Mobile Menu Locations Contact

The Latest from Columbia


Recent Fraud Trends: Government Imposter Scams

by Jean-Luc Raffaele | Mar 17, 2021
Protecting your information


Protecting your personal identifying information (PII) from scammers is a vital step in staying safe online and protecting your data and security. In the last few years we’ve seen a significant rise in attempts from fraudsters to obtain PII from people. Whether it be a version of a Business Email Compromise or the recent Covid-19 scams, fraudsters are always looking for a new way to obtain your data. And now, a recent trend known as Government Imposter Scams have become an increasing concern.

In 2020, consumers reported 498,000 imposter scams to the FTC; nearly one in five reported losing money with losses totaling nearly $1.2 billion. Almost one-third of the scams involved someone posing as a government representative. This concerning fraud trend has been surfacing in a variety of ways, typically phone calls, texts, emails or social media direct messages that pretend to speak on behalf of a government agency urging you to take immediate action to avoid a negative consequence. 

These messages or calls can take many forms with some of the most common being someone posing as an IRS agent saying you owe back taxes, or a fake call from someone pretending to be from the Social Security Administration or Medicare office telling you that you’re benefits have been suspended due to a Covid-19 related office closure. These scammers are posing as a trusted source to trick you into delivering funds or other vital information. 

Follow these four steps to identify these fraud attempts and protect yourself and your information. 

To avoid falling for a Government Imposter Scam, follow these steps: 

  1. Don’t give information or money to anyone who calls, texts, emails, or direct messages you on social media. Keep your Social Security Number, online banking credentials, bank account, debit and credit card numbers and access to your computer to yourself.

  2. Often times scammers will demand you pay immediately, especially by gift card, mobile payment apps, money transfer, or cryptocurrency because they know these payments are hard to reverse. Only pay friends, family or other verified people you know using these methods.

  3. When in doubt, check it out. If you’re concerned about the request, contact the agency directly. Look up the government agency’s on their website and call to get the story. 

  4. Report the scam to the FTC at: https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/ . Tell your bank, and be sure to share these tips with your friends and family. 

We are here to help keep you and your information safe. Whether we are providing tips on how to stay safe, sharing the most current fraud trends or monitoring your accounts for potentially fraudulent activity, you can rest assured that we work around the clock to protect your information from fraudulent activity.


 

connect nearby or online

Click to Share Your Location

We'll find a branch near you. You can also visit the locations page or contact us.

Enter a zip code to find the
nearest branch
submit

Connect with CB

Consider This

May we interest you in...