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New BBB Study: Shows Dangers of Government Impostors

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One of the most common scams in the United States and Canada involved callers pretending to be government officials.  A new investigative study by the Better Business Bureau shows scams have become more diverse and sophisticated, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.

WGVU reports on how government impostor scams prey on consumers fears.

“Most of these scams have the same thing, they prey on fear, they tell you that there’s going to be a warrant for your arrest or you’re going to get in trouble if you don’t action right now.”

Troy Baker is with the Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan.  He says some of the scams aren’t necessarily new, but they’re playing on fear and intimidation to trick victims into turning over personal information or money. They’re government impostor scams.

“They’re even calling me on my desk line. The message says to give your social security number.  They want you to give them your social security number.”

Baker says that’s tip number one.  Government officials are not going to call you to get your social security number.  But the scammers will ask for it plus threaten you.

”These scammers are good, if there really is a warrant for your arrest, the sheriff’s department is going to knock on your door.”

Baker says the new BBB study finds scams have become more diverse and sophisticated especially during the pandemic.  The study: Government Impostor Scams: Reports Decrease, Scammers Pivot for New Opportunities.  Basically, a common scam, but still costly.  Baker says many of the scams involve robocalls that are transferred to a call center in India. 

“So, if you send your money, it’s gone.”

You can complain about these government impostor scams.  For the IRS fill out an IRS Impersonation scam form, for social security scams you can go to the office of the inspector general website and as always, you can report them on the BBB’s scam tracker.