Impostor scam complaints filed with the federal government soared as more and more crooks seek to separate Americans from their dollars with a simple phone call. That’s one of the findings of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) annual Consumer Sentinel Network data book released earlier this year.
The report’s authors warned, “The rise in impostor scam reports is due to an increase in complaints about government impostors. Impostor scams come in many varieties, but work the same way: a scammer pretends to be someone trustworthy, such as a government official or computer technician, to convince a consumer to send money.”
Fraud including impostor scams resulted in the average victim paying $1,142. Over half of those victims paid scammers via wire transfer which has prompted some law enforcement groups to focus on reducing wire fraud.
“The FTC urges consumers to be wary of any caller asking for a wire transfer. The government will not ask a consumer to wire money, and it is illegal for telemarketers to ask you to pay by wire. Consumers who get a suspicious call should take their time and check it out. Call the government agency on a phone line you know to be real — not the phone number given by the suspicious caller,” the authors warned.
To file a complaint with the FTC about impostor fraud or other consumer issues, check out the agency’s complaint assistant.