How to Spot a Government Imposter Scam

Scammers are pretending to be government employees. They may threaten you and may demand immediate payment to avoid arrest or other legal action. These criminals continue to evolve and find new ways to steal your money and personal information. Do not fall for it! We want you to know how you and your loved ones can avoid becoming victims!

 Be Alert

If you owe money to Social Security, you’ll receive a letter by mail with payment options and appeal rights. They only accept payments electronically through, Online Bill Pay, or by check or money order through its offices. The SSA will never:

  • Threaten you with arrest or legal action because you don’t agree to pay money immediately.
  • Suspend your Social Security number.
  • Promise a benefit increase in exchange for money.
  • Ask you to send gift cards, prepaid debit cards, wire transfers, Internet currency, cryptocurrency, or cash through the U.S. mail.

Know What to Look for

  • The caller or sender says there is a problem with your Social Security number or account.
  • Any call, text, or email asking you to pay a fine or debt with retail gift cards, wire transfers, pre-paid debit cards, internet currency, or by mailing cash.
  • Scammers pretend they are from Social Security or another government agency. Caller ID, texts, or documents sent by email may look official, but they are not.
  • Callers threaten you with arrest or other legal action.
  • Internet scammers may use “phishing” schemes to trick a recipient into revealing personal information by clicking on malicious links or attachments.

For more information, click here.

Teaching Suggestions:

  • Ask students if they or their families have received calls from imposters?  If so, what was their response and how did they handle the situation?
  • Ask students to make a list of schemes scammers use to trick people into revealing personal information?

Discussion Questions:

  1. What should you do if you receive a suspicious call, text, or an email from an imposter?
  2. What can local, state, or federal governments do to minimize these scams and protect people?
Categories: Chapter_14, Frauds and Scams | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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