Frauds & Scams, Office of the Inspector General

Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Warn of Impersonation Scam Involving Credentials and Badges

June 7, 2022 • By

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Last Updated: June 7, 2022

Serious man using laptopNew reports show that scammers are reviving an old tactic to gain your trust. Scammers are emailing and texting pictures of real and doctored law enforcement credentials and badges in an attempt to ‘prove’ they are legitimate to scam people out of money. Scammers may change the picture or use a different name, agency, or badge number, but the basic scam is the same.

Federal law enforcement agencies are warning the public to be skeptical of emails and text messages claiming to be from a government or law enforcement agency. No one in federal law enforcement will send photographs of credentials or badges to demand any kind of payment, and neither will government employees.

The following agencies joined forces to issue this scam alert:

  • Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General (OIG).
  • Department of Labor OIG.
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration OIG.
  • Pandemic Response Accountability Committee.
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

How a Government Imposter Scam Works

These scams primarily use a telephone to contact you. Scammers may also use email, text message, social media, or U.S. mail. Scammers pretend to be from an agency or organization you know to gain your trust. Scammers say there is a problem or a prize. Scammers pressure you to act immediately. Scammers tell you to pay in a specific way.

Tips to Protect Yourself

  1. Do not take immediate action. If you receive a communication that causes a strong emotional response, take a deep breath. Hang up or ignore the message. Talk to someone you trust.
  2. Do not transfer your money! Do not buy that gift card! Never pay someone who insists that you pay with a gift card, prepaid debit card, Internet currency or cryptocurrency, wire transfer, money transfer, or by mailing cash. Scammers use these forms of payment because they are hard to trace.
  3. Be skeptical. If you think a real law enforcement officer is trying to reach you, call your local law enforcement using a non-emergency number to verify. Do not believe scammers who “transfer” your call to an official or who give you a number as proof. Scammers can create fake numbers and identities. Do not trust your caller ID.
  4. Be cautious of any contact claiming to be from a government agency or law enforcement telling you about a problem you don’t recognize. Do not provide your personal information, even if the caller has some of your information.
  5. Do not click on links or attachments. Block unwanted calls and text messages.

For more information on scams, visit the FTC Scams page to read about common scams.

If You Are a Victim

Stop talking to the scammer. Notify financial institutions and protect accounts.  Contact local law enforcement and file a police report. File a complaint with the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) and on the FTC website.

Keep financial transaction information and the record of all communications with the scammer.

Please share this information with friends and family – and post it on social media.

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  1. ravelferreraparra

    They Are Among Us!!

    You don’t have to look out side SSA for Scams &/Or Collusions!

    There is Systemic Discrimination and a lack of Accountabilty… that might actually let you die before giving you a dime!
    As with me:
    I am a qualified insured applicant that has been suffering homelessness due to DDS & OHO’s adverse practices towards a select community. Not only have they acted adversely due to bias, they have gone as far a retaliated off a ‘remand’ by alleging I was a threat to “Facility & Staff” so as to intimidate me on not persuing my Benefits.

    25+ yrs of contributions towards the program, yet I have spent 56 Months in NEED (Last 11 Months needing urgent brain tumor surgery) but OHO-Newark (*XO1) has done everything to prevent me from mitigating my health.
    *OAO ignores,
    *OGC has allowed it,
    and *OIG has not said a word of the inhumanity for over a year!!

    Honorable Dr. Kilolo Kijakazi, where the **** are you?!?

  2. zriv

    During the online Social Security Benefit application process, can you select/enter the effective month and year for which you would like to begin receiving benefits?
    Social Security Tax Rate

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Zriv. You can apply for Social Security retirement benefits when you are at least 61 years and 9 months of age and want your benefits to start in the next three months. If you are not sure when you’d like to retire, you can still create a personal my Social Security account to review estimates of your retirement, disability, and survivors benefits, your earnings record, and the estimated Social Security and Medicare taxes you’ve paid. We hope this helps. 

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