Fake Government Agency Scams - How to Recognize Them and What to Do

Fake Government Agencies - How to Recognize Them and How to Report Them

If you received an email, letter or phone call from a government agency (typically the IRS or FBI) and it instructs you to wire, Western Union or MoneyGram money someplace, or follow a link and enter information - don't believe it!  The U.S. government would never instruct anyone to use those methods to pay any bill or carry out a financial transaction, particularly with an overseas bank or agency.

There are many scams circulating right now, including those using the names of the FBI and the IRS.

Here are some examples of these scams. And see this page for the IRS's own list of the top 12 tax scams.

How to Recognize a Fake Government Agency

Let's look at some actual situations, experiences and in some cases, emails people received and see how we can spot that they are scams.

Sample Government Agency Scams

Scammers claiming to be from the FBI

Scammers claiming to be from the IRS (Internal Revenue Service)


If you receive a call from this number or any group that claims to represent a political party or elected official, take down their information, including the contact's name, phone number, etc. Do NOT give them any personal or financial information, especially not a credit card, checking or bank account number, passport number, etc.

Next, look up the direct phone or email address for the person or party they claim to represent and call them , as we did.  Ask them if this group represents them.  In some cases, they may well be legitimate, but you won't know if you don't check on them first.

And please let us know about any suspicious calls or emails you receive.  We look for patterns so that we can alert the authorities and victims to new scams, before it is too late!

How to Report a  all types of FBI, IRS and tax scams:

In the United States contact:

U.S. Secret Service
Financial Crimes Division
1800 G Street, NW
Room 942
Washington, DC 20223
Phone: (202) 435'5850
Fax: (202) 435'5031
Or contact the local U.S. Secret Service Field Office.


Contact the Foreign Commercial Service (FSC) at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If there is no FCS office, contact the American Citizens Services Unit of the Consular Section or the Regional Security Office.

For a comprehensive list of national and international agencies to report scams, see this page.



For a comprehensive list of national and international agencies to report scams, see this page.