being a scammer. (Because I know that he IS) Now, he robo calls my cell 40+ times per day and leaves nasty threatening voice mail messages as well. Be careful folks. There are a lot of slimy people out there!
KdotM
September 09, 2019
i received a call from 703-349-7916 and they stated i sent money to a fraudulent company unknowingly. They had my information, not sure how they got it. But they knew what i sent and to who. They claimed it was fraud but its not. i purchased items and received the exact items i ordered. i was a victim of the Equifax breach and since then, i get these type things every couple of months. DO NOT SHARE ANY INFO OR ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS.
JumpingJack
September 25, 2019
One of the newest SS scams came today in a phone call with a woman's pre-recorded voice, claiming to be Officer Maria Gomez of the Social Security Admin., saying that my SS number "has been suspended due to some reasons" and to call them back. Right there, you know it's a scam especially since the caller was identified on my house phone as Cartref Science with the following number: 781-219-0658 (Boston MA area). I found this out by doing a reverse phone look-up online. Of course, I didn't call back as it's obvious these people are "phishing" for your SS# and possibly other personal info.
EN
September 30, 2019
I just now received a call from a private ID to my cell phone it was a woman sounding like she was in a call room and had an Asian type accent, she asked if this was me she was calling, she said my name incorrectly. I asked her who this was, she said she was from the federal governmen, in fact she did not say which federal government!! I took control of the conversation and said - look, if you're going to be calling me on a private number I don't believe that you're from the government and also if you need to contact me you would be doing it through the mail, so at this point you need to not call me any longer because I don't believe you are who you say you are and that you are trying to create an identity theft issue - have a good day take care goodbye, and I hung up. I feel if you are strong and take control the conversation it will take them off guard I do believe I offer too much information but I was irritated.
Don't use your…
October 11, 2019
I got phone call said this federial trade commission you have won $1.5 million . i was tolds this not SCAM. was told to go to CVS buy Amazon card. is this scam
FTC Staff
October 18, 2019

In reply to by Don't use your…

That is a scam. The FTC does not call people about winning money. Anyone who says you won money should send you the money. They should not tell you to pay money. If someone calls and says you won a prize, don't send them money or buy a gift card. That's a scam.

ssnoconnor
October 18, 2019
I received a call from 833-438-2856 came up United States Saying there was a charge against my social security number that needs to be cleared up right away (left a message) I called back right away thought someone stolen my identity & I was going to be charge for it. There was people in back ground on phone, number came up United States. Before they went into detail they needed my last 4 digits of ssn & area code which I gave. Then they began with this story about finding my dna in a car with drugs found in another country I was being charge. Then I freaked out then thought about it asked why are you contacting me & not the FBI or police then hung up the phone. Now they have my info I have taken percussion. I hope enough. Hope this helps!
MamaBear
October 21, 2019
3x I have received calls from this #206-401-5367. Stating they are raising money for national fund for police /firefighter. First they were going to send paperwork for me to fill out after my refusal to give debit /credit card #. Then a call that they haven't received my payment so could I just pay with card because fund raising was ending and they wanted to make sure my donation was received before that. Twice this call. Last one, today, was same thing. When I said, again, that not willing to give info out she said 'fine! They'll send paper work out!'. Then promptly hung up. They sounded professional at first and a less suspicious person very easily could have fallen for it. That would have been me a few years back! Makes me so angry I want to shout from the roof tops!! Well, maybe just have meetings that would inform people, especially the elderly.
Zilla
October 28, 2019
Beware...those who have been recently arrested. Arrest records are public. Callers claiming to be FBI, ATF, CIA, ETC., investigating "related" issues with your recent arrest are especially terrifying and convincing. The scammers had my son's phone number, social security number, and arrest date for a "drunk in public" charge. Allegedly, finding "drugs" in his vehicle while it was impounded. While it might seem difficult for some to understand HOW people fall for these scams, imagine being new to the criminal justice system and getting calls....AND THE PHONE NUMBER IS THE CORRECT PHONE NUMBER WHEN YOU SO A QUICK GOOGLE SEARCH, IT SHOWS AS THE FBI's PHONE NUMBER!
Hess
October 30, 2019
One thing I highly advise people to ask if they happen to answer the phone always ask who they are trying to contact. Most times they hang up, if they don't they ask who are they speaking with, in which case I either hang up or say you called me so you tell me. Then they usually hang up after that.
SonomaRik
November 04, 2019
I have been using an app that I pay annual fee for and it blocks numbers reported as scams. About 98% good. Some scams spoof MY first 5 digits which is rich since my number was specially purchased about 25 years ago when we had real phone companies: ma bell. One can enter prefix or area code blocks. Thing is the block app shows TONS of attempts. How those scam clowns continue is just mind boggling.
peggy
November 04, 2019
2 calls same day hour apart 2 different # 1 800 965 3676 and #1 800 651 5789. SS card was on hold .Oh wait I just got another one same day these are all one hour apart # 1 800 590 8838
Suzanne from W…
November 13, 2019
I just received a call from James Anderson from the "Federal Trade Administration" who stated that I have won a prize from the "American MegeMillion Shopper's Network. " The prize is $500,000 and a 2020 Mercedes Benz. I was given a security code to use when contacted again. So far he has not requested any funds from me, I assume that this is an unfolding scam.
Jenn
November 21, 2019
My husband got a call today from someone who said they were from the US Attorney office. Saying he has a pay day loan from 2013. Which I know is not true but he is worried. They said he had to pay it back or go to jail. He is very concerned. How do I check on this? Please help!!
hixtonite
November 21, 2019
received two supposedly social security calls today stating that my social security number has been jeopardized by being used along the northern Texas border and asking me to press 1 to talk to an officer to solve the problem . The phone number on the call was from a number from my own small hometown of only 500 people. How can we stop attempted scams on our phones? Each call was a different phone number from my own small town.
Dljackson
December 08, 2019
I I feel like a big dummy they got me the first time cause me about a thousand they got me the second time cost me about five hundred that time they hacked one of my best friend's Facebook account and was acting like him talkin to me nobody gives a hoot that his identity was taking fourth one I've got another one ever hear from Kelloggs about putting a Pringles on the side of my cup truck I'm not cash that one yet I've got one right here in my hand for I think 2350 from the bank in California and the name on it what should I do about this how can we stop these people some people will fall for this like I did the first in the second time they totally hack somebody's account and became that person they lie there not a federal agent there's got to be some kind of law against that somebody help me before I get Brave and ask him to try to catch her eyes by myself somebody's got to stop and help me
Ann Thornton
December 09, 2019
I got a call from this number claiming to b the ss office but I new better thought I would put the number they called from so nobody want fall for it 3693241538
tiredofcalls
January 13, 2020
Social Security calls. This # 410.862.2585 , Maryland "Hello, this call is an official final notice from Social Security Administration. The reason of this call is to inform you our department has decided to suspend your social security number and its benefits and file a lawsuit against you as we have received complaints and suspicious activity on your social number to get more information"" 1/13/2020
andersonm2
February 20, 2020
I received a call today from (872) 325-3608. The collar sounded like it was computerized wording very shaky. Said it was a police officer Maria it had something to do with my Social Security number and depressing number immediately. I press a button immediately but it was the end call button.
rlg
February 28, 2020
Add 202-433-9464 to the list.
Vincent jone
March 09, 2020
Someone called me out the country and said that I had a government fund for $14,595. And asked me to go to the store Ask me to go and get a eBay card. And put $300 on it. Also, I have their number. They called me on.253)444-0904 another number253 )444-0906
Shik
December 29, 2020
I get 2 /3 call a day from SSA claiming that they suspended my ssc # and should press 1 to talk to them
Shik
December 29, 2020
I get calls they pretend they are from Medicare and my Doctor ask them to call me and arrange a treatment for me so Because I know they are scam I asked them what is the name of my doctor they immediately hang up
Warren Buff
February 02, 2021
Hi i got a call from +19149713760 computer voice say its federal reserve and i'm suspected of a fraud and there has been an arrest warrent in my name press 1 to speak with an agent. I pressed one number hangs up. I call back and then there is a operator who say please wait for an operator. Waiting music is a russia techno song from the 90s with russian voices... After 10 min i hang up and call again and there is a pre recorded message of a conversation asking me if i have fever, how are you, i taking coffe now... This was so strange!
Jd
February 18, 2021
Im being told by a gentle who says he works for interpol to pay $5000.oo or they will ruin my life with a video
She who hates …
August 05, 2021
Got a call from 1(805)7953934 saying that if I do not answer they will “be forced to take legal action”. This happened the day after I told an anonymous caller that is they keep calling I will report them for harassment. (They have no caller ID and I cannot block their number) This is reprisal.