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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
Scam Tags:  Avoiding Scams


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.

Generally? Scammers try to blind you with panic or greed and push you to act now.
One variation to be wary of is fake tech support since if you fall for it, they will hold your computer hostage. Tech support will never call you unsolicited and it’s guaranteed that those pop ups online claiming your computer is already infected are a scam. If you aren’t sure, look up the company’s number on your own and call them.

It happened to me. The support Scam blocked my web/computer activity with a scare-ware tactic full-screen notification alert allegedly from Microsoft (MS) stating that my computer was infected with a virus and that I should call 1-855-268-5399 for support. I did call them, however, when it was time to make their services payment, my credit card was blocked by my bank. I tried to get it unblocked, but to no avail. So I gave them my account # and routing #'s. Of course they accepted the info and sent me an e-mail with a security code for protection against phone scammers and a payment receipt for 69900 dollars for fixing my computer w/2yr 24/7 support. All seemed to be on the up and up, so I kept watch on my online banking acct for any activity. In the meantime, I called my bank rep to see why my account was frozen and she reported that the payment transaction took place by someone located in China. This was not what the tech support people (East Indians) had said. They told me that the description activity on my account would state that it was from their company (Digi-Tech). I also checked online and they did appear to have a valid website digitechinfosolutions. com). Seemingly, the company’s located in Ontario Canada. Anyway, getting back to watching my bank activity - apparently they couldn’t access my acct. with the info I provided them. So the next business day (Monday), I closed and opened a new account.
It was fortuitous that I did not get scammed, which is as you mentioned these pop-ups set you into a panic mode making you believe you need help. I did file a FTC complaint, but today I got a phone call that went to message from Penn Credit Corporation approximately one month after this incident.
It looks like this company is after their money - hiring a collections agency! My question to you and FTC is can they actually do this? Am I on the hook for this bill? I don’t want a hassling collection agency calling me on a daily basis or even more times a day! *FYI -on scam popup screens bring up your Task Mgr and “end task” or try Alt +F4.

Some scammers call back and make a second attempt to get your money. They might say they want to give you a refund, or try to collect more money from you. Don't give your information to a scammer. You can report the calls to the FTC at

FYI.... scammers posing as employees from legitimate businesses so when you (the job seeker) researches the company, everything looks good. HOWEVER, if the interview is online (which is legit for work from home positions) and the interviewer asks any questions pertaining to your personal finance - RUN! It's a scam called "spoofing". Contact the company you are supposed to be interviewing with but get the contact information online. DO NOT USES ANY INFORMATION given by the interviewer. Contact that company and ask about the job interview. They will quickly be able to tell you whether it's legitimate or not. Be careful out there!

I got a email stating That Apple and I tunes have detected a a possible unauthorized charge and to open the pdf DONT DO IT ITS A SCAM
Next I got a email saying that American Express has detected a unauthorized charges and I should click on pdf its a scam I don't have a American Express card

is it a scam?

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.


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