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Avoiding imposter scams [video]

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We hear first-hand stories from people around the country about how scammers are targeting people in every community. And while the techniques the scammers use may vary, there’s one thing these scams have in common: sometimes, the first step in avoiding a scam is talking about it with someone you trust.

That’s exactly what Maria Juarez did. Maria, who lives with her husband and two kids in a small Texas town, got a phone call one day. The caller, who claimed to be an attorney, told Maria there was a court order against her and that she had to pay hundreds of dollars to settle an old debt. If she didn’t pay, there would be dire consequences.  The caller threatened to have her arrested and to involve immigration authorities.

Maria was so terrified she was tempted to send the money immediately so the problem would go away. But something didn’t feel right to her, so she talked to her husband and son. Her son found online complaints about the company and was convinced it was a scam. That’s when they decided to report the company to the FTC.

Thanks to Maria’s report, and hundreds of others like it, the FTC took action. The court stopped the fraud and the company agreed to shut down its operation. Maria is grateful that she confided in her son. And we’re grateful to her and so many others who report fraud to the FTC.

Now, you can hear Maria’s story in her own words. Moments ago, Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, gave a sneak preview at the Legislative Summit hosted by the National Association of Hispanic Publishers and the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Watch the video to learn more about avoiding imposter scams and to hear Maria’s story, in her own words (the video is in Spanish with English subtitles.) If you have a similar story about an imposter scam, tell us about it. Report it to the FTC at or call 1-877-FTC-HELP.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


Thanks so much for continuing to try to help we senior citizens who are exposed to these scams almost daily...keep it up.

This information is Interesting courage

Gen Henry Walker from the US Army. They try to take money. In the begin With was a beautiful story of love. My son say me to be careful. And i discussão whit him. I vê all the emails, names, i send money.

I read nothing in this story about the scammer being arrested, jailed and forced to refund money stolen from victims

How do we stop them i getting one where is states I owe for student loan payments and i am being served by answering the phone and I am to send the payments today I know that's a scam I never took out student loan and the other is IRS daying I owe back taxes again it says you are served by answering my phone or one a agent will knock on my door and arrest me !! I like are you serious I have a call block on my phone for they must have thousands of different phone # 's I research every # that calls me and most are robo calling and when you have heart conditions and your phone rings all day long with unknown name or no message I am now not answering these calls I don't know and if they leave a message with a name ( probably fake ) I am now reporting every call I get and I am on the do not call register so beware all they are scammers

and of course being an election year I am getting for donations for people I have never heard of I guess thet think because we are seniors we are senile are stupid The three big "S " well here is another S yiu can add to seniors senile stupid is Scammers we are aware and stop trying to take ones $$ get a job and one day you may endes up being scammed yourself !!! Please all I know not everyone has access or even know how to work a computer but for thosr who know your mom dad grandparents don't do internet keep them informed you can help your family protect them from being ripped off if they get a call from a number they don't know don't answer the call just about everyone has caller ID and if they don't get it for them it's worth the tiny amout monthly if any cost to protect your family the elders and I am no expert but after so many calls you start looking up the # & a computer is more of great tool then reading emails or fb the search engines are powerful for help and keep you informed Thank goodness the lady sons was there to stop her from falling victim to yet another scammer

If this was truly a fraud (and I would think it is), how is it that the penalty was the company "agreeing to shut down its operations." It would seem if fraud was the outcome, someone should be going to jail or paying a huge fine. If shutting down is the only penalty, it is no wonder that such "frauds" keep happening.

I'm glad that you caught them.


Scammers target people from different communities in unique ways. The FTC serves people nationwide and provides extensive free resources to help you protect yourself and your community from fraud.

You'll find more than 100 videos and audio tips in English on the Video & Media page, and hundreds of articles. Enter a word in the 'Search' button at upper right of this page, or use the list of topics on the left.

Thanks you very much. ...

How can this stop at an agreement from the perpetrator to stop. In the UK, the perpetrator would be paying and potentially doing jail time.

The FTC is a civil enforcement agency. The FTC’s civil enforcement actions shut down fraud and obtain restitution for consumers or disgorgement to the U.S. Treasury. In some cases, the FTC partners with the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Attorneys and other federal and state criminal law enforcers to prosecute criminal activity.

Great to hear that theres support for everyone and for differet nationalities

This is a really good video with great information for those who are bilingual. Thank you.

Great educating information for people everywhere who might be plagued by these greedy, unscrupulous people. Thanks for the information.

These Fraud people should be serving serious prison time, that is not mentioned in the story.

Outstanding!! Now if you could get some publicity like this on cable and/or broadcast media. THIS is what will get you more and better quality scam reports.

Is National Grant a scam? They offer $180,000 but you have to pay $15,000

If you have to pay money to claim a “free” government grant, it isn’t really free. A real government agency won’t ask you to pay a processing fee for a grant that you have already been awarded — or to pay for a list of grant-making institutions. The names of agencies and foundations that award grants are available for free at any public library or on the Internet. The only official access point for all federal grant-making agencies is

If you think you've been a victim of a grant scam, file a complaint with the FTC at You also can report it to your state Attorney General. Read Government Grant Scams for more.

Regarding National Grant, please see the FTC press release from 2004, FTC: Consumers Should Not Take Free Money Offers for Granted.

is dollartab.fake

Thanks to the FTC, a current and ongoing consumer scam identified by the IRS will be stopped. If you get a call from 850-419-2860 saying they are from the IRS, they are NOT. The IRS has posted a consumer alert on March 14, 2016 at the website

I gotta a call saying I had 24 hours to pay a debt from a collections agency working for wells Fargo Bank or I was being arrested and charged for a felony. Company is US National and her name Angela Silvers 678 203 2204 is this real

If you know you have a debt with Wells Fargo Bank, contact the bank and ask about your account. If you have a debt, ask the bank if it is using a company to collect debts.

If you don't have a debt, the caller could be a fake debt collector. This FTC article about Fake Debt Collectors provides tips to help you handle calls like the one you describe.

"Officer" Brian John, called from 206-899-3509 (Seattle, WA) several times a day for the past week. I blocked the number, and received two more today from the same Brian John from a number in New York, NY 347-817-7659. I called the 347 number back and got someone who sounded EXACTLY like the caller who left voice messages as Brian John stating I was calling K&A Reporting Agency? When I confronted him and said he sounded just like Brian John, he got hostile. I asked for his IRS badge number. He said: 39583 and that his name was Officer Carl (Karl) Cooper and that Brian John was on another call. I said why are you scamming people saying you are the IRS - he backtracked and said he WAS the IRS. I said, well you answered the phone with K&A Reporting... hung up on him after I got his badge number again.

Someone called me today from the same phone number provided by the above commenter, New York, NY 347-817-7659. He claimed he was from the IRS and that I owe back taxes which I am sure is not true. He recited to me my name, an old address, and my email address. It is disconcerting that this person has my personal information. This is clearly a scam.

Claims he's from Saudi Arabia & India (Ruby Earth Products FZC tel. no: 1-888-213-6046 971-55-9070355. Ruby Earth Products FZC & Rep Infosolutions Tel. no: 213-283-0075. I opened a business at his business's will do business in the IT, software, web hosting, web designing, etc. I opened a new company Rep Info LLC will work with there two companies. Shaun Williams is from Rep InfoSolutions in India where the majority of the work is done (states 80 Technicians).

I have been experiencing something for 4 to 5 years. It is like the most terrifying form of identity theft. I was talking to someone about it and he said they are "imposters". They are people dressing up like people I know. It is so terrifying I'm not sure what to do with myself and can't get police to act on it.

There's an International Free Lottery scam on facebook. Don't send them money, contact the FTC , and Attorney General's office in your state (about it). I had a home intruder once, and had to file a complaint about the city police department on how they were handling it, and how they treated me. Best to avoid scams if possible.

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