How to Avoid Government Impersonation Scams

Imposter Scams: Avoiding IRS and Social Security Fraud

Nowadays, scammers keep finding new ways to steal personal information and money from hardworking people. One of the biggest types of these scams is when someone impersonates a government official, like somebody from the IRS or Social Security Administration. These scams can be expensive and scary, but knowing what to look for is half the battle to avoiding them. Here are some tips to help you protect yourself and steer clear from wannabe fraudsters.

Be Wary of Unsolicited Calls and Messages

Remember, government agencies will never contact you via phone, email, text, or social media. A government agency won't threaten you with arrest or legal action if you don't do what they say, especially over the phone or via text. If you get a message or call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, Social Security Administration, or another government agency, and they show any of these signs, do not provide any personal information or payment. Instead, hang up or delete the message and contact the agency directly using a verified phone number or website. Regardless of who’s contacting you, always remember:

  1. Be careful when sharing personal info online or over the phone.
  2. Only give personal info to people or websites you trust.
  3. Never give your Social Security number or bank details to someone you don't know or trust.

Protect Your Identity

The main goal of these scams is to steal your personal information and identity. If you ever believe your personal information has been compromised, immediately check your accounts for any suspicious activity, place a fraud alert on your credit report, and change your passwords. With a GO2bank account, you’ll automatically get text alerts if we ever see anything suspicious on your account** Message and data rates may apply.. You can also easily lock and unlock your GO2bank debit card with just a tap on the app if you’re ever worried about unauthorized purchases on your account** Previously authorized transactions and deposits/transfers to your account will function with a locked card.. And for even more security, you can shop online with confidence anywhere Visa® debit cards are accepted in the U.S. with Visa’s Zero Liability Policy** Visa’s Zero Liability Policy does not apply to certain commercial card and anonymous prepaid card transactions or transactions not processed by Visa. Cardholders must use care in protecting their card and notify their issuing financial institution immediately of any unauthorized use. Contact your issuer for more detail. Learn more: Visa’s Zero Liability Policy | Visa |, guaranteeing you’re not responsible for unauthorized online charges. Want even more security? Enroll in Experian Credit Care Advantage for free with your GO2bank account and get access to identity theft monitoring, alerts, and dark web surveillance, making sure you’re the only you out there!

Report Suspicious Activity

If you ever think you were tricked by someone pretending to be from the government, report it immediately by contacting the agency the scammer claimed to be from and letting the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) know what happened. You can also report the scam by filling out an online form with the IRS. Reporting these scams can stop others from getting tricked, too.

Stay Informed

The best way to avoid scams is to know what’s out there before it comes your way. To help keep yourself updated on the latest scams and types of fraud, follow trusted government sources like the FTC and the IRS. They often share alerts, updates, and tips on how to prevent scams and protect your personal information. No matter what, - stay cautious when sharing personal information - your identity is a precious thing worth protecting!

The views and opinions expressed here may not represent the views and opinions of GO2bank, Green Dot Corporation, or its affiliates. It is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal, or business advice.​

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