Image: Brian Asare
Government imposter scams now come with a new twist that has the potential to make them even more effective, as the Inspector General for the Social Security Administration (SSA) warns.
Fraudsters behind this type of scam (which commonly involves attempts to collect Social Security numbers) have also been at it for years, trying to trick potential victims into handing over their personal information or sending money.
Government imposter scams are widespread, and scammers' tactics are constantly evolving.
Last year, victims reported losing over $174 million to government imposter scammers, with a median loss of roughly $1,250.
Fake IDs used to add legitimacy
According to reports received by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), the scammers' tactics arsenal has been updated to include the use of fake IDs designed to look like those used by Federal employees.
"The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has received reports of phone scammers creating fake versions of the identification badges most Federal employees use to gain access to Federal buildings," the warning reads.
"The badges use government symbols, words, and even names and photos of real people, which are available on government websites or through Internet searches."
To convince their targets that their identity and demands are legitimate, the scammers will email or text photos of the fake federal IDs.