Identity Theft

Imposter Scams

The Bait

Someone calls, e-mails, sends a letter, pretending to be a family member stuck in a jam. They say that they are in jail, the hospital, or there car won't start and that they need you to wire them some money right away. Sometimes there might be a second person pretending to be an authority figure in order to make the scam seem more realistic.

The Catch

It is very easy for some people to be able to seem like a family member that you have never met or that you haven't seen in a long time. Typically, if you send any money, they will ask for a larger amount of money again.

How to prevent this scam

If someone calls claiming to be a family member, you can ask them questions that you know for sure only that family member would know. Or you could ask them about the rest of the family.

What to do if this happens to you

Report it to the Federal Trade Commission, The FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center, or your state attorney.