Held every October, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month is a collaborative effort between government and industry to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity and to ensure that all Americans have the resources they need to be safer and more secure online. In light of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we would like to share the message below with our residents.
Be on the lookout for scams involving the impersonation of government agencies or debt collectors.
Impersonation scams, similar to the following examples, have been reported in the area.
- You receive a call from a person claiming to be from the IRS who demands that payments be made in the form of wire transfers, gift cards or bitcoin to cover “taxes, interest and penalties”. Often the imposter will threaten imminent arrest if not paid immediately.
- You receive a call from a person claiming to be law enforcement informing you that a family member has been arrested out of state, or even in another country, and that you need to send them gift cards in order to release your family member on bail.
- A person claiming to be from a debt collector calls and informs you that a warrant is out for your arrest due to a “debt” that has not been paid. The caller then attempts to convince you to pay the “debt” immediately using gift cards, wire transfers, or bitcoin.
Be suspicious of any call from a person claiming to be from a government agency, debt collector, or other organization who asks for personal information or money, especially money in the form of gift cards, wire transfers, bitcoin, or other hard to trace forms of payment.
Remember caller ID can be spoofed; do not trust it.
If you receive one of these calls, please do not give out any personal information and do the following:
- Record the caller’s information. If the call went to voice mail, do not call back, and see if you can make a copy of the recording.
- Look up a known good number for the organization being impersonated and call them to verify that the call is a scam. This information is usually readily available on the organization’s website.
- Report the scam to the impersonated organization.
Please see the following resources for more information on how to protect yourself from impersonation scams: