The millions of people who reported scams last year told us that imposters were the top fraud of the year. Imposters have called many of us – maybe even most of us, pretending to be anyone from the IRS to a family member in trouble, from fake tech “help” for your computer to a business selling things that turned out to be bogus. Their goal? To get your money as quickly as possible.
Thanks to the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, we recently heard about scammers calling to ask for contributions to the “Legal Aid Society” and pretending to be from the “national legal aid/defenders office.” A quick search of the phone number the callers used showed complaints for different kinds of imposter scams. (Of course, scammers can make caller ID show any number – even the name that shows up on the display. So don’t rely on caller ID to help you decide if a call is legit.) Imposters can pretend to be anyone, but the twist on this imposter scam is that the scammers are pretending to be from well-respected community service organizations and appealing to your civic spirit.
To make sure your donation dollars are doing the good you want them to, learn more about giving wisely. If you get a dubious call, or one that pressures you to donate right away, tell the FTC so we can investigate. We rely on you – and our partners in your community – to tell us what you’re seeing. In fact, our most recent imposter scam case – against a company that pretended to be from a community help center, the government, radio stations, and companies like Walmart – came about because of a tip from a legal services group in Washington, DC. So every report, from everyone, makes a difference.