Old scam, new twist says the FTC

The Federal Trade Commission warns that scammers have made their imposter scams more sophisticated - ConsumerAffairs

A scam fighter shows you how the game is played

Two steps forward, one step back, says the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The agency is getting an abundance of calls from consumers who are complaining about a new twist on the impersonation scam.

After the “I’m from the government” angle wore out its welcome, scammers are now taking a new, layered approach. The first thing out of their mouths is that they’re with a certain company and they’re contacting you about a routine problem, like suspicious charges on your Amazon account, a virus on your computer, or an account breach.

But, that’s just their intro. Then, their story quickly escalates: They say your name has been connected to serious crimes and they say the court is about to seize the money in your bank account or retirement savings. Both are big fat lies.

“Next, they switch from being the bearer of bad news to acting like the hero. How? By supposedly connecting you to someone with the government to 'help' you fix the problem,” Alvaro Puig, a Consumer Education Specialist with the FTC, says.

“But the person they transfer you to doesn’t work for the government. And they don’t help. They want to trick you into taking cash out of your bank or retirement account and giving it to someone.”

Memorize these three key points and save yourself some agony

After watching this new wrinkle play out for a couple of months, the FTC is encouraging consumers to make sure they understand the three key elements of this new version of the impersonation scam:

  • Scammers try to convince you they’re with the government to gain your trust by faking the caller ID to make it look like a government agency is calling.

  • Scammers give you an employee ID or badge number or use the name of a real government employee.

  • Scammers send official-looking letters with seals and make up government agency names that sound real but aren’t.

And it can’t be said enough that if it’s really someone who works for the government, they won’t tell you to get cash or gold and give it to someone – nor will they tell you to pay with a gift card, a wire transfer, payment app, or even cryptocurrency.

“They won’t tell you to keep your conversation a secret or to lie to anyone,” Puig reminds consumers. “They won’t tell you to transfer money from your accounts to “protect” it or for any reason. Only scammers do those things.”

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