Impostor scams taking around $960 from each victim Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It’s more than likely that you or someone you know has been exposed to scam calls or telemarketers, but recently more scammers are popping up.

It begins with a phone call with caller ID possibly saying that it’s the IRS. The caller then might give you a badge number and tell you the last four digits of your social. Next, you’re told you owe money and if you don’t pay you’ll be arrested.

The Better Business Bureau sent out a study about the recent scam calls, or impostor scams. They say most of the calls originate in India.

Most scams are initiated by phone calls, but some people get emails, text messages or fake letters, according to the BBB. But it’s important to remember, the report says, that the IRS normally contacts people by mail. The IRS also does not insist on paying by gift card, and the IRS or any other government agency will never request personal or financial information by email, text or social media.

Here are some other red flags from the BBB –

  • Social Security numbers are never suspended.
  • Caller ID cannot be trusted
    • to confirm that the source of the call is a government agency. Look up the phone number for the real agency and call
  • The Social Security Administration will never threaten to arrest you

Reports to the Federal Trade Commission of scammers impersonating tax officials dropped in 2019, but reports of Social Security Administration impersonators quadrupled.

The Better Business Bureau also reports between 2014 to 2019 victims of these scams lost over $450 million. The median amount lost for each victim was $960, but for people over 60 it was $2,700, according to the BBB.

The report continues to say that people often pay through gift cards and reloadable cards 58% of the time; wire transfer, bank-to-bank transfer, or Western Union/Moneygram 13% of the time; and some have sent cash by mail.

So, what do you do if you’ve been a victim to one of these scams or you’ve received one of these phone calls, emails, texts, etcetera? The BBB has provided these resources:

  • IRS: The IRS advises people to fill out the “IRS Impersonation
    Scam” form on TIGTA’s website,, or call TIGTA at 1-800-
  • Social Security: SSA IG has its own online form to take complaints
    about frauds impersonating the SSA.
  • Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre: In Canada, contact CAFC about all
    government impersonation scams at 1-888-495-8501 or online.
  • Federal Trade Commission: 877-FTC-Help or
    Internet Crime Complaint Center:
  • Contact your cellphone carrier, which may offer free services such
    as scam call identification and blocking, ID monitoring
  • File a report with BBB Scam Tracker.

KELOLAND’s Brady Mallory talked with the Director of the South Dakota Better Business Bureau, Jessie Schmidt, about other ways you can identify if a call is legitimate. Find out those tips here:

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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