Have you ever won big money in a local or foreign lottery? Have you even participated in such a lottery?
A few years ago, scammers got enough courage to impersonate government officials to scam money from senior citizens.
- In one version of this scam you will receive a phone call from a person pretending to be a part of a federal company claiming that you have won a mega lottery. However, in return you will have to pay taxes to receive ‘YOUR’ prize.
- Another version of the scam involves a government official warning you of an imminent arrest if you do not make immediate payments to clear off your debts.
Whatever tactics they use, like all scammers their goal is to get money from your end.
People working in government agencies will never ask you to pay any fees over the phone, send money to claim your prize or wire transfer funds to clear dues. Always ask for information in writing.
It is quite easy to identify an imposter pretending to be a government official. If you receive a call from a person who claims to be a part of a federal government agency, here is what an authentic agency does:
- A federal government agency and its employees will always approach you via US Mail. Contacting via phone or email are not primary Therefore, if you never received a mail in the first place, you are a target of a fraud.
- A federal agency and its employees are not permitted to ask for your personal or confidential information over the phone or otherwise. Do not trust anyone who wants you to provide him/her your personal
- Most scammers want you to send money using wire transfer or they will ask you to deposit a check they would send. Such method is not used by any federal agency.
Protect yourself from government imposter scams
Here is how you can protect yourself from being a victim of government imposter scams:
- Do not supposed to send money using wire transfer. This is their most favorite method to scam money as you cannot trace or get it back. Whenever a government imposter asks you to send money, wire money, deposit a check or provide personal information, simply It is better to say NO in the first place than realizing you have been cheated.
- Prizes are meant to be free, right? Why would you pay for a prize? If you win a legitimate lottery or sweepstakes, you are not required to make payments in the form of taxes, shipping charges or insurance. If you have to pay, it is a scam.
- Do not provide any personal or financial details to anyone. A good rule of thumb to remember is that government officials or employees are not permitted to ask for such details. If you are asked for an account number, Social Security number, or financial information, hang up the phone.