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  • Apr 16, 2021

Tech Talk with Jeff - Fake Government Calls

The government just called saying I need to send them money quick or they will be coming to arrest me.

I haven't done anything wrong, but it's the government and they have the power to do this, right?

This is a tactic used by scammers to get money out of you fast before you have a chance to really stop and think through what is going on. It sounds official, whether through text, email, or a phone call. The message tells you to act quickly to prevent something bad from happening to you. To prevent it, they want you to pay a fine or fee, often in the form of a gift card to make the payment fast.

Who wouldn't be scared or concerned receiving a message like this? The only concern you should have is that someone is trying to scam you. The government will not contact you by phone, text, or email. If they want a payment, they will bill you and request the payment through normal standard methods, in a reasonable timeframe, never in a panicked way and never by having you send a gift card. Gift cards are a quick, easy way to transfer money to someone who wants to take the money and run without a trace.

Please also remember, if they leave a method of contacting them, don't use it. Find the actual phone number independently for the agency trying to reach you and confirm that way. Phone numbers can be faked as well as the phone call you make to the supposed agency.

Things to remember:

  • Don't trust caller ID. Changing caller ID is child’s play to a scammer and is done frequently.
  • Typically, the government will contact you by mail if they have an issue. You will have time to properly find out what is going on and deal with it accordingly.
  • Never provide personal information to someone who has called you that you have not pre-planned.
  • If you are contacted, find the actual phone number independently for the supposed agency and contact them directly.  Don't use the information provided by the caller/text/email source.
  • No government agency or company will ask you to pay using gift cards, transfers of money or other unusual payment methods. If someone is looking for you to pay this way, it is a scam.

Be aware and be safe!

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