WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWLP) – Schemes involving impersonators are the top way people are losing money to fraud, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

In 2022 impersonator fraud was the most reported to the FTC, with people losing $660 million, up from $453 million in 2021.

One reason that people fall prey to these types of fraud is that they can be difficult for some people to discern as fake. Thieves use realistic logos from real businesses and government agencies and spoofed phone numbers.

Here are some signs that someone is trying to steal your money and/or personal information:

  • What did they ask you for? Your bank has your account and Social Security numbers — it will not call or email you to get that information. And nobody legitimate will ever get in touch to demand access to your computer. No matter who they say they are, anyone who demands information or access like this is committing fraud.
  • Did they tell you to pay? The government doesn’t demand money by email, text, phone call, or message on social media. Honest businesses don’t, either.
  • How did they tell you to pay? Nobody legitimate — really: nobody — will ever demand that you pay with cryptocurrency, by wiring money through a company like MoneyGram or Western Union, or by putting money on a gift card.
  • Did they threaten you? Honest businesses and government agencies won’t say you’ll be arrested, deported, or lose your license unless you pay.

If you or anyone you know has received a call, text or email demanding money and making threats report it to the FTC.