By Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt
One of the scams that almost always appears on our annual list of “most common scams of the year” is the government imposter scam. The most frequent version of this scam involves someone impersonating the Internal Revenue Service saying you owe taxes and asking you to pay immediately via your credit card or by purchasing a pre-paid debit card and calling them back with the card number. Other scammers claim to be from different federal, state or local government agencies. We’ve even had scammers impersonate the attorney general’s office threatening arrest you if you don’t pay a fine immediately. I assure you, we won’t do that.
Recently, we’ve seen a twist on the government imposter scam involving a robocall claiming to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA) informing you that your benefits are about to end if you don’t take action. Rest assured, the real SSA will never call you to cut off your benefits and will never ask you to wire money, make payments via gift card or send cash payments in order to continue your benefits.
If you receive one of these calls, hang up. Do not press one, or any other number it asks you to press. Perhaps most importantly, never give your personal information to someone over the phone.
Government agencies like the SSA will always contact you by a notice in the mail, not by robocall. And if you do get something in the mail, it’s always a good idea to look up the agency’s number in the blue pages of a phone book or on the agency’s official website and call to make sure it’s a legitimate letter. Don’t call the number listed on the letter. Always take steps to verify anything you receive from someone purporting to be from a government agency is telling the truth.
More information on how to protect yourself from these and other scams is available on our consumer protection website at www.InYourCornerKansas.org or by calling our consumer protection hotline at (800) 432-2310.