US government agency warns scammers are spoofing it — so make sure you don’t pick up this call

A man in an office on a phone call.
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the government agency looking after cybersecurity protections, has issued a warning it is being impersonated by scammers.

In an alert, the organization said impersonation scams were on the rise, and that they often use the names and titles of government employees.

“The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is aware of recent impersonation scammers claiming to represent the agency,” the warning says. “As a reminder, CISA staff will never contact you with a request to wire money, cash, cryptocurrency, or use gift cards and will never instruct you to keep the discussion secret.”

Reporting the crime

CISA did not detail what kind of scam the attackers were performing, but previous reports mentioned that the attackers would often claim the victims’ funds were at risk. They would then ask the victim to pull the money out of the “risky” bank and into a “secure” government vault, which is nothing more than just a different bank account, belonging to the scammers.

In one particularly brazen incident, the attackers even convinced the victims to buy gold and other precious metals, instead of keeping cash. They then sent couriers to their houses to pick up the parcels, for “safe keeping”. While not impossible, gold bars and other physical objects are somewhat harder to track, compared to cash being wired from one account to another. 

Usually, the scammers would target more senior citizens, those who are more gullible and more prone to action.

CISA says that in no scenario should users rush into any action, particularly to pay the caller, in any currency. Instead, the victims should write down the phone number from which the call came. They should then hang up and call CISA directly to report the fraud attempt.

More from TechRadar Pro

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.