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Impersonators

Many impersonation schemes start with a call about a routine problem, like suspicious activity in your Amazon account. But in a new twist, the story quickly takes a more serious turn when you’re told someone is using your information to commit crimes and all your money is at risk.

The caller convinces you that the court will seize the money in your bank account or retirement savings. The person you’re talking to — who claims to be a helpful agent from the FTC, or another agency or organization — is really a scammer. The only way to protect your money or clear your good name, the scammer says, is to quickly transfer it to a more secure account. Or, they tell you to cash out your savings to put in a box or buy cryptocurrency or gold bars. The truth is, instead of protecting your money, you’re about to lose all your savings. The scammer controls the new bank or cryptocurrency accounts or sends someone to pick up the gold bars or boxes of cash “for safekeeping.”

How can you tell it’s a scam? If the caller says you need to buy gift cards, go to a cryptocurrency ATM, or go to the bank in person while they stay on the phone with you, that’s a scammer. And if the caller tells you to lie to anyone who asks why you’re transferring or withdrawing so much money, that’s also a clear sign of a scam.

Here’s what else to know and do about this scam:

  • The FTC will never tell you to move your money to “protect” it. Anyone who does is a scammer impersonating the FTC.
  • Ignore all unexpected requests for money. Never transfer or send money, cryptocurrency, or gold to someone you don’t know in response to an unexpected call or message.
  • Verify the story. If you think there’s a real problem with one of your accounts, use a phone number, website, or app you know is real to contact the company. Don’t use contact information in the message you got.

Learn about other impersonator scams and how to avoid them.

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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 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.

B. Johnson
January 22, 2024

Very helpful information!!!

Daniel Lyon
January 22, 2024

I have multiple victims of this scam,,ugh!!

(Sonny)Charles…
January 22, 2024

It happened to me!

Sally
January 22, 2024

Someone asked me for my bank acct numbers so they could put money in it that I had "loaned" them.
It showed that the money was there. Then a couple days later it wasn't & MY money wasn't either. I'm still paying it off. One bank was very helpful The other said so sad so sorry.
That card is being canceled when it's paid off. I am so stupid.

Dooley Gardner
January 22, 2024

Yes this has happened to me.

Francine Rapozo
January 22, 2024

I reported this to you about Amazon and you never got back.

Nancy Chambers
January 22, 2024

What do you do when you've fallen for this scam?

No
January 22, 2024

Good to know!

Angela R Maldonado
January 22, 2024

I moved how much money

Darlene M Harrison
January 22, 2024

Someone has been using my email to get money out of people.

Anna
January 22, 2024

So thankful for this website eith information.
Thank you dot gov :-)

Consumer 101
January 22, 2024

Than You for your always timely update about scammer practices.

Noel Valdez
January 22, 2024

Thank you for your suggestions and opinions.

Joel Morrison
January 22, 2024

my computer was locked up on Microsoft edge. I called and they said some one hacked my IP
address and was watching child porn. Said I had to write a check and put all my money in a
special account to protect it. Told him I wasn't going to move my money anywhere and hung up the phone. Changed the password on my bank account to br safe Said the ftc would investigate me and make me pay for it.
Thanks for the warning. Maybe this will help someone else.

Kitagawa izuki
January 22, 2024

I'm Japanese
I got ripped off by American
on internet.
Please help me

Kathy Doyle
January 22, 2024

A long story short: My internet suddenly popped up 'suspicious threat' from 'Windows Defender' call this # 800, etc. Scared that someone was going to snatch up personal info and bank cards, etc. I called the number. I spoke to someone called 'David Turner' who had a thick accent, who ultimately began using MY mouse to take over my board...he sent me a 'code' number to my phone (I never gave him that) and told me 'someone's trying to get into your bank acct so send me that code now and I can stop it'. "I'm not sending you any code to access MY bank acct" and turned off my computer. I let the police and my bank know plus I took my computer to Staples where they found the viruses. This was a huge learning experience for this 72 yo! Never again! 'Windows' will never send this type of message, know that this was a scam.

Keith Anthony gaston
January 22, 2024

Dear Sir:
I do not have an account with Amazon. This problem has been on-going. please report this to the athorities,
K. Gaston

Keith Anthony Gaston
January 22, 2024

No one has told me to transfer ay money to any account.

K. Gaston

Wiley Williams
January 22, 2024

Keep on giving great information to the public.

Brenda Wilder
January 22, 2024

Thank you . This information is very helpful to so many.

Concerned
January 24, 2024

Wow, people these days will believe anything anyone tells them. With the rise of AI, deep fakes and impersonation not to mention fraud, fakes and counterfeiting, we need to be even MORE cautious with our money and our information, not less. Gold bars, really?!?! 😂

Anonymous
January 23, 2024

This same thing happened with me. Is there any way to get my money back from a BIT coin machine cash deposit?

Katie
February 01, 2024

Someone claiming to be an Ice agent with DHS called from a number on the ice.gov secure website. They instead that I had been implicated in money laundering and drug running. They insisted that the Colombian and Mexican government would seize my account and if I hung up I would be arrested. The insisted I transfer funds to crypto. And stayed on the line for 8 hours with me. They had/have so much personal information.

jolene m rosoce
February 09, 2024

Computer went down, said it was a problem with microsoft, called microsoft, they fixed the problem spoke with Johnathon chen ID scc24361, he directed me to the FTC spoke with David Wilson ID ms830465, h said my account was compromised and a lock was going to be put on my bank account, he instructed me to go to walmart and get a card for $400.00 which I did, I gave him the numbers on the card, he asked me to send him a picture of the card, when I tried to do this the call was lost, THe number he called from was not listed on my recent calls

FTC Staff
February 09, 2024

In reply to by jolene m rosoce

Please report what happened at www.ReportFraud.ftc.gov, so the information goes into the FTC's law enforcement database. Law enforcement agencies across the country use the database for investigations and to bring cases, and your information will help. Thank you.

Trevor
February 09, 2024

This just happened to me. $8,000… basically everything I have to my name. I’ve tried the banks, police and no one seems to care. If anyone could point me in the right direction for someone to talk to. It would be greatly appreciated. Luck to all.

Robert Heyward
February 21, 2024

On 2/21/24 Ari 10:19am I received a robo phone call from an agency called Concora services credit (1-800-303-2511)I have credit card debt with my account and it is currently two months past due. They asked if I would like to make payments over the phone to bring my account up to date or current and of course I refused because I’ve heard of and don’t have any accounts with their agency. Then was told that if it continues to be delinquent they’ll report it to credit agencies which would hurt my credit score.