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Imposter scams

Imposter scammers pretend to be from the IRS or Social Security, a business, or a charity. They want you to trust them so they can steal your personal information and money.

Types of imposter scams

An imposter scammer may call, text, or email to convince you they are someone in authority. They may even use caller ID to make it look like they are calling from an official government or business' number. To commit identity theft, they try to get you to send money or a gift card or share personal information.

Learn about the top types of imposter scams:

  • Government imposter scams - Unless you contact them first, government agencies typically initiate communication with you by letter. Unexpected contact or demands through any other method may be a scam.
  • Charity scams - scammers pretend to be from a real or fake charity and try to get you to contribute
  • Grandparent scams - scammers pretend to be a grandchild or other relative who needs emergency financial help
  • Tech support scams - scammers tell you your computer’s security is at risk and try to remotely access your device and steal personal information or ask for payment
  • Scammers may also pretend to be from your bank or a company you do business with. You might be told you owe money or there is a problem with your account.

See examples of imposter scams, learn how they work, and how to recognize them from the Federal Trade Commission.

How to report imposter scams

Report imposter scams online to the Federal Trade Commission. 

LAST UPDATED: April 23, 2024


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