USA.gov recently sent an eblast warning against scammers who call, email, text, or send letters telling people they are eligible for benefits from the government, but must pay a fee to receive their money. Neither the Federal, nor local government will ever call, email, or text you to ask for money. This and other scams are covered in Money Smart for Older Adults and Cents and Sensibility: A Guide to Money Management for People with Disabilities.
Here is the text from the USA.gov alert, which includes more links to excellent resources on avoiding scams and protecting your benefits and assets. Please share with family, friends, and others who may be at risk from these predators. Thank you!
We recently received a comment on Facebook from a woman who said the U.S. Federal Government Grants Department called and claimed she needed to pay more than $600 in order to receive federal benefits totaling $8,000. She paid the money, never got the $8,000 and asked us how to get a refund of her money.
The phone call was a scam. The Federal Government Grants Department doesn’t exist. More importantly, the government will never call or text you to ask for money.
Even though the woman wrote down the phone number of the caller, it can be hard to trace it back to a real person because of tricks like caller ID spoofing. This means that she probably won’t be able to get her money back.
Be suspicious of any call, text, or e-mail that claims to be from the government. Scammers often use names that sound like real government agencies but aren’t. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, has more tips on spotting fake callers who pretend to be the government.
You can find the official names and contact information for federal government agencies in our A-Z Index of U.S. Government Departments and Agencies. Don’t hesitate to contact the agency that claims you owe them money. Be sure to use the contact information listed in the A-Z Index and not the contact information the caller or e-mail provides.
If you do get scammed, then you should file a complaint with the FTC and your state’s consumer agency.
Visit the USA.gov blog for this and other excellent articles!