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Imposter scams come in many varieties, but work the same way: a scammer pretends to be someone you trust to convince you to send them money. Learn how to spot an imposter scam.

The FTC will never demand money, make threats, tell you to transfer money, or promise you a prize. Anyone who does is a scammer. Report impersonators at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. 

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Recognize Government Impersonators
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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.

 

Scammers want to gain your trust. That’s why they keep pretending to work for government agencies, including the Federal Trade Commission. They might use the names of real FTC employees, but the stories they tell are a bunch of lies.

Scammers pretend to be calling you from government agencies like the Social Security Administration and the IRS. Or say they work for Medicare. They say that if you don’t pay or you refuse to give them your personal information, something bad will happen. Or maybe you’ll miss out on some government benefit. But it’s a scam. Learn the signs and avoid the scam.

Offers of free money from government grants are scams. Someone might offer you a grant to pay for education, home repairs, home business expenses, or unpaid bills. But they’re all scams. Here’s how to avoid a government grant scam, and how to report it.

Business and Other Impersonators

Tech support scammers want you to pay them to fix a non-existent computer problem. Learn how to avoid and report tech support scams.

Scammers are at it again, impersonating well-known businesses and trying to rip people off. This time they’re pretending to be from Geek Squad, Best Buy’s tech support service. Here’s what we’re hearing about the scam and what to do if you see it.

Scammers are calling people and using the names of two companies everyone knows, Apple and Amazon, to rip people off. Here’s what you need to know about these calls.

Someone calls or contacts you saying they’re a family member or close friend. They say they need money to get out of trouble. But check that there’s an emergency first because it could be a scammer calling.

Scammers strike up a relationship with you to build up trust, sometimes talking or chatting several times a day. Then, they make up a story and ask for money. Learn how to avoid romance scams.

A call from your gas, electric, or water company threatening to immediately turn off your service is probably a scam. Here’s what you need to know.

Did you get a message from a “brand ambassador manager” for a national company wanting to pay you to promote their products online? It could be a scam…but how will you know?

We’re hearing about a new scam targeting food delivery drivers and restaurants.

If you’re looking for a job as a babysitter, nanny, or other kind of caregiver, you might have searched online or used a website that matches you up with potential employers. Scammers also use these sites. Learn how to spot these fake jobs and avoid them.

Watch

The first-person story of how one family responded to a family emergency scam: by putting it on the radio.

The first-person story about a retired business consultant’s tech support scam experience, what he did about it.

Caregiver websites can help you find jobs, but scammers also use them to find people to rip off.

Did you spot an impersonator scam? 

Report it at ReportFraud.ftc.gov

Looking for information for older adults? 

Check out ftc.gov/PassItOn