Scammers are impersonating FTC employees to steal money, agency warns

FILE - A woman uses her smarphone.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is warning the public about scammers who are pretending to be employed by the FTC to steal money. 

Consumers have called the agency to report scammers who used real FTC employee names to then try to convince them to move their money to "protect it." 

So far, the median losses consumers have suffered due to FTC employee impersonators has increased from $3,000 in 2019 to $7,000 in 2024, according to the agency. 

The FTC will never tell consumers to move their money to another location to protect it. The agency will also never tell people to go to a Bitcoin ATM or tell them they need to buy gold bars and they absolutely do not tell people to withdraw cash to give to another person. 

"It will also never contact consumers to demand money, threaten to arrest or deport them, or promise a prize. If someone claims to work for the FTC and makes any of these demands or threats, they are a scammer," the FTC said in a news release. 

Scammers who impersonate government agencies and businesses have cost consumers billions in recent years, according to the FTC. 

These types of scams saw  an increase in reports in 2023 and to address these scams, the FTC is finalizing the Government and Business Impersonation Rule which will give the agency " stronger tools to fight scammers and return money to consumers harmed by impersonators." 

For tips on how to identify a possible impersonator, check the FTC’s website. 

This story was reported from Los Angeles.