Consumers reported more than 498,000 imposter scams to the Federal Trade Commission in 2020.
- Nearly 1 in 5 people reported losing money
- Overall, reported losses were nearly $1.2 billion
- The median loss was $850
- Almost one-third of the imposter scams reported involved someone posing as a government representative
How to Spot the Scam
Scammers will call, email, text, or direct message you on social media.
- Scammers say you did not appear for jury duty and must pay a fine or you will be arrested.
- Scammers say you will be fined, arrested, or deported if you do not pay taxes or some other debt right away.
- Scammers say your Social Security or Medicare benefits have been suspended because of COVID-19-related office closures.
- Scammers say you can get a free COVID-19 test kit from Medicare in exchange for giving personal or financial information.
- Scammers say you owe back taxes, there is a problem with your return, or please verify your information.
STOP. These are all scams!
How to Stop & Report the Scam
- Don’t give information or money to anyone who calls, texts, emails, or direct messages you on social media. Keep your Social Security, bank account, debit and credit card numbers to yourself.
- Never make a payment to someone you don’t know, especially by gift card, mobile payment apps, money transfer, or cryptocurrency. Only scammers will demand you pay that way. They know these payments are hard to reverse.
- When in doubt, check it out. If you’re concerned about the request, contact the agency directly. Look up the government agency’s real number on the agency’s site and call to get the story.
- Report the scam to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Tell your bank, and be sure to share these tips with your friends and family.