Scams in the name of charity

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Scammers are creative, cunning and cruel — and they often mix in a little truth to spice up their big lies. This scheme shows just how low they can go.

Government imposters claiming to be with the FTC, or another agency like the fictitious “Consumer Protection Agency,” are calling to inform people they have won a huge sweepstakes from the Make-a-Wish Foundation, a well-known charity for very sick children. To get the money, the callers say, the “winner” must first pay thousands of dollars to cover taxes or insurance on the prize. The call may even come from a 202 (Washington, DC) area code to appear credible — since the headquarters for the FTC and most federal agencies are in DC.

This is just a scheme using the well-known names of Make-a-Wish and the FTC to rob thousands of dollars from people. Once you wire money or send banking information, you will never see your money again.

Here are a few facts and tips to protect yourself and others:

  • If someone asks you to wire money or provide your bank account information over the telephone, it’s a scam.
  • Anytime you have to pay to get a prize, it’s a scam.
  • The FTC doesn’t oversee sweepstakes and no FTC staff is involved in giving out sweepstakes prizes. We do, however, go after sweepstakes scams like this one.
  • If an FTC case results in refunds, you can find the details at ftc.gov/redress.
  • The Make-a-Wish Foundation has information about this specific scam on its fraud alerts page.
  • If you encounter this or other scams, report it to the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP or ftc.gov/complaint.
  • Talk to your friends and family about scams. Visit FTC.gov/PassItOn to find out how.
Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

I must get a call once a day to say that I have won a gov't. grant and all I have to do is send a fee to process it. I am tired of hanging up. I'll get the phone number and report it to you. I also get calls about buying drugs. That's a scam too. They are tricky and most have a Chinese accent.

There is a male approximately 30-40 with three children outside of shopping area behind ccs on Jefferson asking for money for a school. He is hiding behind dumpster location. Could someone check this out. It has persisted since Wednesday.

Report him to the police...asap!

Thank you for the updates. I get many such calls and just don't "pick up" anymore. Some emails are in the mix too. I got one from "Bank of America" wanting me to "update" my acct. (which I don't have)The email looked "faded" and "fake" so just deleted it without opening. Watch out for suspicious emails too.

I received an email claiming to be USAA. I don't have accounts with them, so called USAA to check. It was a phishing incident and I subsequently reported it to USAA's abuse email. I sent them the fake email from them.

Become well informed

I got a couple of those too. I just don't understand how these folks (scammers, etc) get our personal phone numbers no matter if your phone number is non-published or not, including cell phone numbers

Hi Juanita,
Usually it's a computer that just randomly dials phone number in sequence. like (444)444-4441, then (444-444-4442)

The 'do not call registry' does not work!.....no way to keep these idiots from getting your number!

The scammers do NOT pay attention to the Do Not Call List.

Signing up will LIMIT the number of tele-marketing calls you receive. After you register, other types of organizations may still call you, such as charities, political groups, debt collectors and surveys.

If you received an unwanted call after your number was on the National Registry for 31 days, report it to the FTC.

I hope this helps!

happy you're addressing this. I have been getting PMs through FB saying I won $100,000 and people are telling me they got their money delivered to them and they wanted me to know that I was on the list too. National Endowment for the Humanities and poverty eradication is the name that's being given out.

I have been getting your alerts for a while now and just want to say how much I appreciate them. I also like how direct you are and how you put things in language that regular people can easily understand. Keep up your great work protecting us!!!!

I agree with you! Keep up the great job & thank you!

I am bewildered by all the fake calls I am receiving. In Feb of 20017 I was searching for a job. Since then I am covered up with calls from peop,e who want to relieve me of my student loan ( that I don't have ) get me enrolled in their school, or the US Government saying they have an arrest warrant that for me (bull) I am so tired of these calls. How can I get it stopped?

Here are some ideas on how to block unwanted calls.

Thanks for your Service of protecting the American people, put theses scammers in jail !

Very important information!

Make a Wish Foundation was originally designed to grant last wishes to terminally ill children. In fact, I stopped contributing to them when one of those kids wished to shoot a bear before he died, and they set that up for him. that was heartless and disgusting.

My point is they raise money for their cause.. They don't give money away to anyone, including the terminally ill. If you're contacted by them because they want to give you money, hang up.

Charities raise money. They never give it away.

I don't know about other states, but it is my understanding that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts calls any sweeps in which you must make a payment a lottery, and the Commonwealth reserves the right to run lotteries for themselves!

It is really getting terrible at the number of these that I receive daily. Help Hospitalized Vets, the Animal one, can't think of its right name, So many regarding our military that it is sickening, and the Indian Reservations are also doing the same thing. You don't know who to trust.

Where email & banks are concerned, when it supposedly comes from a bank, I immediately forward the message to the appropriate bank using "abuse @ name of bank. com" so that they can follow up on it.. Have used that many times!!

Another scam is travel insurance from Nationwide thru Seven Seas. Only covers perils I wonder how many $25 they get a month for nothing.

If they contact you first, trust NO ONE.

Must be X-files fan! Got caller id. If I don't recognize the number, I don't answer. I figure, if it's important they will leave a message.

'Bank of America' sends an e mail saying My site will be closed down!
Really? I just opened it and got My statement.

thanks.....great info......

I don't pick up the phone any longer. If it is a friend or family member, of course, I do. Other than not I don't answer. I get Breast Cancer ones sometimes more than twice a day. I can't answer them because I don't know if it is really from that charity. Sad world we live in these days.

Ohh, they're still alive and well, that's for sure. And when you get them shut down, they simply re-appear with another scam.
I HAVE discovered a little trick for the phone scam mers that seems to work so far. For the last month or so, whenever a call comes in that is obviously no one I know or want to hear from, I answer the phone and then hang up as soon as possible. I don't know why it works, but it does work; the vast majority of the calls are not repeated!
I am also a member of spamcop. net and have reported each and ever spam I've received for years now to the FTC at spam@uce.gov . I've pretty much automated it to only need 3 clicks to report them to the FTC.

Most unknown calls or unrecognizable area codes, I just hang up, or punch a bunch of random numbers! The no call list means nothing!! I know they can change area code to mine!

We usually get 3-4 scam calls a day, from local numbers mostly. In my opinion, the federal government needs to be empowered to go after these crooks and take every dime they have while destroying any equipment they have and initiating new stricter laws with TEETH to throw the "owners and accomplices" in jail no matter from which country they originate. Normally, I would have said this was a job for the UN, but I DO NOT TRUST them or member nations to support the action (except what they pretend to take care of)...

Call your phone service provider and get "Call Blocking." Get the scammers phone # off caller ID, block it and be bothered no more.

I'm sorry, Dupyuh, but that doesn't work. At least for me. When you block the number they just call back from another number. I have a LONG list of numbers along with the date and time the scammers call which I forward to the ftc, FBI, and any other agencies I can think of. Nothing changes. I am on the "Do Not Call" list. I get at least 6 calls a day, every day. It is so annoying.
I wish something could be done about it. I got a new phone number and for a while the calls stopped. Now it seems they are making up for lost time.

Unfortunately these scammers can 'spoof' the number you see on caller ID. It will not stop until the phone companies write their programs so that the number calling can NOT spoof and will actually show the callers number. THEN the do not call list can actually work when we complain.

Great service.

Thanks for the information. I hate it when folks get scammed! Be smart people!

I agree that something serious needs to be done about annoying calls. If they call you, you cannot be sure who they are or where they are calling from. I never give money to someone who calls me. If no one else did either, the calls would eventually stop. I would also like to be able to opt out of political calls and surveys. Blocking calls does little because they call from different numbers. The do not call list does not work. My landline is going to be cut soon because I am paying for a way for annoying callers to contact me. My cell phone provides an easy way to block nuisance calls. A landline should, too.

a new scam is emails for mystery shoppers if you sign up they send bad or phony checks to tell you to deposit them them you write your check to someone else and their check bounces even some very official looking money orders from the post office they are still no good they all bounce so your bank charges a fee for the bounced deposit and then for the bounced check to someone else

Thank you for this info.

Thank you for this good very advice. I would go one step further: whenever someone wishes to donate to their favorite charity, why not go to charity's secure website. There you will find the phone number to call to make a donation and the link to make an online donation. That way, you are in control of the transaction. Hope this helps all you kind people out there. Don't get scammed.

Check with your phone company and see if "NOMOROBO" is available in your area. You can do it on line. If it is it only takes a few seconds to put on your phone line, no cost, and when a robot call comes in your phone rings once and NOMOROBO shuts them down. Works great for me until they find a way around it,

Received a call on July 3, 2017 from Kids Wish Network. Did not answer another fake telemarketer.

It's also easy to tell if it is a computer operated dial by just answering with out a "Hello." The automatic dialer will just hang themselves up. So if it isn't a number you don't know just say "(last name) residence" and that's it. If you say Hello it will connect you with someone.

I replied a couple of post about Rooms. I suspected some kind of scams. I waited for sometimes; and true to my subsections, he never got back to me How about if I had known the guy? How do you advice the general public

I am new to Craigslist.How or where can I find a Post telephone number ? I need help to help myself. I can begin with myself

I would like to know why you are not investigating the Clinton Foundation, the Soros Foundation, the Open Society Foundation, USA Grant Funding for Small Business, The Obama Foundation for funding Small Business (you pay a fee, and maybe they will process your application, but most of the time, it is a vacant building in Nevada,) the Muslim Brotherhood Foundation, and other foundations supporting terror in this country. Do you just pick and chose who you investigate, or do these foundations pay the FTC to look the other way? Just wondering, because we never hear anything from the FTC on any of these. Also, some time back, you listed scams about debt collectors. Do you have a list of the ones that you have investigated? If so, I want a copy. My attorney is working with me on 2 of them now wanting to collect on false claims. The American people do not want small handouts for issues that they have had. They want a government agency like the FTC to protect them, and provide some relief that will actually do some good. A dollar or two on a $20,000 loss is peanuts, and not worth a person's trouble to file a complaint. Who process complaints there, and how do they investigate? How do they determine rewards in matters like this. I don't trust our government to repair a pot hole, why should I trust them to look out agencies disguised as charity scams, instead of what they really are. How does the FTC determine rewards? You say that you protect consumers against fraud, deceptive and unfair business practices. I need a list please.

You will find a tremendous amount of information on the FTC website, FTC.gov. For example:

Go here to view the publically available list of banned debt collectors and the related cases and orders.

Go here to view a publically available list of banned mortgage relief and debt relief companies and people and the related cases and orders.

Go here to view a publically available list of refunds in recent FTC cases.

I received a letter stating that I qualified to win $2'000'000 but I had to send $12.99 to handle the processing the money if I should win. Can you imagine letters in the millions being sent out if every one should be crazy enough to send it in. If there was ever a scam this has to be one.

It was great experience that how one can fool us by phone calls and mails

Now I get recorded calls in Spanish. Not sure reporting these numbers does anything.

My husband received a call yesterday that stated:
We got a phone call yesterday saying: This is an investigation of the IRS. you have a tax crime against you. The IRS has issued an arrest against you.
You and your physical property are being monitored and it's very important that I hear back from you. Call ASAP
before we proceed. Call 216-609-1955

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