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Hey, guys – we’re back. We missed you. What’s been going on? No, really, we want to hear from you. Now that funding has been restored, our systems are live again, and you can report fraud to the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel. We’re anxious to know what scams you’ve been seeing so far in 2019.

As we’ve been checking out the news, it looks like family emergency scams are still a thing – where someone pretending to be a grandkid or family member calls with an emergency and asks you to wire money or buy gift cards for them. We saw some phishing scams – including emails that appear to be from your bank or credit card company but are really from scammers who want your personal information. Ditto tech support scams – where you get a pop-up, email or phone call saying your computer is broken – but it’s really a scammer after your money or access to all the information on your computer. We think sham Social Security is still calling, and we know that scammers are still demanding gift cards as payment for all sorts of things. (Pro tip: that’s always, always a scam.)

We also got a lot of (*@&% robocalls. We know you did, too. But I finally got a blocker on my cell phone, and it really did make a difference.

So, what scams have you run into? Job scams? Tax scams? (It’s that season.…) Health insurance scams? Of course, we welcome comments below, but our investigators can’t follow up on those comments or use them to build cases. So, if you have some fraud to report, please go to and tell us about the latest scam you’ve experienced.


Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


We are getting a lot of spoofed emails from employees claiming they want to change their direct deposit accounts. One local school district even received the email from the employee's actual internal email address with a completed district form and voided check. The pre-note of the account passed, but the account was closed by the time they finalized payroll. Turns out the employee had not initiated the change. We've also had spoofed emails from bosses asking their employees to buy gift cards and send them the numbers.

Keep getting calls on my cell from a robo touting they are Cigna Health/ BC. It is rather annoying. I block a number and they just call from another. I am on the Don Not Call List. Sometimes I wonder if that is the list they are actually using.

I've often wondered that myself. Watch out for Apple Inc. with the correct phone number. ( Not Apple Inc.). They leave a message pretending to be techs want you to push certain numbers or to call 516-344-1156. I got 24 calls on 1-21-19 and 2 on 1-22-19. They are scammers .......I sent an e-mail to the provider of the 516-344-1156 number and the calls stopped almost Immediately.

How did you find the provider's email?

The legitimate companies honor the dnc list. Most people calling that do that kind of calling are up to no good. Many have been proven to be calling from over seas and using a number scrambler. There has been reports of people saying someone has faked their person number and they learn this when people call back angry for the phone call.

Recently I received a call from someone claiming to work for my pharmacy. They wanted me to give my prescription info so they could combine them for group refill and pickup. Seemed suspicious to me, am I wrong or right?

Best thing you can do is , Call your Pharmacy and tell them about the call.

If in doubt say no. Pharmacy and esp your doc should be consulted on any non medical advice. Wife had a call from what she thought was her pharmacy. They (CVS staff) wanted her to change generics. In any case they contacted her doc electronically telling the doc she wanted the change. What she told them is no, she has to check with her Doc for any changes. A lot of activity by 3rd party payers. CVS owns her Aetna ins..

Will there be a work-around for expired passwords to Sentinel.
(Good to have you back...)

Got a false purchase on my Apple account. I don’t have payment setup, don’t live in that state, not female etc. Not an Apple mistake. Wanted my info. Did not show on any accounts because Apple doesn’t have my banking details.

Glad to hear you're back.
Regularly get many scam calls, string of 7 one after the other yesterday, all saying APPLE INC on my caller id but several using different numbers as source/ When running number & searching found numerous others reporting the same thing. I get the impression that perhaps even though many are stopped but just simply start up with the same type of operation as someting new.

Glad you are open, hope you stay open now. I have to say I have not been getting any unsolicited calls since I moved in October. Changed phone number and have not registered it with the DNC line. I am beginning to think that robo-callers somehow get hold of that list to call from. :)

OK. 1 Making

Where does that music come from when they put you on "HOLD"
It sounds like it was recorded in an empty barn 40 years ago. Full of
'scratchy static ' and the same for everyone, one source ,even IRS
or Amazon, even the local city government. Has any CEO ever listen to what it sounds like on "HOLD" ? If we can put a 'Rover' on Mars, surely tech forks can put good music on "HOLD" ~~~~
senior citizen ~~~~ joseph

new app - "youmail" answers your phone with a message, but if it detects a spam call or robocall, will send a disconnect notice back to the robo caller, actually having them delete your number from there system.

Biggest scams I am seeing so far are through email.
Email saying my wife's and now my Outlook account is being deleted. Mom parents have also gotten some as well as us that say, say our Microsoft One Drive is full.
They usually have an attachment. If you click on that they are wanting you to try to login to a fake web address that people put in their username and Password, now they can login from there. We have not fallen for it so far, but I know some that have.

I get constant phone calls (sometimes several times a day) always with a different caller ID from someone purporting to be National Grid. “Hello dear National Grid Customer”.

Same here, just got three within 15 minutes

This one continues - at least 1 a day from different numbers.

So glad you all are back. I am a public librarian, and I love your alerts. It helps with keeping my patrons informed.

The credit card I was using on my Apple account was used yesterday in an attempt to make a $1100.00 purchase. No other site had record of that credit card. Needless to say my card company declined the purchase and is issuing me a new card. I have changed the card on the Apple site as well.

What are you using for your phone blocker and is it just for cell phones? It's my land line that gets them-not my cell.

Someone posing as Apple telling me that I was locked out and wanted me to re-enter all my information including my SS number. I did not and called Apple to ask what was going on and explained that I had gotten two identical emails with a case number and I was told to ignore them and it was a scam. Apple would not do this according to their representative. I am not locked out so I had a gut feeling it was a scam.

I have noticed that many spam emails now prominently display the option to unsubscribe by clicking on a link which most likely gives the sender access to the computer or other personal information. People should be warned not to click on the link even through they would like to "unsubscribe."


The social security petition scam being sent out by the Senior Center in Washington DC. My husband fell for it and sent $20. Since then he has received more than 10 requests -- each one worded differently. I haven't heard anything in the news about this scam but I'm sure they are raking in big bucks all of which are going to line their own pockets.

So glad your back too!

I used to get many robo calls but now maybe one or two a week. All I did was stop answering my calls if the only thing displayed was a number. I thought if it’s an important call they’ll leave a message. Robo callers don’t leave messages. Since they never get an answer when they call me—they stopped calling me.

Scam.....calling to say student loan has been approved...….they just need bank and social security......REALLY!!!and I read you have a blocker on your cell phone....can you tell me how to get that please and thanks.

A web page appeared on my computer saying my Apple computer password was compromised. Funny thing is, I no longer have Apple purchased a Dell five years ago. Didn't bother responding.

I was getting numerous calls on a daily basis from "Apple" saying that our computer would crash but that they had the "license key" and could fix it. The calls have tapered off lately, They did leave a phone number 1-855-222-5744.

I got calls on my cell phone saying that I'd been unregistered from Social Security.

I am getting a lot of calls to sign up for health insurance and the calls sometimes comes from a local number, when I call the number back it's someone's cell number that they have used or if it's a long distance number and when I call it, it does not ring, when I do get them in line to talk to me and if I ask them for a toll free customer service number they give me the runaround or they will hang up on me...

The scam I’ve gotten, blocked and keep getting from various numbers is this. “Hi I'm calling with retail _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ we need people in your area to work with Amazon from home starting pay is $27.50 an hour sign up at retail _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ _⁠_⁠_⁠_ that's retail…”. I have blocked this call numerous times, just comes from another number.

had a customer call and it sounds like he fell for an Amazon/Google ad spoof. He was told to open a bank account, provide the routing and account number, get a debit card. Then they will deposit $22,000 into his account for future ad work he can do for Google and Amazon. When I asked more questions he is not employed with them, he has never met anyone, he has no contract, just is getting an advance payment of $22,000.

Have been getting calls from "Microsoft Security", and hang up as soon as I hear a foreign accent from a person named "Sarah" "Michael". Latest is a new one. This is from my voice mail and starts in midstream. I have NO Apple products.
"Press one to connect with Apple support advisor. Press two to listen to this message again or if you wish to contact us later please call us on our toll free number 646-779-4978. Thank you."

We are one of many affected by the FBA Stores scam. We keep up with the posts on the legal case. However, this does not tell us what is really happening about the possibility of personal reimbursement, which is of prime interest to us, given our current financial situation. How do we find out more?

I have been getting emails supposedly from out of the country demanding money from me in bitcoin. They claim I went to porno sites (which I haven't) and they filmed me and are going to send the photos of me to everyone on my contact list. Is this something you investigate?

I got the same email a couple weeks ago. They wanted $800. in bitcoin. I forwarded it to aol & the gov spam site. Kept it until the date they threatened to take over my PC, then deleted it.

Any new updates for pay back from The Western Union vs USA remittance scams etc ..we need to hear more about this matter please. Thank you!

I too would like to know the latest updates in Mystery shopper/ moneygram scam. Are the after Jan. 2017 victims ever going to be compensated?

I agree. There have been no updates on the status of this case. It would be nice to hear where they are in this process. The last I read was that it could take a year to process and no refunds would be issued until all claims have been processed. I'm sure it's a tedious undertaking. Still, inquiring minds and victims want to know.

The one scam that I get all the time are phone calls for extended auto warranty plans. They use phone numbers that are disconnected or ones that they can change. What good does it do to report it when they don't show their company's name and phone numbers?

Not much changed in this part of the northeastern USA. That I noticed, there wasn't much change in any of the spam/scam/phishing stuff.

Here in Green Valley, Arizona the computer scam making the rounds is where they call a person to tell them that the company who has been providing computer assistance to them is moving out of the country and there's a credit balance in the account. They would like to refund the money, all they need is the person's bank account # so the money can be deposited. If the person falls for this and provides them the banking information and password, the scammers can check to see what other money there is in the account and transfer money out of one account and deposit it into the checking account. Then they claim more money was deposited than intended, but not to worry, all the person has to do is send them a check of the difference.

call in rejected without reason; mailed equifax freeze request, no reply in month?

I missed you too... glad you are back at work and getting pay checks.
Tried to file complaint regarding "MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE NOTIFICATION"... plural (several companies).
They legally use public records to repetively impose themselves on vehicle owners.
They use phrases like "Immediate Response Requested" (primarily to prey on seniors who may fret living on fixed incomes.
I consider this to be harrassment as they will not stop sending such notices even when asked to in a letter.
If done by email they have to provide "unsubscribe" option.
"US Automotive Protection Services"
"Our records indicate that you have neglecting to activate your protection program you will be responsible for paying all repairs out of pocket."
Why is there no consumer option required to stop (unsubscribe") this? (made possible by the US Postal Services chargin higher mail rates to offset cheap commercial mailing rates)

Getting lots of robocalls with our area code. Don't usually answer them because only the telephone number is displayed without a name. Have also gotten one from a "computer maintenance" company claiming they owe me a refund, one claiming to be from SS, and one just this morning claiming to be from Chase Bank and wanting to lower my interest rate. That caller ID actually had Chase Bank as the ID, but it was an automated call and asked me to press 1 for more information. I hung up, fearing it was another scam.

I'm receiving too many telemarketing calls to report one by one. Some are in Chinese, which I don't speak. They ignore requests not to call so I don't answer and block them now. That isn't helping. Neither are apps. The number of calls has not decreased. There needs to be a way to get these numbers to you. This situation is beyond awful.

I reported fraud to you and all you did was send me a blog on how to avoid fraud.


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