June 24, 2020 – The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issues a warning that scammers are pretending to be from the government.  They can set their phones to appear on caller ID that the call is coming from the government. NEVER give out any personal information without confirming who is calling and why.

The Scammers pretend to be from the IRS, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security.

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Look, scammers like to pretend to be from the government to get your money or information. They’ll say they’re from Medicaid or Medicare, offering help getting medicine or equipment, or asking to “verify” your information. They pretend to be from the Social Security Administration, saying there’s been fraud or another problem with your Social Security number and — again — needing to “verify” your number. And scammers love to say they’re from the IRS demanding payment or they’ll arrest you. 

But remember: if you get a call or email from the IRS or any government agency asking you for personal information or money, that’s a scam. Hang up the phone or delete the email.

To check the status of your coronavirus payment, visit irs.gov/coronavirus. Learn about scams related to COVID-19 at ftc.gov/coronavirus/scams. And, if anyone tries to trick you into giving up your information — or if you’ve already experienced a scam — report it to the FTC.

stimulus money

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stimulus money

Your phone rings, the caller id has a name and number of a federal agency.  You immediately panic.  You give the caller any information they want, with the hope that whatever problem they are referring to will go away.  You just opened the door for financial fraud which could last years or decades.
Technology provides scammers with tools to fake a legitimate phone number (like the IRS).  This technology helps the scammer clone your attorney’s own phone number. Email addresses are spoofed thousands of times a day.  Many times from people or companies in other countries.  You heard about the scams coming from Nigeria (just one of a many countries) purporting to be from your best friend who desperately needs some money.  They are traveling and lost their wallet.  All are scams.  All are difficult to diagnose.
Your only defense – use your common sense and check out the caller.  Never use the same phone number they called on or a phone number or email they gave you.  Look up the agency (say IRS) on-line and call them directly.  There are resources that help you check out scammers.  The Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, your local Attorney General’s Office and local consumer protection agencies.  Be careful out there.