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


yes cheats are very clever, last month has an Italian "Unternemer" which allegedly misplaced paiplein pipes borrowed too little money to pay for transport asked next to his "friends and family" to give the rest amount. He scolds me as a honest man and I stupidly helped him with 2800 € what I charged my account. Couple days later, he reported that he still had to pay port, I said no and I have no money so he suggested me to sell my car which I did not do dsienb last write was on 21.12 that he missed me and that was all , Since then there is no Italian and no US telephone number. Also, who he is on skype online is silent, no answer.

I have been scammed 2 times by young women claiming they were interested in older men.needing money for debts, rent, etc. Needless to say no fool like an old fool. Never again.

Take it easy. I did the same, its no shame. But 1 time was enough for me, the only difference.

I get calls and texts from spammer scammers. I try not to answer. They call the house and my cell almost daily. Even though I don’t answer I hear them - bill collecting, s scams. Are they using my phone numbers? Addresses? Who knows! They make it hard to do anything. Sometimes they’re bill collectors, the irs, federal agents, boyfriends, etc. Some say it’s satellite harassment. I’m so tired of hearing them!

A few yrs ago I was scammed into believing I was going to be served for a cash cashing company. Since I had previously used on of these, I was petrified and in fact was in tears to this scammer. I paid the money and low and behold now every couple of years another scammer has my info from the sucker file that my name was put on. It’s funny as every time, the lingo never varies “ a case has been filed against you” nonsense but even worse, they search out anyone they think you may know to hound them, making you look bad to family , children and even exes.

why people always calling talking bout how you win this or your email was enter in drawing I won this much then tell me I got paid this much money just to received the funds the funds just to get the money. and talking bout they with the government and know they lieing just to get some money out of you and using fake phone number.

I am attempting to sell my car. I was contacted today by a person who posted money to PayPal. Then comes the fun stuff. The emails I got from PP say that it is legitimate and to wire money Walmart to Walmart. They refused, saying it sounded like a scam. So I sent PP an email. They then said to purchase iTunes cards to pay for the cost of shipping. I looked up the address and it is a car dealer, the name of the individual does not work there and they have no connection to a shipping company. I am receiving e mails from the purchaser and now even PP saying that it is legit. and to send the gift cards.

I'm curious if anyone has come across scams like this that ask you to pay with Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency. Is this happening?

New scam tactics (we were almost scammed).

A call came to my cell saying they are UPS delivery and need to speak to some unknown name to deliver a UPS package to my home address. When I insisted that name does not exist says, sorry mistake and asked for my wife. I was skeptical, but, he sounded very convincing and background noise looked like UPS.

So, I gave her cell phone as he said that she needs to get authorized by her to deliver the packet with 30 minutes and asked my numbers and name to verify so that he will give me parcel numbers once authorized. Here is where I was fooled.
But, as soon as he hung up, I really come to my sense as it did not sound right, and texted by wife, that if she could go home immediately as I was heading there too. My thought was our home will be robbed!

I immediately called that number back. And a genuine UPS store in Canada picked up and he alerted that it is scam and call 911 or some authority immediately because it is scam.

I called my wife immediately, and she was completely terrified already because within this 5 minutes, he had called once first, when she said hello, he hung up and then another call came immediately it showed my caller ID. Now the regular scamming started saying that, your husband is in police custody , case ID this Police badge etc. And told her not to pick any other calls or answer any text.

She did not give any information as I was calling in another line immediately.

Anyways, long story short, I told her to pick up the phone if he calls and tell him to call back in 1 hour. My idea was to take both the phone and go to Police.

Here is my frustration: When I called local police, they said, go to FTC website. I have been going round and round to all these sites, and agencies when I had Identify theft happened last time.

I want to help the authority, and I am sure, many of us here and elsewhere want these scammers get caught so that we don't have to go through the nightmare, but nothing is available for us to call in other line so that Police, or FBI can catch these right handed.

Or, there is no 'TO DO's available which tells us how can we concern citizen be part of the solution for catching these.

Any ideas?

Thank you for sharing your story.

It sounds like the scammers were trying to convince your wife that you were in police custody.  The scammers were impersonating police officers. The imposters call one family member and tell them to wire money immediately to help a family member who had an emergency.  There is no real emergency, and the imposters take the money.

Your local police suggested you report this to the FTC. You can report this at The information you give, like the phone numbers and other details about the calls, will go into a secure database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

There is a woman named Bonita White on Instagram Claiming that the World Bank is giving away money to poor people. There is no website link. Is there such a grant? Supposedly she is working with an attorney named Dora Caceres phone number 267-793-0508.

No, the World Bank is not giving grant money to people who call. People who offer "free government grants" are trying to scam you.

They say there is a grant, but tell you to send money first for "taxes" or "fees" or "registration." If you send money, you will lose it, and you won't get a grant. Please tell the FTC when you see those offers. Go to to report.

I was recently asked to do a google hangout interview for data entry position for William Blair and Company. The recruiting H.R. Consultant was named Cady Gottilieb. I went through the whole 2 part interview via Google Hangouts. I was given the job description, pay, and to follow instructions. I was told on Google Hangouts that the job was offered to me. Then an offer letter was sent to me via email. As I completed the application and submitted the offer letter I was told that I would receive a check for receiving the equipment. Then she asked if I have my banking app downloaded. I told her no. She then asked for me to follow instructions. To download the app so the money would be sent to me for the equipment. Cady Gottilieb made a rude comments said that I asked too many questions. I declined the job and again Cady Gottilieb said that I wasted her time. I just thought that I put it out there. On the job offer letter my name was mispelled. The start date and year was incorrect. The application and offer letter was all made to look like William Blair and company logos. I believe she was trying to scam me.

Will scammers ask for your debit card or credit card info and take payments

Yes, a scammer might ask you to pay with your debit or credit card.

I recently got a call from a number asking me to call back a different number and when I did they say that a complaint is being filed against me. The # they called from is disconnected, I feel like it's a scam but still has me scared and losing sleep.

We have someone calling on a business line looking for an employee. He is tying up every phone line, despite being told that the employee is not allowed to have personal phone calls at work. The employee does not have a debt with the company he says he is from. He is asking for money to be paid immediately. The employee, as well, as the business believes this is a scam. The proper way to handle an unpaid debt would be via garnishment of wages, not harassment.

I recently got a call from a number asking me to call back a different number and when I did they say that a complaint is being filed against me. The # they called from is disconnected, I feel like it's a scam but still has me scared and losing sleep.

I made friends with a scammer on Facebook.He said He was a sergeant in the army, and Wanted to secretly IM because He was not allowed to use the internet. He said He was deployed to Syria, so I looked up the weather in Syria, and when I asked Him about it He gave the wrong answer. I was suspicious, but I went along with Him for a while. Then I checked the scammer Site putting His supposed name on it. Sure enough, There He was!!- Next time I talked with Him I told Him My Son had charge of My finances because there are too many scammers. Then I asked Him if He ever checked the scammer site. I never heard from Him again!!

What is the scammer site?

What are the rules when a collector or someone calling saying they are from a litigation office to confirm they are legit? Do they have to state their name and company?

When a debt collector contacts you about a personal or family debt, he must tell you he is a debt collector.

People who work for collection agencies, lawyers who collect debts on a regular basis, and companies that buy delinquent debts and then try to collect them are all considered "debt collectors" under federal law.

This article explains your rights related to debt collection.

Thank you FTC for warning me about scams because I was going to lose my mind.

I received a call from someone named Mr. Matthews. In the voicemail he said he was a claims investigator. Said he was sending my file to the sheriff and i would be served a summons unless i contacted him back. He had my social, mt birthdate, and my email address. I called back and left a message saying i did not know what this was about and i wanted information about this. He called back again and said he would email me the information. How can I tell if this is legit? He has not emailed me anything as of today. Dont they have to provide me a written statement about this before taking me to court, if he is even legit? He also said he would give instructions in the email about paying this, that it had to be paid by the date of the email. How do I know if he is real or a scammer? What should i say or ask if he calls again?

If you get legitimate legal papers, they should include instructions or a number you can call to get information. If you really get legal papers, read them and get more information.

If someone you don't know suddently calls and says you owe money, he could be a fake debt collector. A fake debt collector could have your name and other personal information and still be a fake. You might not have a debt, or he might not have a right to collect your debts.

If he calls again, ask him for his name, company, street address, and telephone number. Tell him you refuse to discuss any debt until you get a written "validation notice." That notice must include the amount of the debt, the name of the creditor you owe, and state your rights under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Read about Fake Debt Collectors, and learn about your rights when you deal with legitimate debt collectors.

I received an email with the heading "mediation offices of Mitchell's and Associates stating i had to pay $1700 by the 26th to avoid court. I do not recognize the creditor. My question is, i thought they had to give you 15 days drom the date of the letter to either settle or deny ( cant think of the right word). How can I tell if they are legit? Anyone can make a website. My other question is, is a mediator, if they really are one, able to get a summoms for a lawsuit?

Under federal law, a "debt collector" is someone who regularly collects debts owed to others. Debt collectors include collection agencies, lawyers who collect debts on a regular basis, and companies that buy delinquent debts and then try to collect them.

If a collector contacts you about a debt, you could talk to them at least once, even if you think you don't owe the debt, or can’t repay it immediately, or think the collector is contacting you by mistake.

Within five days after they first contact you, every debt collector must send you a written “validation notice” telling you how much money you owe, the name of the creditor, and how to proceed if you don’t think you owe the money.

Read more about your debt collection rights.

Usually you get a text message like "Thanks for your Reply. I need your Full Name & Address so i can Cut you a Cashier's Check. Cash-Able at your Bank. Once you En-Cash it. Then My shipper will come over to pick up .!" Followed by "Good. I will forward your address to my Secretary to cut you the check and it will be mailed out by Postal Service. You should receive it within 3 to 4 working days. I would like to request of you to please hold off on selling to others pending our transaction. Hope this is Ok by You. REPLY. Regards" then "Good day to you . have been kinda busy at work your check have been mailed out. And here is the Tracking number via 9405501699320145817580. I want you to keep an eye on it while i do the same. I will get back to you for more regards..REPLY" Then " Good Morning to you...i was just informed by my financial manager this morning that she mistakenly added the shipping Agent fund to the check she mailed to you,Pls has soon as you get the check. Go ahead and have it cashed. Deduct your money and have rest send to the shipper via money gram So he can be able to come for the pick up...i will let you have is info when you have the cash in hand . I hope i can trust you with This, Reply Asap" It just keeps on going. It take it as a challenge to play dumb as long as possible to waste as much of the scam artists time I can. Because I sell a few things on Craigslist per week I get 2-3 of these a week..

I give the scammers so much *$!! they take my number off their call list. A simple hang up and you will still be called. I do get maybe 1 a month.

Is Lexington Law a scam for fixing credit issues

I'd been emailed by a Military intelligence that my scammed money will be refunded to me. It's in Treasury safekeeping trust which they sent me a certificate as well as I've to settle my taxes at once and my funds will be paid to my account. Anyone knows more about refunds?

That offer of a refund could be another scam.

Some scammers contact victims a second time and try to get more money. They might ask you to send money to pay a tax or fee before you get the refund. That is a scam. They might ask for your bank account number so they can deposit the refund. If you tell them your account number, they can take your money.

As someone who fell for a overseas scam, save all documentation and bring the paperwork and your story to the nearest FBI office. I did and the person was caught and is now in jail in England. I worked with the London police. Don't think you're a fool or stupid and you're the only one because that's what scammers want you to think. If you were scammed, many others were also. Be brave and contact the authorities. It's their job to listen and help.

I have been getting scammed for many years and I have my Credit on freeze and now on Feb 15, I was notified about a anthem breach settlement. I'm not sure how they got my information but I need to know if it's possible to file a TIN ?

I need to unfreeze my credit so I can build credit but as for all these hospital bills which my insurance covers 100% there still charging me.

As well as the online website scams such as PayPal, 30 day free trial programs that want your credit card number to do the free trial yet after 30 days I still see the whole regular membership cost deducted from the credit card on file.

How can I fix this after 5 years of damage I can't seem to get credit??

Thank you

Hi there, I have received several calls on my mobile in Australia from Antony Bellagio who says he is from Federal Trade Commission, he is promising to return the funds I have in my Vault Option account of $89,274 USD, his email is ftc.accounting @, is this a scam?

Yes! This is definitely a scam. Please don't give this person any money or information. He is impersonating a US federal government agency, and you can report the details of the scam to the FTC's law enforcement database at

Thank you for letting us know about this.

I was scammed by a person I met on a Facebook forum for people with Lyme disease. She never asked for money directly but she won my trust and my friendship and as she disclosed her employment and financial woes she knew I would come to her rescue. She introduced me to her spouse and was extremely flattering for an entire year. When she couldn’t pay her rent this past October I paid it, to the “landlord” I suppose. It escalated from there and I found myself buying groceries from amazon, having phone cards fill and even bought a laptop for her destitute daughter to be able to finish highschool with. I never suspected a thing but she managed to get about $1200 from me in the past 4 months. My family was furious with me and I feel like an idiot. I wonder how many other people she had providing her with this and that. It could easily equal a solid part time income. So it is not always 10s of thousands and a romance but it could be a scammer posing as a friend.

I was fraudulantly scammed by a tech imposter by NY phone number with TechGini Solutions and paid them by American Express and Best Buy giftcards. Please, if anyone receives such calls as a security breach threat or ID theft, please do not answer to such calls claiming to be legitimate technicians. Do Not Send any Money, a mistake I did! Instead, contact your local police and take your computer for a cleaning with your local technician immediately.

I thought all on my FB. Should read this

These romance scammers are redonkulous....I mess with them back and waste their time. No sorry nobody falls in love with you in a week I don't care h o w lonely you are wake up if it is too good to be true it is. I have some idiot trying it right now. Here is his deal dad in UK died 6 years ago....divorced mom dying of cancer....wife left him with nothing after cheating on him with best friend. Lets see he is 91 % deaf because he had the exhaust of a jet blow up in his face killing 3 of his men......oh my he even sent me his drivers license not much will be done if reported they just move on to the next one

I was scammed by a man online claiming to be from apple. I gave up my last $400 in a very panic, and stupid manner. I am so upset with myself. I can't let myself live it down.. I don't want to vent about it to anyone, because I feel ever more dumb. But I feel at peace on this website.. As unfortunate as it is, I do not feel alone here, and that takes away some of the sting.. Thank you everyone for sharing your stories. I hope all these people rot in hell

Got a call on my cell phone at 10:52am on 02/12/2018. A foreign-accented voice with noise in the background said I was in default & owed the IRS a lot of money. I would be arrested by IRS agents if I didn't pay up within 24 Hrs. Since 714-927-9061 didn't belong in the Washington DC area, I asked for their office location. They hung up on me. This is a Tax Agent Impersonation Scam which the FTC should investigate very thoroughly.

I got a call from NYC Police Dept, saying it was my grandson, who was arrested, DUI, in accident with another car driven by a pregnant woman. Couldn't hear him well, said he had stitches on his lip. Don't tell anyone, too ashamed,but I'll have my lawyer call you. "Lawyer" called and said if we sent $3,000.00 he could bail my grandson out of jail. We sent it. It had to be sent to a Wells Fargo bank, had account number and name to send it to. Next day he said "good news bad news". My "grandson could get out, but because baby died, judge raising bail to $9,000.00...we sent it, and then just as we were about to send another $3,000.00 to get car out of impound, we found out it was a scam, so that wasn't sent. Reported all account numbers and phone numbers to local police and FBI...nothing more heard. Grandson was fine, in his office...hindsight is 20/20...working on pure emotion, not logic....and lost $9,000.00

Thank you for sharing your story. You can also report that to the Western Union Fraud Hotline at 800-448-1492.

I had a room available to share and I posted that ads in facebook group and this girl names REKHA CHOWDARY and her brother KIRAN DONTHIREDDY reached out to me enquiring about a room and they told me they want to send some deposit in my account to reserve a room and asked my accoutn number , and I am fool to give them my account number. They got my account info , deposited larger amount $1300 and $1400 dofferent times , made you fall into their trick and asked me to refund back that amount immediately, I was nice and ended up falling into their trick and transfered lot of money using paypal and zelle transfer in email address they provided me and after they received my money , they called my bank being me and file a ATM check card fraud for the amount they deposited into my account and my bank put temporary credit adjustment ( the deposit that came into your account disappeared and bank reversed that amounts when I told them i got scammed and I didnt filed that claim). I ended up loosing lot of money. As soon as I discovered I got scammed I reported to the bank, police , FBI (IC3) and Federal Trade Commission ( FTC). My claim in bank is still in hold and Looks like Bank will deny my claim cause they told me they made a transfer accordance to my instructions. And i feel fool and it is hurting me to loose more than $6000. I dont know what to do. I have two small children and dont have money . How could someone just plan to rip off innocent people’s hard earned money? And Please Beware of these smart scammers. Don’t fall any of their trick.
my friend also got scammed by same person. These people named Rekha chowdary ( phone # +1 (929) 335-3805), email : rekha. bheemi@ gmail. com and kiran donthireddy ( phone # ‭(516) 654-7934‬) email : kiran. donthireddy9@ and another email : ycs9klu @ Need to get caught and rotten into prison.
this girl named Rekha was moving from Boston to Work for Pay Pal San Jose as a Intern Java developer and wanted to live in Fremont. She also mentioned that scam girl has a friend in Milpitas/Fremont area not sure if this is all true. She was originally from Hyderabad ( no idea if its true). For gods sake and innocent people’s sake , if you spotted them please report them to police so that they dont rip off hard working people’s money. HELP me get my money back.

I have been receiving calls as well as family saying I have several complaints being filed against me, they won't tell me the debt information just that it's from past years. How can I find out if they are true debt collectors. When I search their phone number 219-318-1200 it comes up with sites saying it's a scam. Please help, they are calling all my family and leaving the same message

You have rights when you deal with legitimate debt collectors. Read this FTC article about your debt collection rights.

Within 5 days after they first contact you, every debt collector must send you a written “validation notice” that says how much money you owe, the name of the creditor you owe money to, and what you can do if you don’t think you owe the money.

Some callers are fake debt collectors. They have some of your personal information. They try to scare people into sending money, even though they don't really owe a debt. Read this FTC article about Fake Debt Collectors.

If you think a debt collector might be a fake, ask him for his name, company, street address, and telephone number. Tell him you refuse to discuss any debt until you get a written "validation notice."

Calls saying i need to pay 978 or i will be sued for 22200 for bank fraud they are scammers but have my social security number scammers

i've been recieving phone calls about 5 to 8 a day from unknown caller different provinces and different nos. each time.I don't answer but would like it to stop without having to change my number?

I have been the victim of a scamming computer company this years,so I know how you all feel i keep thinking about i just can not believe it. It was so convincing and i lost money to. They said i could not get my money with out the approval FTC,Consumer protection ETC, use a # 272 279 5897.


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