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Learn How To Spot Impostor Scams

Hang up if...Calls from impostor scammers can be very upsetting to people who receive them.

Impostors may pose as people in authority – IRS agents, court officials, police, debt collectors or attorneys – and they usually claim their intended victim is about to be arrested or taken to court. Scammers also may pose as a victim’s relative (a grandchild, for example) and claim to need bail money to get out of jail after an accident.

It’s not just older people who get scammed by impostors. New graduates have been scammed by bogus debt collectors demanding payment on student loans, and middle-aged victims have lost thousands of dollars apiece to IRS scams.

The con artists who make these calls are often pros, and they can be convincing actors. Scammers posing as a grandchild may sob as they plead for help. Bogus IRS agents may invent case or badge numbers to sound more official.

Scammers want people to panic, because panic interferes with their ability to spot red flags. It also makes them more likely to agree when scammers suggest they can immediately resolve the problem by paying with a money wire or iTunes gift card.

Know the facts:

Scam-proof your family:


The Department of Consumer Affairs’ mission is to make sure people who live or shop in Cuyahoga County get what they pay for.