The scenario is always the same. Your phone rings, and according to your caller ID it’s someone from the Social Security Administration (SSA) who’s calling. Or from the IRS, Medicare or any other government agency. Doesn’t seem suspicious to you? It should.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, this “government” scam (especially the SSA scam, as we described in one of our latest posts) is on the rise. This year’s median losses to scammers posing as government are the highest of all impostor scams (about $3,000).
Learn how you can tell a legitimate call from scammers
When you receive a threatening call, supposedly from the government, don’t panic. Just make sure to follow these steps.
- Even though you see a government agency’s number on your caller ID, it’s not necessarily the real government who’s calling. Scammers that are “spoofing” government numbers can make your caller ID show a different number.
- The real government will never threaten you for information. They will never promise any benefits in exchange for information, either.
- As soon as the caller threatens you or ask you to pay with a gift card or by wiring money, you can know for sure. This is a scam.
- If you have any doubt, hang up and call the government agency directly.
Don’t fall for any scam
If you’ve already become a victim of any kind of scam, follow these steps to get your money back. Don’t want to lose your money ever again? Make sure to get an efficient protection against scammers, for example the Should I Answer app for Android or for iOS. It will block all incoming scam calls for you, so you don’t have to deal with scammers anymore.
How does it work? The Should I Answer app uses its own database of spam numbers. This daily updated databases has three sources: all numbers reported to Do Not Call Registry, all numbers reported to Federal Communication Commission and, most importantly, all community reviews from the Should I Answer app and from our website. Nowadays, the app grows by 30 000 new reports every day.
Whenever an unknown call comes, the app looks into this database. If it finds out the caller has been reported as “spam”, it warns you. Or it blocks the call before the caller even reaches you.