3 tips to avoid imposter scams

Callers seek personal info in exchange for DNA testing kit

By Daniel Dahm - Digital Manager
FreeImages.com/Nimalan Tharmalingam

ORLANDO, Fla. - Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis issued a warning Monday after a recent report from the Federal Trade Commission about a new imposter scam.

According to the FTC, callers claiming to be from Medicare are asking people for their Medicare numbers, Social Security numbers and other personal information in exchange for free DNA testing kits.

“There is no limit to the lengths scam artists will go to try and steal your hard-earned money," Patronis said in a news release. "Unfortunately, imposter scams are prevalent, and in 2018 alone consumers reported losing nearly $488 million nationwide."

Patronis said scammers prey on trust and often call claiming to be someone you know or a government agency to convince you to send them money or give away personal information.

“Always verify if the person calling you is who they say they are," Patronis said. "Never share your personal information over the phone and stay up-to-date on the latest scam and fraud tactics."

Here are three tips to avoid imposter scams: 

  1. Government agencies will rarely, if ever, call you. If they do, it will be after they send you a letter – or to return a call you made to them. But anytime the “government” caller demands information (or payment by wire transfer or gift card), that’s a scam.  
  2. Don’t trust caller ID. Scammers use technology to hide their real number but show one that seems legit. If the caller ID shows a 202 area code or says “government” or “Washington, D.C.,” don’t take that at face value. It could be anyone calling from anywhere.
  3. Never give out personal information over the phone. Never give private data to anyone who cold calls you for information like your Medicare, bank account, credit card or Social Security numbers. Scammers can use your information, steal your identity, obtain credit in your name and take your money. 
     

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