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Don’t let scammers take away your holiday cheer

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You’ve got meals to plan and gifts to buy. The last thing you need is to lose money to a scam. Here are three ways to avoid giving your hard-earned money to a scammer this holiday season.

Know how NOT to pay.

Is someone asking you to pay with an iTunes or Amazon gift card? Or telling you to wire money through services like Western Union or MoneyGram? Don’t do it. Scammers ask you to pay in ways that let them get the money fast — and make it nearly impossible for you to get it back. If you’re doing any holiday shopping online, know that credit cards have a lot of fraud protection built in.

Spot imposters.

Imposters pretend to be someone you trust to convince you to send money or personal information. They might say you qualified for a free government grant, but you have to pay a fee to get it. Or they might send phishing emails that seem to be from your bank asking you to “verify” your credit card or checking account number. Don’t buy it. Learn more about spotting imposter scams.

Make sure your money goes to real charities.

As a reformed Ebenezer Scrooge shows us year after year, the holidays are an important time to share with people in need. Unfortunately, sometimes charity scammers try to take advantage of your good will. And even when you’re dealing with legitimate charities, it’s still important to make sure a charity will spend your donation the way you want it to. Always check out a charity before you give.

Want a bonus tip? Sign up for free scam alerts from the FTC at, and read 10 Things You Can Do to Avoid Fraud.

If you spot a scam, report it at Your reports help the FTC and other law enforcement investigate scams and bring the people behind them to justice.



Just received the Western Union Scam check drawn on Spencer Savings Bank in Elmwood Park NJ.
Called their customer service and the check was in fact BOGUS. Signed by Benjamin Noland, which is a Ukrainian dating site, is a complete scam. I was scammed, lied to, and cheated out of several thousands of dollars over an 18 month period. A friend of mine went to Kiev to meet his "girlfriend" and she was no where to be found. He also tried to contact the woman I was corresponding with and she was not who she claimed to be and did not work where she said she did.
The site is a total scam that should be "off limits".

I was also recently scammed on this site charmdate. com by a young lady that wanted me to send her money to pay for her mom's cancer treatments. They are also a very expensive site requiring male clients to buy credits in order to send/receive emails or chat on the site. Emails will cost $4.00 to $7.00 per email and chats will cost at least $4.00 per 10 minutes depending on how many credits you buy. You also have to wait at least 3 months to able to obtain personal contact information to contact a client directly without having to go through the site. I have heard from the site datingcop. com that this site employs women to act as clients and and pays them a percentage of the revenue for communicating with the male clients.

Thank you for this info on scammers,I have been a victim this past September 2016 I have fallen into the iTunes scams applying for a loan online.They use a company name called AceCashloan that was unknown to the real one.The results are my credit score went down to poor, my bank was overdraft close to a thousand of dollars, creditors calling for their payments, and worst to worst rent haven't been paid since September. And have almost cause me to have a nervous break down. This have been a tremendous hardship on me that have effected others,and most of all I hope no one will never experience this.Thank you for bringing this important information out to those who read your article.

I'm grateful that you email me timely updates.

Thank you

You may want to look in to Dish Network , They are good Scammers

I recently got a phone call from somoeone who said she works for "CFS." She said someone has gotten a payday loan using my name and didnt pay it back. Said I would have to go too court to defend myself, OR I could repay the loan. I did not get such a loan, and suspected this was a scam. The woman sounded professional, however. And, she had the last four digits of my debit card, which really scared me. I did some research on her company and all I could find was scam reports. I got a copy of my credit report - NO ONE got a loan using my name. Duh! This woman had the nerve to call me back again yesterday. When I told her it was a scam, she started yelling at I hung up. Please - no one should be scammed like this! And I KNOW people do fall for this stuff.

I keep getting this same call. Have been getting it for years now. Now they call my work, my family and friends. I have filed complaints and nothing at all has been done.

Excellent post Amy!

The holiday season presents a virtual buffet of opportunity for scammers because they know people are in the gift giving mood.

It's impossible to calculate how much money scammers rake in because most crimes go unreported. The victims are either too embarrassed to admit they've been robbed or they do not know where to turn for help.

A good practice for safe charitable giving is “staying local”. Check out the many well-known charities represented in your hometown through hospitals, places of worship, or other similar civic organizations. Supporting local charities offers a level of comfort and familiarity and their reputations can be more easily verified.

Scammers - Scumbags The lowest of lowest dirtbags

ADD the ability to forward an article such as this one without copying the web site.

Thanks from FT Worth TX

Tried to send an arrest warrant that I received from an Ace collection agency but it said invalid address. How can I send this threatening emails to somebody who will listen? They keep saying that I owe for a "loan" but refuse to give me a date as to when tjis was deposited into my bank account. They say that when I pay they will send me that information as their company forms allow. They say they have 14 identifying points but refuse to give me a date. I have my bank statements and this has been going on for three years but getting worse. Tgey are threatening to hold my SS and pention checks also.

The people who are sending these emails could be fake debt collectors. Some scammers pretend to be debt collectors and try and scare you into sending money. If they are fakes, they can't take your Social Security or pension checks.

Here are some signs a "collector" might be a fake. He:

  • tells you to pay a debt you don't recognize, or don't owe;
  • won't tell you his address or phone number;
  • asks for your financial or personal information;
  • pressures you or tries to scare you into paying, or threatens to have you arrested, or says he'll report you to law enforcement

After a legitimate debt collector contacts you, he must send you a written “validation notice” telling you how much money you owe, within five days. The notice must include the name of the creditor you owe the money to, and explain what to do if you think you don't owe the money.

If the person calling or emailing you won't send a validation notice, he probably is not a legitimate debt collector. He probably is a fake.

Go to the police!

This past week in my email received an ad for Amazon to come to the site to shop. Before I went to Amazon I looked it over carefully, the ad was for Amazon Easter Holiday buy now. How stupid are they..I use Amazon yes but I go there they don't come to me normally and I know what season it is and it isn't spring.

You need a scam alert about people hijacking your computer and trying to sell you a service to take it off. Just unplug your computer to take it off.

I receive scam emails in my email 4-5 times a day and send them to Don't know how they handle it, but it seems to work.

Most of my email SPAM is correctly routed to my SPAM folder by Gmail. Sometimes I check for the very few wayward emails. 

It never fails to amaze me how obviously bogus looking the government and big retailer sending email IDs are: VA Eligibility....c5j3r4oy2@ mx4.tearsforfearz. com IRS Debt Help.....ul8x5@ dlp achieveallyourdreams. com IRS Announces New Programs for Taxes Owed Medicare Enrollment Period martin@ portsaintmartin. com

Note: all of the above should have ended with "gov" and sound more government like in their email IDs. A month a go I was getting emails offering $50 gift cards from Amazon and Costco; both of which I shop with. I checked the sending IDs: neither was from who they claimed to be from: not nor

Also, this is not how these two businesses would act. If the business entity is not one you do business with usually, treat them like a door to door salesman; ignore them. If it's a business name where you shop; compare their email ID with past verified email IDs already in your email in-box, to verify a questionable email.

The latest scam I got was from a local state purchasing director soliciting bids for computer equipment. I responded to the bid, then was very surprised it came back so fast advising me that I won the bid . Normally it takes a while to get notified an award. I almost got scammed! But I was smart enough to check all the info on the purchase order. The name of the officer was real but the email address was almost similar ( a .gov vs a .gov-org are not the same thing), I still wanted to believe so I check but the delivery address when I Googled it was a rambler beaten old shack in the middle of WV!!. I knew it was a scam. So I told this officer its been delivered. Now the poor scammer can just wait and sit thinking a delivery is on its way! its fun to fool them.

I received a text from "Bank of America"saying my atm card was frozen and to call the number provided and give my account number to unfreeze my account. I ddidn' bother replying as I don't HAVE a BoD atm card or account.
I also received a voice mail from a foreign accent threatening me with arrest by NYPD for unpaid parking tickets and to ccall Detective mumble mumble. Didn't call him either as II'e never been within 500 miles of NYC, aand I haven't driven anywhere east of Chicago.

I'm grateful that you email me for updates, i received today a Neteller Scam check drawn on Spencer Savings Bank in Elmwood Park.

I advertised an Alabama college-branded dog bed for sale on Craigslist. Received a text response from a purported buyer in a NYC area code offering to mail me a money order for the amount PLUS $30 for my trouble to hold on to the item until they could "arrange pickup." (For a dog bed?) Got me thinking it was a scam. Said to provide my FULL name and address so they could mail the money order. I replied, asking for the breed of the dog and their connection to Alabama. Got a reply that they were too busy to answer, but again asked for my full name and address. I responded "no thanks" and terminated the text exchange.

Here is an email I received today - From: "Mr. John Koskinen"

Subject: YOUR ATM CARD WILL BE SHIPPED TO YOUR ADDRESS Date: November 28, 2016 at 3:19:55 PM EST Reply-To: mrjohnkoskinen09@ citromail. hu Fund Reconciliation Department
Internal Revenue Service United States Department of the Treasury  In adherence to the specifications of the United States Government, the management of the Fund Reconciliation Department here in Virginia, USA, wishes to let you know that your fund totaling the amount of $10.5 million is long over due, every precept regarding your funds has been concluded.

You will be receiving your funds from this office any moment from now. We shall keep document report of every transaction done here in the USA. Investigations gathered by the Fund Regulatory Agency {IMF}, shows you have been receiving numerous emails from several offices requesting you to claim your funds. In some cases, you tried a lot but still the transfer or delivery was not completed due to one reason or the other. The fact is that you are stuck between the chains which make it impossible for you to differentiate the real office from its counterfeit. I know you will be expecting to hear from me regarding this delivery after the last attempt to get it over. The fact is that I understand you're been into so many transaction and I decided to stay clear so that you will understand the truth about everything going on within the internet.

We learn that the only real office that has ever contacted you in respect to your funds is Federal Reserve Bank of New York. It was brought to our notice that the Chairperson of the Federal Reserve Bank, Janet Louise Yellen, made voluntary effort to have your funds transferred into your account or delivered to you in form of an AMT Visa Card but couldn't complete the process due to some fall-out on your ends as you couldn't meet up with the fee demand for the transfer, so they gave up on you. In a more proper and legalized manner, the Fund Reconciliation Department and the Federal Reserve Bank solicited us to allow your fund to be written as a Cashier's Check or Credited as an ATM Visa Card, online transfer or Check and have it shipped to your home address through USPS Priority Mail Express.

This option is considered to be the best, easiest and the most efficient way to have you get your long awaited United Nations approved funds. For the purpose to avoiding double payment on your end, we had an agreement with the IMF and the Federal Reserve Bank to document every charge necessary until your funds worth $10.5 million get to you. The analytical group of the two offices mentioned above estimated an accurate sum of $180 as the Fund Release Order Certificate. So it was constituted and officially submitted to the Court of Justice that “the only” charge you will ever pay before your package leaves our office here in USA is $180 which is the fee for your Procurement File to be signed and sent to us here in the USA after which you’ll never spend a dime again.

We are renowned and reputable USA Agency and we don't like undocumented processes. This is why it has to be written down on paper that you will never pay any other money. The $180 is for "Fund Release Order Certificate". The Chairperson of the Federal Reserve Bank, Janet Louise Yellen will be coming to Virginia in few days time, so she will have the Power of Attorney to stand in and sign on your behalf and bring along with her your Procurement File to us here to enable us post your loaded ATM Visa Card, or Check/Check to your mailing address without any hitch. Or Transfer your funds to your bank account depending on the choice you make while replying this email. Therefore, the days of you being subjected to paying fees after fees is over as that is the case with some corrupt officials down there in Africa, whom always strive to subject beneficiaries to hard bureaucratic bottle-necks, thereby making it impossible for most innocent USA citizens and the likes to claim what rightfully belongs to them. Thank God that your fund is here in Virginia, USA.

We have decided to follow the USA constitutions so as to ensure that your money is in your hands this week. Without mincing words, it will be desirous if you consciously adhere to the above instruction by remitting the Fund Release Order Certificate is calculated to be $180. You are advised to kindly reply this email with the below details enclosed to help ensure safe mailing of your ATM Visa Card or Check: Kindly Still Update Us With: 1. Your Name which you prefer we use when shipping your ATM Visa Card or Check 2. Your Current mailing (Delivery) Address where your ATM Visa Card or Check should be mailed 3. You’re Private Mobile Number for the Priority Express Mail to Contact you when they arrive at your door step. Once again, we are sorry for the inconveniences you might have encountered in the past, in pursuit of your funds. Now that this office, Fund Reconciliation Department is involved, you will have no cause to ever regret again as soon as you adhere to the above given instructions. Yours Sincerely, IRS Commissioner, Mr. John Koskinen

Someone set up a fake website for Sears appliance service recently and took money from my wife over the phone. I quickly contacted the bank after she told me about the appointment that she set up and told her never to pay over the phone. Always have an invoice mailed or left in-person after a service has been performed.

I was contacted by Susan Cullen (phone number 7172077134) about money I have won. She gave me a federal case number, and said I need insurance to have funds delivered. Find insurance brokers was company recommended, phone number 8669787461.scam or legit?

If you get a surprise phone call, and the person says you won money, it's usually a scam. If they say you have to send money, or buy something (like insurance) before you can get your prize, and they tell you who to call and who to pay, it's probably a scam. If you call the "company" they tell you to call, and send money, you're probably going to lose money. And you won't get any prize.

Ordered 2 Fuzzy Wonderz from company with this name and never received the product. On line search revealed no one has received one. This is a rip off imitation of the hard to find Hatchamal toy and most certainly fraud. Furthermore I paid with a debit card that now has been hacked I believe these people are thiefs. Anyone who has ordered this item should monitor their accounts very closely.


So many scammed today it's hard sometimes. I have been a victim to identity thiefts & fraudulent misbehavior. I have 2 voice messages saying the IRS. Scam. I'm getting tougher on scam attemps. Now I just received a letter about full payment to the IRS.wants the payment due & it gives the amount due. It saying you have 8 days to pay or they will,take money from my bank account. Which it is the right way they do it.IRS doesn't know what bills you pay? Let alone care, when back taxes are owed.They take it all. But, if you can prove that all your money is used to live on? & you can prove it? They have to put it back.The letters have IRS information on it.calling the IRS.will be your best bet.They cannot touch your living expenses.You have to proof and show where all money goes too. It helps to work out a payment plan with the IRS. But one missed or late payments promised? Pay up it all. It's there rules once you make a deal with remember do it through till the last payment.Our face real problems.? I called the IRS. About the letter? & spent 1 hour on the phone with them? & they were mad because I took their time up.Its a tough time on both ends but I let the guy get mad but I didn't want a scam,if I can Stop! Thatscam. It's well worth it Sorry Scams not no more scams my direction. I stopped the scammer on the spot...¡ I'm learning not to trust no one..? L.T.D.

Sorry ftc.

I just received a phone call that falsely stated there was a warrant out for my arrest for not showing up for a court summuns for jury duty. He even gave me warrant numbers and said I had to come with a voucher from a Riteaide store. They wanted $982 said I had to get the voucher and come to an address that turns out to be a homeless shelter. They claimed to be a Deputy Marshall for Oregon and answered the phone that way and also claimed to be recording the conversation but there was no beep on the line. I hung up called the local police and am now turning them into the Department of Justice. Don't buy it.

So I just ordered 2 hatchimals and an nes classic from an online site that used the square. I'm now nervous bc some people are saying the prices I paid were different than they received. Can someone help me if it's not legit? The site is called flaunt yourself. They sent me an email saying that shipping details were on its way but I'm not confident. I know I may have been stupid but these items were the only things my kids wanted. Please help.

If you ordered something with your credit card and you don't get it you can call your credit card and make a dispute. This FTC article explains how to dispute a charge on your credit card.

Get information FROM the scammer and make out a report with your local police!

Number to beware,new scam is stand-in baths for the mobility impaired,phone number that shows up is 603-505-8830,is a New Hampshire number. Same rigamarole about talking to a manager after you answer few quick questions,robo calls 3 times in two minutes. DONT ANSWER.

I was reporting a Facebook scam where one say there is a new program to help pay bills. The scammer uses the name Zandra Williams,phone number 202-524-2795 and then she texts back and ask if you are applying for the federal government SSI monetary commission. Then she asks for your name, address, age, email address, sex, text number,occupation,monthly income, and ones parents names.then you are approved but you have to choose the amount of money in the winnings to send $1000 to receive $60000. I was presented with a facebook award along with serial number, claim number, ticket number and batch number but when i asked where and how do i send the fee, the reply was thru money gram and the funding department was located in Nigeria. So i told the person that i pass because the program do not sound legit and she kept saying that it was legit.She also have one to sign their signature to say that they will keep this program secretly from family and friends. I did not send no money to her but she has my information and my signature.


I went through the exact same thing. Send them $800 and FedEx will deliver a check for $20,000. This money is a government grant that I don't have to pay back.I ask God is this true? The Lord said it was Satan playing games and told me to leave it alone. Thank You Lord!!!!

Got a phone call saying I owed a debt that I haven't heard anything from in 3 years, she gave me 3 payment options all of which involved me paying hundreds of dollars by the end of the week, she said if I didn't pay anything right now a sheriff deputy would come to my house and serve me with contempt of court papers. Don't I have to go to court first in order to be in contempt?

I found out in August that 1 Bank Account and 1 credit union was being hit by Paypal and Ebay and other entities. Also numerous credit cards and I was NEVER NOTIFIED!! CHARGED OVER $1,000.00 in overdraft fees to date and interest charges about $125.00 each card per month. None of these institutions notified me of any suspicious activity!!! I always paid my credit cards off every month. I always paid my bills and kept my bank accounts clean for 16 years! I have been fighting this now still today! The Credit Union is telling me that I will NOT GET ANY MONEY BACK DATING OVER 30 DAYS???
HELP! Can this be happening to me? I was robbed also in the last 6 months and life has been a nightmare. Fighting to stay above water over illnesses, family surgeries and too much for me to handle...Now I am in a bad situation because as an elderly person with progressive health issues and sent to ER 3 times due to Panic Attacks and other illness from this attack on me. My credit score was about 875. Always good!! Now, under 400. I cant focus and dont know how to fight this that has happened to me, I thought our banks and credit card companies stayed informed with their creditors of suspicious activity!!! What shall I do? I need help bad! Cant pay bills now!

You can report identity theft at

You can provide as much information as you have about the theft and the accounts that were affected. The website will create personalized letters and forms you can send to banks, credit card companies and other businesses you need to inform. You can print the report you need to show to law enforcement.

You can create a personal account, create a checklist of steps and track your progress all in one place.

so there is this (CHARITY) called AHR and they are nothing to do with (CHARITY) it is more about gaming you off and you really dont need that now do you so i applied for some help with these people by the american hope resources more like american lies resources try to file the app nope it aint happening there on the app there is no place to confirm recievement of your app no phone # no land based address nothing to confirm anything about the help you have asked for its a joke its a stupid stupid joke most of the time a scam is easy to detect but not this not until the very end the very last thing you see while on the site you get there and boom there it is no way to file your app that you had hoped would at least change some of your life but no way hosea your barking up the wrong tree here go somewhere else and forget about this headache you dont need it at all they promise you the world and then dont do anything at all nothing so forget it and cut your losses and move on to something else worth your time and effort and the big thing is it take about an hour to fill out everything to get it wright and then at the end there is nothing i mean nothing nowhere to place your order for assistance that you need it is a real shame that people like this are turned lose on society and then we as a people are to figure out who had a knife and willing to use it on us to fulfill his wants to make himself feel good that he scammed us out of our hard earned money we all should have the ftc on speed dial so when we find a cheap scammer we can turn them in as soon as we find them the only other alternative is to make our neighborhoods gated and we would have to have our phone lines and internet lines with filters on them is a sheltered life where we are headed it appears so if things dont change so if you want a real headache dial up their website it will for sure give you one AHR.COM and apply for things that will never come true they are the essence of liars and cheats and i am sure that if the app had gone through i could then ad thieves to that list because just like every other scam is they then would be asking for money they are not getting mine not yours ether if your smart

I agree any word when these scammers going to prison?

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