• Special to the Leader & Times
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) is alerting the public to the latest scheme to defraud the government and steal money from the American people.
This scheme involves contact (by phone, e-mail or letter) from someone pretending to be from a government agency, such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). 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” as an incentive for paying taxes on time. The caller will then ask for personal or financial information, such as a Social Security number or bank account number. The caller 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 an email or letter in the mail, do not respond.
Call 1-800-HHS-TIPS (1-800-447-8477; TTY 1-800-377-4950) or email the HHS fraud hotline at
Remember: do not respond to these criminal schemes. Alert others about this scheme, and remind teenagers and children living in your household not to provide strangers with family or personal information.
Be smart. 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.