Government office scams typically involve someone calling you and posing as a government official or other business entity like a utility company and demanding a debt be paid immediately. They will make it urgent, they may sound angry, you may receive threats of arrest or jail if you don’t comply. They will ask for payment in the form of cryptocurrency.
The most common scenario will be a scammer calling you and stating they represent the IRS or other tax agency and that you owe back taxes or another large debt. In addition to asking for back taxes, additional threats can include a statement that your social security or identification number has been suspended until you make a payment. Sometimes the scammers masquerade as a utility company and threaten to suspend service to your heat or electricity in the winter due to an overdue bill.
How to protect yourself:
- Stop and think, why would a government official call and not send a postal message? Almost all communications with the government begin with mail or an official document.
- Remember, most governments only accept their own currency. The request for crypto should be an immediate red flag.
- If you feel that the person who contacted you is not an official representative of the entity/agency, cease contact immediately. Find the link to the legitimate organization they say they represent, and contact them for verification.
- Do not call the number that was used to call you hoping for a different person to verify the suspicious caller. Search for the legitimate number of the organization and reach out to them directly.
- If you are still in doubt, feel free to contact our support team and we will gladly take a look at the situation.
If you need to report an incident or you have fallen victim to this type of scam, reach out to our Live Chat support or submit a request at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional resources for reporting and learning about fraud: