Imposter scams have become more prevalent; scammers call and pose as a family member, a neighbor, or a government entity in order for people to send them “emergency funds.”
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), “It could be hard to recognize an imposter through the lies they tell. They use a variety of tricks to get your attention, whether it’s distracting you with a story or about the money you won or fear that you’ll be sued or arrested.”
Scammers will usually ask for the funds in the form of Google Play cards, Visa gift cards, or even Western Union wire transfers.
According to the FTC, here are a few ways to avoid being a victim:
- Be very suspicious – You should be very suspicious of anyone demanding these type of payments by phone.
- Don’t wire money or send prepaid cards
- Don’t pay for a prize – if you enter legitimate sweepstakes, you don’t have to pay for insurance, taxes, or shipping charges to collect your prize
- Don’t give the caller your financial or other personal information – Never give out or confirm financial or other sensitive information over the phone
- Don’t trust a name of number – Scammers use official-sounding names to make you trust them.
The FTC reminds citizens that no legitimate government official will ask you to send money to claim a prize or pay a debt.
If you receive a call from someone claiming to be your family member asking for a wire transfer, you should independently contact the relative the scam artist is claiming to be at a known phone number to verify the details of the story.
If you have been a victim of these scams, contact your local police department.