How scammers make you pay

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Here’s one of the top questions we get from people: Is this a scam? Whatever the “this” looks like, here’s our best answer to that question: Did someone say you can only pay by wiring money, putting money on a gift card, or loading money on a cash reload card? If they did, then yes: that is a scam.

Here’s a video that has, in a little more than a minute, some of the scam scenarios we see – and what you should do about them.

Whether someone tells you to pay to claim a prize, help someone out of trouble, or deal with tax issues from the (so-called) IRS: nobody legitimate is ever going to say you have to pay by wiring them money, getting iTunes cards, or putting money on a MoneyPak, Vanilla Reload, or Reloadit card.

So: watch the video. And if anyone ever insists you pay in one of those ways, tell the FTC. Because that will be a scam we want to know about.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


got it thanks.

Internal Revenue Service send my balance to a collection agency, I called that agency and they told me in order to avoid further collection process for me to pay 80% of my balance my getting a pre-paid visa so it can be process faster. I called Internal Revenue they confirmed this collection agency as their 3rd party collectors but they never should instruct any consumer to get a pre-paid card. Internal Revenue told me to call another number and confirm that the collector I spoke to was indeed their employee. I did and they confirmed that he was. I told the manager what he requested to resolve the balance and she told me yes that is true for those that do not have a checking account or debit card. So I am confused. Should this be legal or not for collection agencies to ask for a prepaid visa card??

It's good that you are asking questions before you send money.

The IRS uses some private debt collectors. The real private debt collectors working with the IRS will never ask you to pay them directly. They will tell you to pay the IRS electronically at, or send a check directly to the IRS that says "payable to the US Treasury."

The IRS website about private debt collectors says: Private collection agencies will not ask for payment on a prepaid debit, iTunes or gift card.

The IRS website about private collectors lists the names and phone numbers of the real private collectors it uses.

You can make a complaint about a private collection agency or report misconduct by its employee, at 800-366-4484.

If someone doesn't have a bank account, they can't pay by check. If someone doesn't have a credit card, then they can't pay electronically. So, maybe the person advised to purchase a prepaid visa, so that payment could be made electronically to the IRS. The comment above didn't say the employee requested the payment be made to him personally via prepaid visa; it just states that he was advised to purchase a prepaid visa to ensure the payment was processed quickly to avoid further collections. IF a prepaid Visa card is purchased in order to pay off a debt, and that prepaid card is used electronically on the IRS website is that still potentially fraud?? I mean, I obviously wouldn't recommend giving the prepaid visa or the pin information to the debt collector, BUT if paying on the actual IRS website is that an allowed form of payment??

The IRS lists the approved ways to pay at

Stop i not haf accont bank

The simple answer, the one that is always correct, is if you think something just might possibly be a scam, it is.

I have been a victim of the ITunes scam. The scammer stole 49,900 from me. I wish I had known about this before it happened. He was very tricky.

I also been the victim of a scam since 6/2017..first begaing with relachionschip on line and escalated from there .i paying his he said he got a 1milliom 3 hundred and 57 thousand that he will put me as his.beneficiary but never money went to the account so the last thing he did was cancel the papel work to come.home and do it from i did se t for his.flying ticked and i till waeting for him This is very embarrasing this peopler dont have a geart on them.I dont know what im going to do but it took from mi 30 thousa d plus mi car a d all the shame a d enbarrasment tjat go alone with it Im past mi 60+ a d dont know what will happe d from mi now and mi family as i texting im on the street homless

Older adults and their families can find help at That is a federal government website. Use the website to look for help in your community for housing options, legal help, food assistance and other needs. Or call this toll-free number: 1-800-677-1116.

I believe I am in the middle of a romantic scam, and know just how you feel. I haven't given him near that much, but now he wants over $7000 for delivery of a "Box" that suppose to contain $10million. I think he really does love me. The name he's using is Steve Arthur. Can you tell me about your man? He says he was born in US but working for government in Yemen. Wife died. 2 kids in boarding school. I sent him $1,250 for his son's school registration, and several $100 iTunes cards, a $1000 gold chain. Sound like him? Please reply.

Im a victim of IRS scam by using a iTunes card I'm so hurt physical and emotional

I feel your pain, my savings was depleted due to a scammer.. i am very hurt physically and emotionally

a man called and I answered yes to a question before I thought , is there anything I can do

I have been a victim of iTunes scam, too. Did you ever get talk to the iTunes company, and did they ever charge you with fraud?

How did he started it all, iTS like I'm going through the same process and I'm afraid it might be related to yours because I have lost 7,600 already .

scams i hate

Been scammed it hurts

In addition, they would tell you to overnight a check to them before providing any service! Or, they will ask how much credit that you have left on all of your credit and debit cards to discretely determine how much to charge you (aka scam you out of as much money as they can!)

This is what Reliable Business Consultants as one of Top Shelf Marketing Companies did!

Ladies and Gentlemen, if you are ever in doubt, the only way to make sure it is a legitimate communication, is to call the company. However, never call by the phone number contained in the email. Look up the company and call them directly and ask if they sent out the email and is it a legitimate offer.

Getting scammed over and over. Do scammers sell your phone numbers. Just got a text without a notification. It asked me if I requested an authorization code. If not call (800) 432-1000. When I search this number it comes up with a lot if results saying this number is from ...... Looks suspicious.

I also have been scammed by iTunes cards. To almost 10,000.00. It so devastating. It makes you sick that you could have been so dumb. Especially when you have been friends for over a yr. you wonder why they hate you so much that they could do this to you. I have no trust anymore in anything.

You should have a presentation on deceptive marketing for those companies that skirt the legalities to rip you off...especially all the companies that offer a cheap product and bury information about it being a "membership subscription" at a couple hundred dollars a month 6 pages into 8 font grey terms and conditions. I think those people are even worse than these obvious scammers.

I've been scammed. It hurts.

I been same thing yes it is hurt me too they owe me a lots of money. I hate crooks.

I was scammed very hurtful and stupid. They are very smart.

I know how you feel. I have been scammed too.

I understand what you are saying about being very hurtful and stupid. I have just been scamed with a grant. What a fool i was. should have listen to my gut feelings. if it sounds to good to be true it probably is. I feel for all of us that have been scamed

Did they tell you that they were with a financial advisor was there number 920-602-211

sorry for you, I HATE SCAMMERS

I understand what you are saying about being very hurtful and stupid. I have just been scamed with a grant. What a fool i was. should have listen to my gut feelings. if it sounds to good to be true it probably is. I feel for all of us that have been . They wont leave me alone keep asking for more money. i keep telling them iam not sending anymore money

Whenever you think it is impossible to happen or when someone ask for cash, or personal information you know it is a scam.

I too have been victimized by scammers. I've learned to NEVER EVER provide personal info. or computer access to ANYONE unless I initiate the contact and know who I'm dealing with...

Don't answer calls from unfamiliar numbers. Don't answer unfamiliar emails if it's asking you for ANYTHING. If it looks like it came from your bank or credit card, call the bank or credit card company directly. DON'T GIVE MONEY TO ANYONE unless you KNOW it's legit and you've checked it out!

brlawyer here. An old, old friend whose product I have used for years, Quicken, was sold by Intuit to a Canadian company in 2017. I am being bombarded online to "upgrade" to Quicken 2018. I was prepared to do so until I discovered that what is held out to be a "purchase" is in fact a rental of the product for a period of time (two years for the "Premium" program). The catch is, if at the end of the rental period, I do not elect to renew my subscription to use the product, I cannot retrieve my data. It will be locked out. I consider this to be a "scam" insofar as the truth is not disclosed prior to purchase.

You could report that to the FTC at You can provide information about the company, what it promised, and what you received. The information you give goes into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

I was almost scammed, by someone saying they were a relative of my husband and that they were at customs and couldn't be let through because he hadn't claimed how much money he had on him,(over of what was permitted) had someone pose as a customs agent and told me he had to leave a deposit, they would give him a form and he could claim money a consulate. The so called cousin only had a couple of bucks on him and he wanted to see if I could wire money. I almost did it but I asked my husband to call his cousin to see if there was anything else he needed (duhhh) he couldn't get a hold of him. I was about to wire money when I tried to call him one more time and he answer!! Low and behold he was in his home town not even traveling. So please beware of these kind of calls as well

Scammed for $629. Scammers hacked into Hewlett-Packard #. When I called I was referred to 2 businesses who handled this type of problem. Called. Had me entirely fill out a check, sig, everything which they copied from my printer. Long story short, next day stopped payment on check and closed that banking account. Didn't hear anymore.

If you have a messaging service on your phone. Just put a message "I am monitoring my calls please state your business and leave your name and number." Watch the scammers hang up but fast.

Facebook and other social media could do a lot to help prevent scammers using stolen accounts and photos . They could encourage people to report scammers and remove them. They often ignore reports Also they allow adverts that often make false claims It comes down though to people being lonely and vulnerable regular warnings on public forums such as FB would build awareness.

Scam are networks.. playing accross the system.

Some scam victims page are owned by scamers itself.. so its good if you know how to read their comments and messages. Sometimes they use common names. Or names that a person is familiar.

What about the automatic shipping beach month. I understand that Barack and Michelle Obama are doing this. Also Joel Osteen and his wife Victoria, he left his pulpit to do this scam with the automatic shipment each month.

How do you get scared of !0000 by iTunes cards??

I have been scammed, Now i just B S these people for as long as i can.

I also have been scammed, his text messages and emails are still going through got email yesterday from him he hoped I was having fun messing with him, I am going to send texts and emails till he blocks me, just want to hear his nonsense

I was scammed said I was going to get a grant they needed 150. to process it had to buy a Google play card to get them the money. So like an idiot I did it then they wanted 200. more that they didn't get. Still getting these same type calls. Wish someone could help.

Telexfree now closed scammed me over 30000 $ using my father-in-law. They promised me earnings of $2000 per week and paid back only 6000$ and claimed to be bankrupt.Anything too good too soon with little input is a scam.

You can help by reporting this to the FTC at You can provide information about the company, what it promised, and what you received. The information you give goes into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations. Thank you.

There has been a whole lot of good scammers hitting The social Media sites such as Instagram. This is not In anyway a dating site so I am not sure how I have Been targeted so hard. They are super nice but usually Claiming to be a celebrity you have commented on their Post. Then they just come at you with a line making you Feel like you are the special one because they are so famous. Some get right on asking for these cards, some sweet talk you For a while. But then somehow random men are asking to be Friends. And these guys are the real scary ones. These guys know How to sweet talk you like no other. Wow. They will get you looking Forward to talking to them. Then almost everyone will have to go because of work. But they will keep in touch as they go. They make Promises that would be great. Then boom, there internet access will run out and they just can’t bear to not talk to you. They ask for These cards to keep it up and you stay talking with them. But beware, if you become a smart mouth woman who starts asking to Many questions like I do, them I saw a side not very becoming at all I was strong armed, so to speak. Sending the Governments FBI Agents in, also insisting on my passwords to all my accounts. Now, That did not go far with me. Just made me mad. I ask for his badge # and what field office he was out of, and then ask if he would take a Pic of his badge and send me. OMG now I am being personally insulted, and my “true Love” comes back with how disappointed he is With me. Didn’t fly with me and that is when he really started to try to get in my media accounts. Still a no. What are they going to do? Not like I was sitting in front of him. I did take some verbal abuse, which still did not cause me to shut my smart mouth up and it ended with him telling me to FO. Ok! I can do that! But honestly, I got clipped a few cards. Not a lot but I did sucker and send a phone. Done with the help of one of his “buddies” from the oil rig he was suppose to be on. As a surprise. But all in all. I have the shipping Address of the “wife” who was so helpful and going to make sure my little sweetie got it. But Lo & Behold, she got car jacked and they got off with the phone. Well I made the phone just a paper Weight with any calls to that phone forwarded to me, no outgoing email, text, or calls. Still stuck with the payments on the phone And early termination fees, however! He would take of any bills when he came To meet me. He was wealthy and gave me his bank #, account # and a password so I could go check. I really did not think it would ever happen, just had hoped. But I was definitely not the typical sucker and I did not give him the “farm” so to speak. I did see just how far they will go. I have Found another woman as well as myself and I am sending her any and all known scammers, and posting them up and she is taking them to some place that can insist these sites be shut down. I think Instagram should take some responsibility to do sometthig with these men as well. Closer monitoring. People complain and get no response. But we are finding these men are not just on one site, they are on many at the same time. Do not honestly think they are the picture they use. Not sure. Would like to know, but do not have the resources. WE NEED HELP!!! NOTE WOMEN! Hey I get why you would want to chat with these Beautiful men!!! But BE SMART!!! Make them go to a chat room of your choosing. Example. WhatsApp. It is totally encrypted and you will have their number. You can also ask them to verify their phones own scan #’s. Ask him to scan his phone and you can as well. It is all explained in the app. BE SAFE ALL! YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. Be picky. Don’t have to pay someone to talk to you!! Ok. Rant over. Hope it helps at least one.


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