The FBI has issued a warning about a spike in its phone number being used for Social Security fraud. Most people do not know this until it is too late but scammers are able to spoof the real phone number of a government agency so that when they call a victim it looks like they are calling from an official phone number and usually this is enough to trick most people.
To put this in context for you, last year, the Internet Crime Complaint Center received reports of government impersonation scams from almost 14,300 individuals. The losses amounted to over $120 million.
Here is how the scam works:
1. You get a call from 202-324-3000 which is the main number from the FBI
2. When you answer to make the interaction appear legitimate, the fraudsters provide a name and a badge number, both of which are fake.
3. The fake FBI agent informs the victim that their Social Security number [SSN] has been suspended and in order to have to reactivated they need to make a payment of either cash or a gift card.
4. Once the victim has handed over the payment the scammer will hang up and move onto their next victim.
How can you protect yourself?
1. First off, the FBI warns that no legitimate law enforcement officer will ask for cash or gift cards from a citizen. This type of scam is defined "as government impersonation fraud" because the crooks pose as government officials to get money from victims.
2. If you do receive a call from someone saying they are calling from the FBI do not talk to them until you are 100% sure that they are legitimate.
3. If the 'Fake Agent' is very persistent simply tell them you will call them back through the main FBI switch board. If they are legitimate they will have no problem with this. Make sure you call them via the main number though which is 202-324-3000.
The FBI also warns "The criminals often threaten to extort victims with physical or financial harm to obtain personally identifiable information. Scammers are becoming more sophisticated and organized in their approach, are technologically savvy, and often target young persons and the elderly."
Please be extra careful, always exercise caution and if you are ever in doubt please check with us and we can help you. Also pass this message onto anyone you know who may be susceptible to this type go scam.
All the best,
Incognito Privacy Care.
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