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Identity Theft

Getting unordered seeds and stuff in the mail?

Those mysterious seeds from China have been in the headlines, but we’re also hearing about other stuff that people are getting that looks connected to the seed mystery. There could be a few things going on, so let’s start unraveling the Great Unwanted Goods Mystery of 2020.

Scammers impersonate the FTC, too

Scammers never seem to run out of new ways to try to take your money or steal your identity, especially in times of crisis like the one we’re living through now.

One of the latest schemes involves an email that claims—falsely—that it came from me. It might say you’re entitled to some money from a phony “Global Empowerment Fund” and tell you to give your bank account number or credit card information.

Help COVID-19 contact tracers, not scammers

After nearly three months of stay-at-home orders, America is starting to open up again. Contact tracers, the folks who work for state health departments to try to track anyone who may have been exposed to COVID-19, are an important part of our road to recovery. But some scammers are pretending to be contact tracers so they can profit off of the current confusion. They’re trying to steal your identity, your money – or both. Luckily, there are ways to tell the difference between a real contact tracer and a scammer.

The IRS won’t call about your stimulus money

Most people have already gotten their economic stimulus payments, but the Internal Revenue Service is still sending them out. If you haven’t gotten yours yet or have questions about it, the IRS has a number you can call to get answers to common questions. But the IRS won’t be calling you.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Kohl’s must give records to identity theft victims

Imagine a thief used your information to buy things at Kohl’s – or used your Kohl’s credit card to go on a shopping spree. You’d want to get the records to prove it and clear up your good name. The law says you’re entitled to do exactly that. That’s what the FTC’s latest settlement with Kohl’s is about.

Is a scammer getting unemployment benefits in your name?

In a large-scale scam erupting in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, imposters are filing claims for unemployment benefits, using the names and personal information of people who have not filed claims. People learn about the fraud when they get a notice from their state unemployment benefits office or their employer about their supposed application for benefits.

Military Data Spotlight: Identity theft and servicemembers

Every year, thousands of servicemembers report to us about their consumer experiences. Those reports are the focus of the FTC’s Data Spotlight, Identity theft causing outsized harm to our troops. From an analysis of the data, we can see that servicemembers often face consumer challenges that differ from those faced by their civilian counterparts – especially when it comes to identity theft. For instance, active duty servicemembers are 76% more likely than other adults to report that an identity thief misused one of their existing accounts, such as a bank account or credit card. Most notably, they are nearly three times as likely to report that someone used a debit card or some other electronic means to take money directly from their bank account. The Spotlight goes on to discuss other associated issues that servicemembers face, including identity theft-related debt collection and problems with credit bureaus.

Did an ID thief steal your stimulus payment? Report it to us.

Do you think your economic impact payment has landed in the hands of an identity thief? You can report it to the FTC and the IRS at the same time. Here’s what to do.

Not every COVID-19 testing site is legit

You probably know that COVID-19 tests are in short supply. But did you know there’s no shortage of scammers setting up fake COVID-19 testing sites to cash in on the crisis?

Hang up on tech support calls

It can be frustrating to have problems with your computer, especially now that so many people are working from home. But if you get a call from someone claiming to be a Microsoft technician, saying there are viruses on your system, hang up the phone. It’s a scam.

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