WASHINGTON (WWLP) – If you’ve ever received a call and your caller ID says it’s from a government agency, be aware that it may be a scam.
Scammers often disguise themselves as people working for the government and might pretend to offer help. They may say they are calling to “verify your Social Security number,” or say your Social Security number or Medicare benefits have been “suspended.” Scammers may say your tax return has been flagged and they need your Social Security number to fix it. Scammers are just phishing for personal information they can use to steal your identity or take your money.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers these guidelines on how to spot a government scam:
- Scammers call, email, or text you for money or information. But the government won’t. Anyone who calls, emails, or texts, asking for money or personal information and claims to be from the government is a scammer. Hang up and don’t respond to messages.
- Scammers tell you how to pay — usually by wiring money, cryptocurrency, or gift card. No government agency will tell you to pay in any of those ways. If they call, hang up the phone. If they email, text, or message you, don’t click on any links.
- Even if your caller ID says it’s from the government, it could be a scam. Caller ID can be faked. Even if it shows the government agency’s real phone number, or even if it says something like “Social Security Administration,” it could be anyone calling from anywhere in the world. Don’t trust it.