Impersonation Scams Over-The-Phone

Zachary Crocket over at The Hustle wrote a very good article about phoney-pressure scams where:

  • A person is called out of the blue by a scammer
  • Scammer asserts authority and immediately pressures the victim about some emergency
  • Claims “bad stuff” will happen unless person stays on the phone
  • Scammer pressures person into buying gift cards or transferring money to the scammers’ intermediaries
  • Person loses 😦

Read the article, it’s really good: https://thehustle.co/phone-scam-gift-cards/

In the wake of this ordeal, my dad and I have spent hours on the phone with the FTC, the police, and Target’s fraud team. In the process, we gleaned a few tips for avoiding government imposter scams:

  1. Government agencies will never call you out of the blue to tell you you’re in trouble. They’ll send a letter in the mail.
  2. Caller ID should not be trusted — even when a phone number appears to be official or recognizable.
  3. You should always check with the real agency by calling the number(s) listed on their official websites.
  4. Never pay someone claiming to be a government official with a gift card or wire transfer.

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