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Contact Retirement Retirement Information Center

fraud

OPM has recently learned of an aggressive marketing push targeting Federal annuitants. Companies are offering a cash payment in exchange for a portion, or all, of your future annuity payments generally much less than their long-term worth, and typically charging high interest rates and fees. We have specifically received numerous phone calls from one company in particular asking us to not just verify annuity amounts, but also banking information, including routing numbers and account numbers. Our suspicions were confirmed by our Inspector General’s office who discovered this company is currently under investigation by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

CFPB lists three things you can do to protect your retirement annuity:

  1. Avoid loans with high fees and interest. Pension advance companies may not always advertise their fees and interest rates, but you will certainly feel them in your bottom line. Before you sign anything, learn what you are getting and how much you are giving up.
  2. Don’t sign over control of your benefits. Companies sometimes arrange for monthly payments to be automatically deposited in a newly created bank account so the company can withdraw payments, fees and interest charges from the account. This leaves you with little control.
  3. Don’t buy life insurance that you don’t want or need. Pension advance companies sometimes require consumers to sign up for life insurance with the company as the consumer’s beneficiary. If you sign up for life insurance with the pension advance company as your beneficiary, you could end up footing the bill, whether you know it or not. Go to https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/consumer-advisory-3-pension-advance-traps-to-avoid/ for more information.

Also feel free to report any suspected scams to OPM’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) at:

  • OIG Hotline Number:

    877-499-7295

  • Or Write To:

    OPM Office of the Inspector General

    1900 E Street NW Room #6400

    Washington, DC 20415-1100

  • Or Submit a Complaint Form:

    Hotline Complaint Form


Be on the Alert for an aggressive phone scam that targets Federal annuitants: The scammer claims to be an OPM employee. The scammer threatens to end the annuitant’s retirement, threatens that a “magistrate” will criminally prosecute, and demands an immediate payment. This is a government impostor scam – Do not send money.

Any communication of this type is NOT from an OPM official. OPM will not make such calls. Scams like this one are carried out by skilled impostors, who may sound convincing. They may use real names and titles – and they may know a lot about their targets, including personally identifiable information. The scammers may alter the caller ID to make it look like OPM is calling. Scammers may also attempt to use email to “phish” for more information. Finally, these impostors may leave an “urgent” callback request.  Don’t fall for it. 

Signs of a SCAM (and these are actions OPM does NOT do):

  1. Call to demand immediate payment.

  2. Demand that you pay a debt first before any appeal.

  3. Request that you pay using gift cards, prepaid debit or credit cards, wire transfers, Western Union, MoneyGram, or PayPal, etc.

  4. Request for credit or debit card numbers over the phone or by email.

  5. Threaten referral to a Magistrate, the police, or law enforcement.

If you suspect the caller is an impostor:

  • Do not engage with the callers. Simply hang-up.

  • Note the date and time of the call, as well as the caller’s phone number.

  • Report it to OPM’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG), https://www.opm.gov/our-inspector-general/

For Help and to Report suspected fraud:

  1. Call the OIG Hotline: 877-499-7295.

  2. Click to report online, Hotline Complaint Form

  3. Write: OPM OIG

    1900 E Street NW, Room 6400

    Washington, DC 20415-1100

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a report on government impostor scams, https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0048-government-impostor-scams.  You may also report suspected fraud to the FTC at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/


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