The Postal Inspection Service wants to expose the nation’s impostors.
During National Consumer Protection Week, which runs from March 1-7, the law enforcement agency will raise awareness of scammers who pretend to represent the government.
Impostor scams were the No. 1 form of fraud reported to the Federal Trade Commission last year, with victims losing more than $667 million. There were 166,190 reports about Social Security scams, making it the top government scam reported.
Scams involving the Internal Revenue Service are also common, and this year, the Inspection Service has detected an increase in scammers who pretend to represent USPS, often through email messages.
“Government impostor scams prey on the trust that people place in public servants. During National Consumer Protection Week, the Postal Inspection Service is asking the public to report and encourage others to report suspected scams,” said Chief Postal Inspector Gary Barksdale.
In many government impostor scams, victims are initially contacted via phone or email by a scammer who impersonates a public agency official. The victim is then informed through misrepresentations and threats that they must remit payment to resolve an issue specific to the scam.
The scammers will often direct victims to remit payment by sending cash or a check through the U.S. Mail. Victims may also be directed to remit payment via gift cards, virtual currency or wire transfer.
The Inspection Service will share tips for USPS employees and customers during National Consumer Protection Week. The agency’s website has more information.
Barksdale said it’s important for everyone to remain vigilant.
“It’s up to all of us to protect each other from fraud,” he said.