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“Pass it On” at the holidays

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Holidays often mean time with family and friends. If you’re looking for conversation starters that avoid tricky topics – like who should’ve won the World Series – why not chat about scams? Pass it On, an FTC education campaign, gives you new ways to talk about scams and how to prevent them.

Sharing what you know can protect someone who you know from a scam. That’s why the FTC created Pass it On – articles, presentations, bookmarks, activities and videos – to get you talking about scams. Now, Pass it On has an updated website with four new topics. Here’s a glimpse:

Maybe your retired aunt is looking for ways to make extra money and saw ads promising big money working at home – for a fee. Remind her to check out the company first and share this advice about work-at-home scams: don’t pay money to earn money.

Commiserating about leaky roofs, old windows, or repairing a home after storm damage? Be sure to discuss home repairs scams. Before starting repairs, get three written estimates and proof of license and insurance.

If you want folks to kvetch about something other than why kids don’t eat their vegetables, bring up unwanted calls. We all get them and many are from scammers. Remind people to just hang up and don’t trust caller ID. It can be faked. Ask your carrier about call blocking – or consider buying a call blocking device as a holiday gift.

Or maybe you prefer a little friendly competition? Quiz your friends and family about what a money mule is. Not sure yourself? Read more about money mule scams. The short answer is: when someone sends you money and asks you to send it on to someone else, you could be what law enforcement calls a money mule. Don’t do it. You could lose money and get into legal trouble.

This year, when you pass the turkey, pass on your knowledge about scams. And if you know someone who’s alone this holiday season, reach out to them too. You’ll probably brighten their day and may even help prevent a scam.


I really do appreciate your tips about scams. I honestly feel safer, more in control of my life and not feel I'm aways like a bait to be tricked. I also pay it forward by passing along the valuable information that certainly can save someone from being robbed and destitute.

Hope about robo calls for help with student loans to those of us who never borrowed a single dollar to fund our higher education costs? Even when you give in and answer the call and explain they are calling a household that never borrowed a penny for student loans they still persist! Disgraceful

Lately I've had several phone calls from myself i.e. the caller id gives my name and number. Also, I continue to get calls from "microsoft" but have never had an account or any equipment from this company. Most of the messages say that my license is about to expire.

I work in a library and love to share this information, but I post articles on the wall for patrons to see. Having information on a 2nd page means that they will not see that information. Can you put at least some of the information from page 2 on the 1st page so I can post these articles?

Sure, we'd like to help you share! Let us know which articles you're looking for.

And remember, all information from the FTC is public. You are free to copy anything you find on the FTC website and put it on your letterhead, or in your newsletter or email.

You can also order free copies of factsheets, bookmarks and brochures - which are shipped for free - from our bulkorder site:

Thanks. I'll try to set them up myself. I wasn't sure I could change them.

Please say something about scams on computer saying you need to update your system when a pop up shows warning your system at risk. I keep my virus protection updated and run virus scan periodically and update system as needed but the scams are out there.

This is one of the best FTC alerts I've ever received! So practical and actually a great way to divert some of the dreaded holiday dinner conversation that always seems to occur!

How timely! I was just researching how prevalent the current "scams" are, and what's being done to combat them... I will definitely be passing on to others the advice, warnings and reporting resources found on this site. The holiday season is definitely the best time to share this information with friends, family, and loved ones! :-)

I received a voice message from from 202-840-8388 & 334-458-8840 It stated that I owe a debt and if I did not return their call within 24 hrs they were going to contact my place of employment and garnish my check and put a warrant out for my arrest. I called the number and she stated that I owe for a online loan for 2011. I ask the name of the company and was given one I had never heard of. Then she stated I could settle today for $710 or pay the full amount in installment for $1,700. Last week they called my sister's phone and left a message. What should I do?

I was called with that same spam caller. I owe a debt if I dont call back within 24hr with certain amount my banks with charge. Theres another spam caller saying that your social security number popped up in illegal activity if I dont call them back I will go to jail .be aware of that scam as well. Good luck stay safe.

It seems as if every day there are new scams I hear about here and on other news sites.

I used to think most people were honest, but I am reassessing that line of thought.

I recently received a phone call instructing me to push #1 if I wanted to continue the conversation, or press #2 if I wanted to hang up. Why would I need to push #2 to hang up? I reasoned it was a scam - and hung up! I suspect pushing #2 would have connected me with something I would not have been happy about.

I have gotten that one several times. Finally I pressed #2...guess what: it only paused the call! I even pressed #1 "to speak to a representative" ...guess what: Nobody there!
My phone is loaded with "spoof" calls, I block them on my system, but they just use a different number. AAUGH

I’m being called from someone who said they are work for Federal Trade Commission but their cell phone say the company name Accenture in Virginia. This has to do with him thinking I’ve been scammed. He now has me also talking to an FBI agent in Washington DC. I do not live in either state. They have asked me personal questions about how much money I have in my bank account, where I work, how much I make. The FBI agent told me he could get my name off the dark web for $500. The supposed FTC person got my name from an agent at WesternUnion. Before I go on and on about this please tell me if you actually have FTC employees working in Accenture Bldg in Virginia and btw these are cell phones that they are calling me from. Thank you I would appreciate any information or advice you have for me

That sounds like a scam. Federal government employees will not call you and ask for money. Please don't talk to these people again. You can call the  FTC complaint line at 1-877-382-4357 to talk a person and report those calls.

Excellent article and a reminder that scam techniques and methods often change but still remain a scam. A wise person once told me "to be aware is to be alive".

Isn't the FTC responsible for limiting the number of these robocalls in the first place? I don't even answer my phone anymore because every call is a tax scam, medicare scam, or extended car warranty scam.

We received two calls today from Wash DC on one of our cell phones we have transferred from our landline. The message that came up said it was a Potential Scam. This is a new message alert we've never received before. We immediately hung up and were able to block them without an actual phone number appearing. They even tried to leave a message which was blocked. Is this coming from our cell or our landline provider? This is a good indicator of who's calling. I hope this is the beginning of a way to curb the incessant robo calls we receive every day. Thank you to them and to our FTC.

I get calls from #202-565-6038 and ID says unavailable but the recording saying my social security number has been stolen and being used!!!!!!! PLEASE STOP THESE PEOPLE DOING THIS!!!!!! When I ans it is a recording about my SOCIAL SECURITY!!!!! BAD PEOPLE OUT THERE!!!!!

Getting many calls this November 2019 regarding this is now "the open enrollment period for health care insurance". Getting both scam calls on both my cell phone and landline....sometimes as many 4-5 times a day.

My husband clicked on a site that generated this message (along with sound) onto his desktop computer.
Windows Security Microsoft Edge The server is asking for your username and password. Call toll free 888.334.0953

I been getting 100 of calls saying there a job center and they have a job for me . I have employment I'm not looking for another job. Also My block call log is fill up from 5am to 11pm full of scam callers. My voice mail gets fill up with spam callers leaving 5 sec messages. I gotten in trouble with my job for not answering my phone when they need me to cover a job. I miss out on routes and money because if these robocalls its sicking .

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