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FTC warns of scammers impersonating actual agency staffers to defraud US consumers


March 20, 2024

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FTC warns of scammers impersonating actual agency staffers to defraud US consumers

Fraudsters are impersonating US Federal Trade Commission employees to steal money, the consumer protection agency warns.

The FTC’s most recent advisory says that scammers are impersonating real agency employees to harvest personal information from Americans and persuade them to transfer large sums of money.

The warning fits an ever-increasing backdrop of government impostor scams targeting US citizens in the past year that led to financial losses of $394 million in 2023.

According to the FTC, its staff have received numerous calls from consumers who were contacted by individuals using the names of confirmed FTC employees in an attempt “to convince them to move, transfer, send or wire money.”

“The FTC will never tell consumers to move their money to ‘protect’ it. The FTC will never send consumers to a Bitcoin ATM, tell them to go buy gold bars, or demand they withdraw cash and take it to someone in person. It will also never contact consumers to demand money, threaten to arrest or deport them, or promise a prize. If someone claims to work for the FTC and makes any of these demands or threats, they are a scammer,“ the consumer protection agency said.

How to stay safe from scams

Scammers want your hard-earned money and will go to great lengths to steal sensitive data and defraud you.

Here’s how to protect yourself and your loved ones:

1.    Know that the government or any other legitimate organization will never cold-call citizens and ask them to move money, withdraw cash to buy gold bars or go to a crypto ATM to send money. It’s always a scam.

2.    If you are ever contacted by an individual who claims to be from a government agency that uses threatening language and asks you to pay for something, it’s a scammer.

3. Hang up and ignore or delete any message that fits any of the above scenarios

4.  Never hand out your SSN or financial information to individuals who contact you out of the blue

5. Always report scams to the police and at ReportFraud.ftc.gov

6.  Keep your friends and family informed about scams

7. Have a chat with Bitdefender Scamio. Ask Scamio if a message or request is a scam attempt. Scamio is available for free on any device or operating system via your web browser or Facebook Messenger.




Alina is a history buff passionate about cybersecurity and anything sci-fi, advocating Bitdefender technologies and solutions. She spends most of her time between her two feline friends and traveling.

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