Hamilton police are warning residents to be aware of so-called impostor scams – a ruse that uses the lure of a prize to get someone to wire money to a criminal.
Several Hamilton residents have recently reported receiving impostor phone calls from someone posing as an Internal Revenue Service official, according to Hamilton police Lt. Scott Janes. The callers have been fishing for information, Janes said, and he warns residents to be on alert for similar calls.
Impostor scams work like this, according to the Federal Trade Commission: You get a call or an email saying you’ve won a prize. It might seem to come from a government official or has been passed along from someone you know, such as a grandchild, relative or friend. Or maybe it’s from someone you feel like you know, but you haven’t met then in person, such as a person you met online who you’ve been writing to.
The request is typically the same – Wire money to pay taxes or fees or to help someone you care about.
But it is not the person who you think it is and there isn’t an emergency or a prize, according to the FTC. The person calling you is pretending to be someone else.
What to do:
- Stop and check it out. Before you wire money to anyone, call the person, the government agency or someone else you trust to get the real story and then decide what to do. No government agency will ever ask you to wire money.
- Pass along information about the call or email to a friend. Even if you haven’t gotten one of these calls or emails, chances are you know someone who has.
If you spot a scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission. By filing a complaint, you can help FTC investigators identify the impostors and stop them before they can get someone’s hard-earned money.
- Call the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357)
- Online at ftc.gov/complaint
You can also sign up for scam alerts at ftc.gov/subscribe