You’ve just started a new business and want to ensure everything’s running smoothly. When someone calls you and claim they’re from the government, pointing out that you’re violating the law, you’ll probably do whatever it takes to fix it.

Slow down, take a step back and look at the situation. Government imposters are counting on that reaction because that’s their business.

The FTC asked a judge to stop D&S Marketing and allegedly tricking and intimidating small business into paying up to $200 for government regulation posters that are in fact free from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). The FTC says D&S telemarketers called newly registered small businesses, claiming to be with OSHA or another government agency . By using official-sounding names like the “Occupational Compliance and Safety Administration,” D&S allegedly told businesses businesses they were violating federal law because they hadn’t purchased posters about occupational safety, fist aid, labor law, or other topics. In fact, D&S threatened business with fines or a shut-down unless they bought posters immediately. Many unsuspecting business complied, paying as much as $200 for the otherwise free posters. The FTC says D&S made more than $1.3 million from this scheme.

Protecting yourself from government imposter scams:

  • Get it in writing.Government agencies typically contact your first via postal mail, rarely by phone or email.
  • Don’t believe the caller ID.Scammers can fake a phone number and area code easily.
  • Hang up if someone calls regarding money or personal information.If you think the caller might be telling the trust, call a number you know is genuine.