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.

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.

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

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

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

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.


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