Defending against impersonator scams
By Andrew Rayo
American servicemembers sacrifice so much to honorably defend the nation. But dishonorable scammers make it their mission to con servicemembers out of their hard-earned money and benefits by pretending to be trusted companies and government agencies. During Military Consumer Month — and all year round — we’re empowering servicemembers, veterans, and their families to spot and avoid impersonator scams.
Scammers come up with all sorts of stories to convince you to send money or share your information. They might call or send you a text or email, pretending they’re tech support from Microsoft or Apple. They’ll tell you to put money on a gift card or spend cryptocurrency to protect yourself from a security breach. Don’t. It’s a scam.
Scammers also pretend to be government agencies like the IRS or Social Security Administration. They’ll claim that something bad will happen if you don’t pay or give them your personal information. Or they might say you’ll miss out on some government benefit. Either way, that’s a scam.
Here’s how to spot the fakers:
- Know that nobody legit will ever contact you out of the blue, demanding money or information. Hang up. It’s a scam.
- Don’t trust caller ID. Scammers know how to fake caller ID so it looks like a real phone number. Even if it has a real name, don’t trust it.
- Never pay anyone who demands payment by wire transfer, gift card, or cryptocurrency. Only scammers tell you to pay that way. Hang up if it’s a call. If it’s an email, text, or message on social media, don’t click any links.
You might spot these frauds — but someone you know might need extra backup. Please share this info with your friends, family, and fellow servicemembers and veterans. And report scams to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.