Especially during the holi-daze, it can be easy to let our safeguards down and fall prey to scammers looking to make a quick buck.  Trademark applicants and registrants interacting with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) often find themselves inundated with scam and spam communications, via email, snail mail, and even via the phone. To protect your identity and wallet, below are some safeguards you should use all year long to protect yourself against scammers pretending to be USPTO employees.

  1. Be Aware: The USPTO has confirmed that scammers have been “Caller ID Spoofing” at least one USPTO phone number, i.e., 571-272-6500 when calling applicants/registrants to obtain fees (that are not in fact due), and other personal and banking information.Apparently, the scammers claim to be from the USPTO and, in an attempt to sound official, recite publicly available information about your application/registration found in the USPTO’s Trademark Status & Document Retrieval System. Then, the scammer will attempt to get victims to reveal personal information such as birthdates, social security numbers, and payment information, including bank account or credit card numbers.
  2. Do Not Provide Any Payment or Personal Information on the Phone or via Email: USPTO employees will NEVER ask for or take credit card payment information over the phone, because all payments associated with applications must be submitted via the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). In addition, the USPTO does not require sensitive information such as birth dates, social security numbers, or employer identification numbers.
  3. Practice Caution and Verify: Should your Caller ID indicate that you are receiving a call from the USPTO, we recommend that you let the call go to voicemail. USPTO employees will leave their name, phone number, the application number about which they are calling, and a brief message with the reason for their call. If you are represented by counsel, please share this information with the attorney handling your application. If you are not represented by counsel, before returning the call, you can verify if the caller is an employee by using the USPTO’s online Employee Locator at
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