By Nathalie Voit

The latest scam? Impersonating an FTC Commissioner.

In a consumer alert posted to its website on Aug. 4, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warned the general public that con artists are pretending to be officials from the FTC.  

The consumer protection agency said scammers have been posing as Commissioner Alvaro Bedoya from the FTC, Commissioner Noah Phillips, Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, Commissioner Christine Wilson, and even FTC Chair Lina Khan.

To dupe unsuspecting victims, callers are giving out fake badge numbers, fake prizes, and threatening arrest.

If their ploy appears to work, the scammers will try to access a victim’s bank account.

“They might tell you to pay them by loading money on gift cards, buying cryptocurrency, or using a money transfer service like MoneyGram or Western Union,” FTC official Andrew Rayo said. “They could say it’s a way to avoid jail, pay a fine, settle an unpaid Amazon balance, or even collect a prize. But it’s a scam.”

The FTC is alerting consumers that real agency officials would never call, email, text, or message you on social media asking for money. Additionally, the FTC–or any other government agency, for that matter–would never call, email, text, or message you on social media to threaten you with arrest. Finally, the Commission said that anyone who contacts you out of the blue demanding you to pay is a scammer.