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Alert: Fraudsters Impersonate Government Officials

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) is alerting the public to a scheme to defraud the government and steal money from the American people.

This scheme involves contact by phone, email, social media (such as Facebook) or letter from someone pretending to be from a government agency, such as the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Although the precise message may vary, the caller or writer provides his or her name and a fake employee ID, and then typically tells you that you will receive "government grant money."

These scammers will make a variety of claims about your eligibility for a government grant in an attempt to appear legitimate before asking for personal or financial information, such as a Social Security number or bank account number. They may also ask you to send a check or wire transfer to cover a "processing fee."

If you receive such a call, hang up immediately! If you receive such a contact via social media, email or letter in the mail, do not respond! Call 1-800-HHS-TIPS (1-800-447-8477; TTY 1-800-377-4950).

Remember: do not respond to these criminal schemes. Learn about common false claims scammers make, alert others about this scheme, and remind teenagers and children living in your household not to provide strangers with family or personal information.

Do not respond to this and other schemes that try to obtain your personal information. If you receive such a call or message, call 1-800-HHS-TIPS or contact another law enforcement agency.