How low can these scammers go? Too low.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is alerting consumers this week that imposters are calling people, and saying they are from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), then telling them that they may be eligible for compensation from the fund. They have spoofed New York area codes to dupe people into thinking the call is coming from New York. They are then saying that in order to determine eligibility, they will need certain information from the victim, and go on to ask the individuals to provide them with personal information, including Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, mailing addresses, medical information and proof of working near the 9/11 exposure area.

Most of us can recognize a scam like this and will hang up on the caller with some words about how despicable they are for being involved in such a scheme and preying on people’s emotions. However, many people are falling for the scam and providing their personal information to the caller to see if they are indeed eligible for compensation.

If you receive a call like this, the FTC recommends that you hang up. It reminds us that the VCF will never ask for our Social Security number or our bank information. That type of information should never be given over the telephone to a strange caller.

To verify whether the caller is from the VCF, hang up and call the VCF directly at 1-855-885-1555.

Scammers will continue to come up with awful ideas to commit fraud over the telephone, because people fall for them. This one is extremely disgraceful. Heed the FTC’s warning and refrain from providing strangers any information over the telephone.