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Fake “FTC investigation” email making the rounds again

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Scams are like weeds: they crop up, are treated and disappear, only to find a way to pop up again. Such is the case with a scam we’ve written about before. In this scam, the fraudster pretends to be from the FTC and emails people, telling them they’re under investigation and to click on a link for more information.

If you get one of these emails, stop. Do not click the link. The federal government doesn’t tell people they are under investigation by email.  Sometimes, the emails are phishing scams designed to collect personal information, including your email and IP addresses — information that could be used to commit identity theft. Other times, the links are used to install malware on your computer, which can make your device crash, or let the scammer monitor and control your online activity, steal your personal information, send spam, and commit fraud.

Bottom line: If you get an email saying you’re under investigation by the FTC, or required as a witness, the email is fake. You can forward the phony email to, the FTC’s email address for spam.  This database helps the FTC bring cases involving scams promoted via email. But, most importantly, delete the email.

For more information on how to spot an imposter scam, check out our Imposter Scam page.

Tagged with: email, imposter, malware, scam


Suggestion: if you don't know the sender, or didn't request info from an organization, right click on the sender and read the routing. Sometimes that tells you right away that the email isn't valid.

What can be done about unsolicited phone calls on my cell phone? I have received 12 in 2 number is registered on the no call registry's list. The number shows but no I'd, do I don't answer most of the time. Some call,every day!! Thanks for any help.

There are several goo cell phone telemarketer apps available that stop most calls before they ring. many are free. The one I use is free and works quite well.

What one do you use?

My cell phone. I get about 6 calls a day. My number is 408 xxx xxxx

What about products advertised a free samples and then there is a n automatic monthly charge on your credit card?

Considering free offers? Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Do your research. See what other people are saying about the free trials and the company. Search the name of the company and “complaint” or “review.” 
  • Look at the terms and conditions. If you can’t find them, or can’t understand them, don’t sign up.
  • Find out how to cancel. Look for information on what to do if you don’t want the product anymore. Do you still have to pay?  Do you have a limited time to cancel?
  • Mark your calendar. Your free trial offer probably has a time limit. Once it passes without you cancelling, you may owe money.
  • Read your credit and debit account statements. That way, you’ll know right away if you’re being charged for something you didn’t order.

 Want to know more? Check out our guidance on “Free” Trial Offers. And if you’ve been wrongly charged for a free trial offer, report it to the FTC.

12/28/2016 Wednesday 1:47 P.M. EST

It gets so bad, I disconnect my home landline. Even complaining to all the govt. agencies does not stop these pests.I read a few days ago that AT&T has some new app for their cell phone users but, check out their web site. For other carriers, I don't know.

I see FTC and the spam email I think is a joke. I have sent a hundred emails or more to them from those headhunter's ACS and Ace even written to FTC numerous times as well as IC3, BBB and DLLR. The lady from DLLR say that they have no license in my state but nobody cares. They have sent threatening, harassing emails as well as arrest warrants and after hundreds of emails they are still going strong. They say they have proof that I took out a loan for $300 but cannot/refuse to tell me a date as to when this transaction took place. They said that when I pay they will send the date. They have given me two dates and when I tell them it's not on my bank statement they send an email saying since you do not communicate with us we are sending this to court. Then they send an email stating that they have been trying since August of 2015 to get a payment then send another one saying that I took the loan out in September of 2015. I have my bank statements that proves different. Why can't this be stopped?

Honestly, let them take you to court. In court, they have to prove the validity of the debt. I have had a similar situation happen to me with one of my student loans. I had been having ID theft issues for several years and narrowed it down to 3 entities, a state government branch and two banks. I recently was married and decided to update my information one at a time to figure it out. It turned out it was one of banks. The agent I was dealing with kept requesting my Birth Certificate, ID, and Marriage license to update the name on my account. It was requested fax and or email. I had already sent the information twice, via mail and fax. My information was being used to get credit cards to make very expensive retail purchases. I was able to narrow this down because the information being used was in the same state at the bank, and I only did business with that bank in that state. So when they started threatening me after I refused to send them anymore information, I said go ahead. Take it to court. Now after court, I don't deal with that bank any more. If I need anything I'll go through the US Department of Education. Life is much easier, and there have been no more fraudulent activity. Go figure.

LM Ward,I'm curious was this bank or bank employee ever caught, arrested or fired? I work for a State Attorney General, you took appropriate steps to verify the fraudster/thief. I hope you also followed through on other steps to protect yourself from the ID theft problem. For more info, look for ID Theft on this website FTC, look for Affidavit of ID Theft, and contact your Attorney General's website for ID protection steps. Good job of tracking down the bank.

I've had idea to ask you to send this info to your State Atty General's office; for my State of Texas, that's Ken Paxton. Also, pls send (a copy of blanket) emails to your Reps. Sens. & Gov. just to give them a head's up so they know this is happening, and pls be mindful whatever you send is subject to Open Records Laws. Blessings4NewYear!

The problem is they are over loaded these days. These scammers are getting more creative and there is so many. You need to make sure you keep reporting them. The FTC has cracked down on a lot of them.

Stop replying to them! They'll go away.
Don't be afraid.

2:35 P.M. EST Wed. Dec. 28, 2016

Additional to post I made earlier: I do not use a cell phone because I am hearing-impaired and adapted devices are expensive. But, I do remember years ago commercials for cell phones that allowed you to download and set "Ring Tones," for family/friends/employers etc. That way you know who is calling. Don't know if they are still available. Check with your carrier.

As always I appreciate the information I get from you agency to pass along to others that may not know. I take this very seriously. Thank you.

My advise is to add any offending email address to your spam filter. You will not see it again, Ever.. Clear out your spam filter mailbox occasionally as well.

Same for the phone calls. If they are from the same number, just block it! Ask your provider how to do this.

And as a rule, if I don't recognize the email, especially the ones with threatening subject lines, don't open it! Just spam it.

Thank you so much for keeping me informed.

Two things happened in the same week.

1. A "collection agency" by the name of MidWest Recovery out of St. Charles, MO, added an open collection to my credit report - for an Advance America payday loan account (that I have paid) - in the ridiculous amount of $977! The original load was $315 - back in 2011. But as of November of this year, and December 8, specifically, these clowns were able to submit this erroneous info and thus decrease my credit score. I see where they have done other individuals the same way. I've put in a dispute.

2. A "collection firm' calling themselves Clarksen & Associates out of Orange, CA, sent me a "personal and confidential" letter to my home stating that I owe US Bank $400.31 and I have 10 days to pay up - or more damaging things will happen. Well - The letter ALMOST looked legit - with the exception of no website and...the physical address is out of a UPS Store in Orange, CA - and a rented post office box!! I also do not owe the bank.

However, after doing extensive research on charge-off accounts - it is highly possible for a bank to sell the debt to a collection agency that is less than legit. The possibility of it happening - and the customer will become the victim. The thing we must remember, however, is - KNOW WHO AND WHAT WE OWE. I had a rough patch in life and used the payday loans - something I'll never do again - but I kept my records of who I owed and who was still outstanding. If there's doubt, then you're dead meat when the scammers come for you.

When they call. Take a whistle and blow their ears...they wont call back!

I love the idea! What I did do about the UPS scammer dude was call the store and inform them that they have a customer (gave the box number) who is operating a scam out of their establishment. It sounded strangely like the employee might have already been called about that. He thanked me. I had also called the fakers (before I knew for sure) and left a message, with my number. When the scammer finally returned my call (a day later - Monday was a holiday) I let it go to voicemail. His message was basically that I return his call to make payment arrangements. He NEVER gave his name (although a fake name was on the letter) - and sounded like a novice. I'm sure if I had answered the call he would have wished he'd never spoken to me, because by that time, I knew he was a fake. I didn't want to dignify the call, which is why I didn't answer. However, 3 days have passed, and he hasn't tried to contact me again. Unusual, even for a scammer, once they have your number. I.THINK.HE.HAS.BEEN.SHUT.DOWN. I've kept the letter, I know I can still take it to the postal authorities. And I KNOW UPS wants nothing to do with this!

What the heck is wrong with these miscreants? Maybe when jobs come back to the US, they will have something useful to do with their time. So sad.

They are indeed miscreants. But something tells me they have no scruples and are that brand of human being who have no empathy, no soul...and enjoy inflicting pain on others. The type of people who might hurt animals for sport...pitiful, despicable and, unfortunately, unsalvageable.

Isn't it odd that in this era of technology the phone solicitors are winning the war by far.. The only advise given to me was, don't answer the phone. O.K, so my phone has been high jacked by robo calls using phone phone numbers on caller I.d, I've repeated them multiple times to the FTC. Even had one who tried to sell me prescription drugs, controlled substances as well. I got names, phone numbers, dates, and called the FTC. The lady said, yeah we know, nothing we can do. I told her if I tried to sell prescription drugs over the phone I'd go to jail, right ? When is some one gonna stop the intrusive phone calls that have hijacked my home phone ?

I just got a phone message saying it was from the FTC. The man left a name and badge number. He said to call him back at the number on my screen. But the phone he left a message on doesn't have caller ID. I've been trying to find a number for the FTC with someone answering so I can find out if this is bogus or not. Do fat? No luck, If anyone has a phone number where someone actually answers I'd be grateful.

That call was a scam. I work in the real FTC, and I can tell you that we don't make cold calls.

You can call the  FTC at 1-800-382-4357 and talk to a person in our complaint center. Please make a report about the call. Thank you.

We got a call from PSE&G saying we needed to pay our bill immediately or they will shut it off. The number they used is 866-978-6042!! Very convincing!! Be Careful!!!

Someone with the name alejandra rodrigueZ called asking for money said i owed two months i called back that number she gave me8669786042 sounds convincing but its not of pseg when i called had diffrent options like pseg i told the rep that this number is fake she hung up on me Another number is 210 280 8487 from texas This alejandra called from texas this number is not in service

I keep getting an unknown robo call from 918 201-2631-- Wagoner OK (about 4 times or more) which states "Important legal matter that you need to attend to --press 1 to continue. I just hang up each time. Seems like if they wanted to talk to me, they would continue the conversation when I answered the phone. Any suggestions?

I was receiving to many to count robo calls. I called my provider,Time Warner. They put a " block" on robo calls. It rings maybe half a ring and stops. This way I know it's an unwanted call. It also has stopped a vast number of calls..

If I saw an email or got a phone call from the FTC or any other government agency I wouldn't believe it, because pretty much all government agencies just send you something by regular mail and nothing else when trying to contact you.

Just got a call from caller ID Nevada Call #7023800128. Windows support. Telling me they are receiving alerts about our computer. I hung up. Then reported it to the do not call registry and the FTC. The phone number is most likely fake.

Caller wanting to talk to me about my credit card balance. Is a local number in Portageville, Mo registered to Andrew and Allen Lane. #573-379-5039. Have told caller to stop calling, but continues. Local police force will not talk to people.

Now they are sending text messages with threats - call this number or else. I asked what this was in regards to and their response was, "call and you'll find out." Seriously? Numbers attached to this text: 202-601-8079 (number that texts) and 347-960-4194 (number to call) signed, "Federal Investigative Agencies."

Is there anyone who has been accused of terrorism, drug trafficking,money laundering by the FBI with a letter from James Comey? Basically they wanted $148 to hire me a lawyer or come and arrest me.

If you got a fake letter that says it's from the FBI, you can contact the FBI to report it.  Look online for contact information.

Sounds great!

I want to send u an email with the scammers pictures re and all his replies but I can't find any place to forward them to please advise thank u

What do I do if I got a text message saying I am accused of crime allegations that I supposedly did when I didn’t do anything? Does the FTC even text those type of messages to people or is it a scam?

No, the FTC does not send text messages telling people they are accused of crimes.

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