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Imposters were among us well before Among Us became a hit game. Unfortunately, these imposters are much less fun. So, what is an imposter scam and how do I prevent it?
An imposter scam is just what it sounds like: a scammer impersonating someone you know or trust. Most often, they will impersonate a family member, a friend, a company, or a government agency.
How does someone impersonating someone else lead to a scam? Well, if you are communicating with someone you trust, or an agency you trust, you are more likely to give them information or take actions they suggest. Here are some common scams imposters use:
1. Asking you to send money, usually by wire transfer or gift cards
2. Asking for your personal information that they can then use against you
3. Tricking you into paying a fake fine or money you “owe” them
4. Sending you a prize, but asking you to send part of that money back to them
5. Pretending to be a loved one in an emergency
6. Pretending to be an official and playing on your fears to demand a payment
These are only a few of the many common imposter scams out there. It’s extra scary coming from someone you think you know or trust! However, there are steps you can take to ensure you do not fall into the hands of an imposter.
1. Never send money to someone you don’t know.
2. Always verify who you are talking to, and if it’s a friend or family member, ask questions to ensure it truly is that person.
3. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. It’s best to look into it by searching the company or person’s name online, asking a trusted friend for their opinion, or talking to your financial institution.
4. Always contact companies with the phone numbers, email addresses, or chat options on their legitimate website. Do not call a number or click a link that was texted or emailed to you. Go to that website and contact them from that link instead.
5. Recognize that all official government agencies will contact you through an official letter. They will not call or email you or ask you to call or email them.
6. Do not enter information that doesn’t make sense for the service. For example, a dating website does not need your social security number.
7. When speaking with customer service, ask the representative to verify your account number or important information.
8. Do not open or reply to unsolicited emails.