Impostor scams have long been among the most lucrative for scammers. While there are many variations of this scam, the most common variations have involved scammers calling their intended victims on the telephone posing as some governmental agency such as the IRS or the Social Security Administration. The scammer then, under a wide variety of pretenses, demands an immediate payment by gift cards, credit card or wired funds. Being asked to pay by gift cards is a definite indication that the call is a scam since no governmental agency requests or accepts payments by gift cards. Alternatively, the scammer demands the victim supply the phony governmental agent with personal information such as your Social Security number which will then be used for identity theft purposes.
Recently, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warned people to be wary of phone calls that appear to come from either Federal Trade Commissioner (FTC) Noah Phillips, Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, Commissioner Christine Wilson or FTC Chair Lina Khan . In the call, the scammer provides a phony badge number and tells you that there is a warrant for your arrest, but to avoid being arrested you can pay a fine using a gift card, cryptocurrency or wiring money.
As I have often reminded you, through the simple technique of “spoofing” it is very easy for a scammer to manipulate your Caller ID to make a call coming to you appear legitimate when it is not. Therefore you can never truly trust your Caller ID. Trust me, you can’t trust anyone.
It is important to remember that the FTC will never contact you by phone, email, text message or letter asking you to pay for anything or threaten you with arrest. Also anytime you are asked by anyone posing as a government employee for a payment by a gift card, you can be sure it is a scam because no government agency asks for or accepts payments by gift cards.
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