The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Division of Consumer & Business Education (Division) pro-actively helps consumers learn about and, hopefully avoid, a variety of scam artists.  Carol Kando-Pineda, Counsel to the Division, has just published a list describing the “top 10 imposter scams” that consumers have reported to the FTC.  While many appear obvious, it is always useful to be refreshed about the scams since they often vary with each version.  The March 2nd article by Ms. Kando-Pineda is titled “The Grate Pretenders” and can be found at: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov.

What are some of the top imposter scams?  The number 1 position is held by scammers impersonating IRS agents.  They call or email consumers, frighten them by saying the consumer owes back taxes or that there’s a problem with the consumer’s tax return.  The goal? Getting the consumer to provide personal and financial information allegedly to pay the owed taxes or correct the return.

Other “top 10″imposter cons include:

  • “You’ve won the prize”: the scammer claims to be from Publishers Clearinghouse. What’s the scam?  The winner only has to pay a processing fee in order to collect the prize;
  • “I’m an official with ….” fill in the government agency.  It could be, for example, a scammer claiming to be from one of the agencies handling health issues.  The scammer says he works for Medicare or in an office administering the Affordable Health Care Act.  The caller threatens the consumer with lost medical benefits unless the consumer provides personal information or fees.

These are just a few of the FTC’s “top 10 imposter scams”.  Ms. Kando-Pineda’s article is well worth taking the time to be reminded about the variety of “imposter scams” that are out there.