Fraud & Scams

Don’t Fall for This New CFPB Imposter Scam

Cameron Huddleston
Cameron Huddleston
March 15, 2024
Don’t Fall for This New CFPB Imposter Scam

If you get a call from someone claiming to be with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, hang up. It likely is a scam.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a warning that scammers are using names of its employees to fool consumers into handing over money or their personal information. Older adults, in particular, have been targeted by this scam. 

Here’s what to know about this CFPB imposter scam and how to avoid it.

How the CFPB imposter scam works

Scammers have been contacting people by phone and video call, claiming that they have an opportunity to participate in a class-action lawsuit or are owed money from a lawsuit, according to the CFPB. They seem legitimate because they are using names of actual CFPB employees when they call.

To collect the payout from the lawsuit, scammers claim that you must first pay taxes or another upfront fee. They might also ask for personal or sensitive information to confirm your identity.

[ See: Crooks Are Impersonating FBI Agents in This Zelle Scam ]

How to spot an imposter scam

The stories scammers use and methods of contact can vary. So, it’s important to be aware of how to identify whether someone claiming to be with a government agency is actually a scammer. According to the CFPB, you should look for these signs.

  • Unexpected winnings: Be wary of anyone contacting you to tell you that you’ve won money from a class-action lawsuit or sweepstakes or lottery you didn’t enter.
  • Upfront fees: The CFPB will never contact you to ask you to pay money or provide your personal information.
  • Pressure to act: Scammers will tell you that you have to act now because they don’t want you to take time to research or think about what you’re being asked to do. 
  • Incorrect contact information: If scammers contact you by email to notify you of winnings, check the email address of the sender. It might look real if it has the name of a government agency in it. But if it’s not from a .gov account, it is fake. 

How to avoid imposter scams

Take these steps to protect yourself from the latest CFPB imposter scam and other imposter scams that are circulating.

  • Hang up on unsolicited calls asking you for personal information or a payment. Government agencies won’t call out of the blue and ask you to provide your Social Security number, bank account information or credit card number.
  • Don’t respond to unsolicited emails or text messages, even if they appear to come from government agencies. And don’t click on any links in those messages because they could download malware onto your device or send you to a fraudulent website.
  • Don’t make upfront payments to collect prize winnings or lawsuit settlements. It’s a scam if you are told that you have to pay taxes or fees to collect your money.

To confirm whether someone contacting you is with the CFPB, contact the CFPB consumer call center at 855-411-2372 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. E.T. on weekdays. If you are expecting a payment from a CFPB enforcement case, you can check the status of that payment on the CFPB website.

Another proactive step you can take is to sign up for a financial safety service such as Carefull. Careful provides 24/7 account, credit and identity monitoring and alerts you to unusual transactions and signs of fraud. It also includes up to $1 million in identity theft insurance. Try Carefull for free for 30 days. 

[ Keep Reading: How to Spot Government Imposter Scams ]

Cameron Huddleston

Cameron Huddleston

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