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Have you heard about imposter scams?

FTC sealHere’s how they work:

You get a call or an email. It might say you’ve won a prize. It might seem to come from a government official. Maybe it seems to be from someone you know – your grandchild, a relative or a friend. Or maybe it’s from someone you feel like you know, but you haven’t met in person – say, a person you met online to whom you’ve been writing.

Whatever the story, the request is the same: wire money to pay taxes or fees, or to help someone you care about.

But is the person who you think it is? Is there an emergency or a prize? Judging by the complaints to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the answer is no. The person calling you is pretending to be someone else.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Stop. Check it out – before you wire money to anyone. Call the person, the government agency, or someone else you trust. Get the real story. Then decide what to do. No government agency will ever ask you to wire money.
  2. Pass this information on to a friend. You may not have gotten one of these calls or emails, but the chances are you know someone who has.

Another type of imposter scam specifically targets elders who receive home care services. For example, someone unknown to you knocks on your door, claiming to be sent from an agency to do housework, and you welcome this person inside. After some light cleaning, this person abruptly leaves. Soon enough, you find that some of your valuables or personal information materials have been taken. This stranger has turned out not to be who they claimed to be and has stolen from you.

If this happens to you, reach out and make a report to:
  • the police
  • the vendor agency that is supposed to provide the services
  • your case manager at LifePath or another agency

To help prevent this scam from happening to you, always ask to see the identification badges of anyone coming to your home claiming to be from a home care agency.

Please report scams! If you spot a scam, please report it to the FTC.

  • Call the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or TTY 1-866-653-4261
  • Go online: ftc.gov/complaint

Your complaint can help protect other people. By filing a complaint, you can help the FTC’s investigators identify the imposters and stop them before they can get someone’s hard-earned money. It really makes a difference.

Want to know more? Sign up for scam alerts at ftc.gov/subscribe.

Information in this article was adapted from consumer.ftc.gov.