Q:

What are some government scams of which to be aware?

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Quick Answer

Some government scams of which to be aware involve individuals impersonating government officials, pretending to be a sheriff, the Internal Revenue Service or U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Service officials. These impostors often ask victims to send money or confirm personal identification information such as Social Security numbers, according to the Federal Trade Commission. While posing as government officials, impostors outright threaten victims with arrest or lawsuits; offer free lottery winnings; or ask victims to confirm their billing information.

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Full Answer

These scams use the information that victims provide to make charges to the victim's checking account or credit card, open new accounts, write bad checks, receive loans and more, explains the FTC. Government officials are not allowed to ask for money wires or transfers. Government official do not call asking for money or threatening you with arrest.

According to the FTC, even if the debt is legitimate, there are laws protecting consumer rights that would not be violated by reputable debt collections agencies or government officials. Additionally, the government does not collect taxes or fees of any kind in exchange for the release of international lottery winnings. These scams regularly use the tactic of disguising their area codes, telephone numbers and names. Consumers are advised to always look up the official contact information of the office that the scam artist is claiming to represent, and then contact that office directly to avoid being a victim of these scams.

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