When someone calls you from the U.S. government, you might tend to think the caller is legitimate. Unfortunately, it’s quite possible that it’s a scam. According to an AARP article “Government Imposter Scams on the Rise,” people call impersonating such government officials or organizations as an IRS agent, Medicare official, Social Security Administration officer, and FBI agent.
Here are a few of the types of government imposter scams being conducted:
Someone from Medicare calls saying that in an effort to protect you from COVID-19, they are sending out new plastic cards. In order to get yours, they need your Medicare number.
A “friend” reaches out to you on social media saying they are the recipient of a federal grant, but they need you to send money in order to get the grant. Remember, your friends’ social media accounts can be hacked, so even a message that looks like it came from that friend can be a scam.
A federal agent calls saying your Social Security number was used to rent a car that was part of a violent crime. Because of this, your Social Security and bank accounts have been suspended. To restore your access to them, you must transfer Bitcoin to a secure account that’s been open for you.
Here are tips from the article to make sure you’re not taken in by government imposter scams:
- Government agencies have information like your Medicare and Social Security numbers, so they won’t call you spontaneously asking for that information.
- The federal government typically uses the U.S. Postal Service to communicate important messages. They won’t contact you about a serious matter via social media, text, or email.
- No government agency will ask you to send them money before sending you some kind of grant, benefit, or refund.
- The government doesn’t reach out offering federal grants to people. You must ask for a grant by submitting an application, and each grant has a very specific purpose.
- Your Social Security or Medicare benefits won’t be suspended because someone is falsely using your identification.
- Government or federal law enforcement agents won’t intimidate you in order to get personal information like your bank account number.
- Government agencies don’t accept wire transfers, cryptocurrency, or prepaid gift cards as payments.