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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

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

Just received this same message today from 646 448 0329. They sound so official it can be convincing if you haven't heard about this scam.

I received a email from a FBI agent, saying that my name was a shipping container that they seized in a raid and if i didn't call and get the details. Then i would have federal agents at my door to arrest me and be charged with embezzlement. So sent the email to my local FBI office, to make them aware of what is going on.

I have a wanna be Johnny Gill hot on my trail right now. After I write this the gig is up. FTC and FBI are getting all the info I have along with Mr.Gills people. Someone Rubbed me the wrong way...gotta laugh right?

He was hot on my trail too. Omg I quizzed him on everything. He or she didn't pass the first question.

I have a Johnny Gill hot on my trail right now. He has spent the last two days trying to make me feel like MY MY MY via DM Lol!! Then this morning he had the nerve to ask me for 5k... I’m from Chicago you have to get up early to get me fake JG!!!

It's a shame we pay for phone service and the phone companies don't give us the tools to block these numbers. My home phone is used for outgoing calls only. I do not answer it unless it's a phone number I know.

I tell everyone I know about your site. I even wrote a word press blog about the fantastic job you all do, and to sign up immediately to get updates on all the scams going on. Thank you for all the good work you do.

I receive multitude emails from PAY PAL an average of maybe 7 a month, these are telling me I need to sign in because what I ordered can't be sent till I verify my personal information.... items from different countries show up almost everytuime, if it's not an false order it's telling me that my account has been suspended!! I'm so done with this...
I FEEL FOR THE ELDERLY AND INNOCENT THAT GET CAUGHT UP IN THE WEBS OF THESE LOSERS!!!!

Things to remember: if it sounds too good be true, it probably is. If you have to pay to receive $$$$, then it's a scam. As far as I know, IRS, FBI, etc., will write to you first - they will not call or email you or just appear at your door - if there is actually an issue.

I wish that you'd clamp down on PCH!!! They've been around for a long time, I know, but the chance of anyone winning are nil!! Last time I checked the odds were 250,000,000 (billion) to one
Several years ago, there was an expose' that showed non-winner entries being dumped at a land fill!

I also get angry at phone calls that my caller ID identifies that the call is from my area code. When trying a "reverse look-up" I find that the number is, in fact unassigned or has been discontinued!!

These days I don't give any donations over the phone. Part of the reason is that I feel that whether it's an actual person or some automation, it feels pretty suspicious. I feel that the only donations anyone should give to a charity is in person or part of their official website only. Anywhere else could be seen as a scam.

Please warn parents and elderly of the generation we are living in. Got seven (7) calls a day this past week with area codes all across America. Three (3) of which though is from Ally. With my experience with them, do not get a car loan with Ally Financial, even if you trade in your vehicle, Ally will not stop from bombarding you w/ calls to still pay the next bill payment even if it's included in your Pay-Off amount to release you from the lien. Plus reporting you in all three credit bureaus is just unscrupulous. Tell me if it's abuse or not. So Machiavellian I must say.

I was getting two three calls a day from 201-801-827-87xx . iLast two digits assigned automatically. What I did is , I created a contact "Block This" and entered 99 numbers from 201-827-8701 to 8799 to the contact. Then I blocked the contact name. So far I have not received anymore calls from these idiots for the past week or so. Even though I won this little battle but there are so many other calls on a daily basis! Thinking of changing my number and email. Fo you think that would help?

I absolutely believe the technology is there to stop spoofing. Phone companies won't do it because it will cost them.

I have caller ID. If they are not on my list, I don't answer the phone.

Hi
I am baffled by the United Breast Cancer Charity continuing to call my house. First off, they ask for my daughter who is NON VERBAL and has significant disabilities, when I tell them that, she hangs up on me, but yet calls again a few days later. I've also told them that I have stage 3 breast cancer (when I can get them to even talk to me) and she's said oh that's too bad and hung up....TOTAL SCAM. I've blocked their number numerous times, yet they get new numbers and continue to call me, make it stop.

There are several scammers on twitter and Gmail Instagram and Facebook claiming to be Johnny Gill. I really don't know how they are allowed to create accounts using his personal information this man's identity and pictures. This is crazy and it's something that needs to be stopped and checked into they should be allowed to use his personal information to start accounts. Right now it's about 20 people claiming to the singer Johnny Gill this is wrong someone is going start taking out Lawsuits against these companies because it' s wrong...

I have to agree with all comments! Since I started seeking work at home opportunities, I get hundreds of calls monthly! Thankfully my cell was turned off & I have free phone-- no calls yet! I've filed quite a few complaints as well as reports on "white pages" -reverse lookup- they let you know the level of possible scam & 99% have been RED=HIGH !! I've also come across scammers on that free dating sight- Mingle & mingle 2! They all have the same process & story-1st they want to talk outside of dating site-they (men)are always widowed & most have a child in another country that needs help.the men are ALWAYS Engineers working on a project in another country! I even found one of these guys on Twitter! They start a general conversation 1st , asking about you, even being empathetic if you're having hard times, but then they bring up their situation-i try to get as much info as I can w/out compromising myself in any way! You just can't trust anyone! I appreciate the FTC's work & efforts & the accomplishments you've made! You've got job security for sure as new scammers every day! I think the phone companies MUST be MADE TO HELP - develop their own software or whatever that will recognize #s - why can't this be enforced? By not doing something they're just contributing to the problem! If it's about $$ they need to consider the millions LOST to people just because they dont want to spend any! Would be in their best interest to help--then consumers would have more of their own $$ to spend !! Think about that!!! Thank you FTC for everything you do & for Helping so many people get the $$ back they had lost to these horrible people! I just don't understand WHY these obviously smart people do this for a living when they could legally be making as much or more (especially if we all STOP letting them get ours!) then they'd have to get legitimate job!!

I got a call tonight saying they were asking for donations to help support the police. I agreed to $15, wanting to support the police, believing in the good they do. They said they will send the donation envelope in the mail. I caught the web address. Turns out it is not really going to the police as I had thought. The foundation is called National Police Support Fund. Do I have to give now?

You are free to choose whether or not you make a donation, and who you give your money to. It's ok to say No to someone who tries to trick you.

this is what I have done to stop the spammers who call my cell phone. I add them as a contact to my phone and call them, "do not answer 1" and then 2 and 3 and so on. It works. If you do not answer your phone when they call you, after a while they will give up.try it..

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