Impostor scams in which the scammer contacts his or her targeted victim posing as a governmental agency, such as the IRS demanding payment to resolve a bogus claim are very common, however, a new version of the impostor scam raises this scam to a new, frightening level.  The new impostor scam begins with the targeted victim receiving a letter purporting to be from Monica Vaca of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in which the targeted scam victim is told that the FTC is investigating him or her because of what the letter alleges are suspicious online and financial activities related to terrorism and money laundering.  Obviously, anyone receiving such a letter would be concerned, but things get worse because soon thereafter the targeted scam victim receives a telephone call that appears to come from the FTC in which the FTC demands payment in order to resolve the charges.  Too often, the targeted victims of the scam succumb to the scam and send the demanded payment to the scammer.

TIPS

There are a lot of indications that this is a scam.   While the letter that starts this scam may look legitimate, it is a simple matter to produce a phony letter with the logo of the FTC or any other governmental agency.  However, it is important to note that the FTC doesn’t even deal with terrorism and money laundering so they would never send a letter such as the one that begins this scam.  In many versions of this scam, payment is demanded by wiring funds, Bitcoin or gift cards.  No government agency ever demands payment in this manner.

It should also be noted that the phone call from the scammer will often appear to come from the FTC on your Caller ID because it is a simple matter for the scammer to manipulate your Caller ID through spoofing and make the call appear as if it is really coming from the FTC.  This is why you can never be sure when you receive a phone call as to who is really contacting you.

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