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Spot and avoid impersonator scams

During Hispanic Heritage Month, let’s take a moment to look at impersonator scams, which are the issue reported most to the FTC by people living in majority Latino communities. These scams happen when someone pretends to be someone they’re not — say, from a government agency or a well-known business — and tries to get you to pay or give them sensitive information. And if you don’t, they say something bad will happen. But it’s a scam.

To avoid impersonator scams:

  • Don’t wire money, send cash, or use gift cards or cryptocurrency to pay someone who says they’re with the government. Know that the government will never contact you out of the blue, demanding money or information. Hang up. It’s a scam.
  • Never pay anyone who demands payment by wire transfer, gift card, or cryptocurrency. Only scammers ask you to pay these ways because it’s hard to track that money, and almost impossible to get it back. Hang up if it’s a call. If it’s an email, text, or message on social media, don’t click any links.
  • Don’t trust your caller ID. It might show the government agency’s real phone number or even say “Social Security Administration,” for example. But caller ID can be faked. 

If you come across something you think is a scam, tell the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov or, in Spanish, at ReporteFraude.ftc.gov. And watch Why Report Fraud to learn how your report can help stop scammers.

13 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.
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  • 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.

Henry Logue
September 22, 2022

Thanks for this valuable information. Seniors like me are especially tricked. Just keep up your due diligence and don't get scammed. Old folks money is hard to keep with the current state of the economy.

Ana Church
September 22, 2022

Thank you for keeping the public informed about these scammers. And thank you for taking the necessary measures to help protect us. What’s happening currently is: they’ve been pretending to help people with the camp lejeune lawsuit, pretending to local handyman people to fix your gutters, and even pretending it’s a family member sending you a link to “something thrifty or a grant”. I’ve been reporting all of them every day. It’s unbelievable what they use to scam us. But together we shall continue fighting these losers. Thank you!

Paula G Sanchez
September 22, 2022

Please -- I have missed the new scam info about savings bonds, Please inform us .

Ada Marie Jensen
September 22, 2022

I recently had an email from UPS telling me my order was "on hold" due to the wrong address. All I needed to do was submit my "correct" address. I knew I did not have an order to be delivered by UPS and the link to add my address looked questionable. No, I did not respond.

Sandy Soules
September 22, 2022

Very useful information, but what about text messages that are scams??
We need to know how to delete without opening the text.

Jeff
September 22, 2022

I received a text which read -Stop texting my son he's ten. My immediate response was to rely, I am not the party you seek, then cam e to my senses. All of the other recipients area codes were the same except mine. I deleted the text. The next day I received another text stating, I am not the party you are looking for, same area code anomaly. I deleted that text as well.

If these twisted individuals spent more time helping as they attempt to hurt, the world would be saved. Well, slightly less evil.

Bojan
September 22, 2022

It's useless to report anything to you because you are not doing anything about it as for me you are all the same as they are. I tried and well do your job than and let me know what happened

Debbie Henry
September 26, 2022

I wish someone would do something about the hundreds of Ellen DeGeneres impersonators promising cash & prizes on Facebook. I report them constantly & they are rarely removed.

Visaghan Bhaskaran
September 26, 2022

Thank you for FTC sharing the verry useful information

Carol R Nicole…
September 26, 2022

Appreciate your updates. Thank you for keeping us informed and cautious!

Christine Guthrie
September 26, 2022

I continue to get emails telling that my Geek Squad subscription is going to expire if I don't immediately make a payment. It's not just Geek Squad, there are several others, PayPal, which does not come from Paypal. I've reported several of these to your agency but they just keep coming. I delete all of these but it's really saying.

Consumer 101
September 26, 2022

This scam situation is quite obvious in that the (scam individuals) are limited in numbers. Please focus your efforts and resources ON PROSECUTING these few before their numbers continue to grow.
Respectfully consumer 101