The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently released a statement to remind people to be alert to criminal scams that involve those posing as government agencies.
People who have been isolated due to the pandemic can be particularly susceptible to these scams. If you know someone who may be vulnerable, the Commission asks you to reach out to them, caution them about the risk, and educate them on how to recognize a scammer.
A government agency like the IRS or Social Security Administration (SSA) does not call, text, or email individuals to collect owed funds. Also, no legitimate agency will accept gift cards, money transfers, or cryptocurrency as payment.
It is important to remember that you cannot trust the number you see on your caller ID because criminals can manipulate that number. If you are concerned that you may owe money, look up, in an independent source, the number of the agency the caller is claiming to be associated with, and call them on your own to verify. Do not share personal information with any individual or group that contacts you.
If you come across a scam, you can report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Emily Wu "No, the government won't call/text/email you for money" www.consumer.ftc.gov (Mar. 03, 2021).