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Privacy, Identity & Online Security

When it’s not really the government calling

Lots of people are having trouble sleeping, thanks to the pandemic and all the parts of our lives it’s affecting. And it doesn’t help when you get a call saying you owe the government money. Oh, and, they add, you’ll go to jail if you don’t pay up immediately. That’s a scam, and nothing to lose sleep over. For those who are a little more cut off from people than usual, these calls might feel more real and worrying than they are. If you know someone might be cut off from others right now, reach out to them to make sure they know these calls are scams.  

Caught in a bad romance

It’s day four of National Consumer Protection Week and we’ve been discussing ways we can look out for each other during the pandemic. Today’s topic – romance scams. Beyond the job losses and economic fallout of the pandemic, the loneliness and isolation brought on by our virtual lives has real consequences. This might explain why romance scams reached a record $304 million in losses reported to the FTC in 2020. That’s up about 50% from 2019.

Community Advocate Center connects more people to the FTC

When ReportFraud.ftc.gov launched in late 2020, it made telling the FTC about scams much easier. But here’s the thing: we know we’re still not hearing from lots of communities around the country. Not hearing those stories means we might not learn about the problems they experience, or bring cases to stop the bad practices and get money back. Which is, of course, always the goal.

The Drug Enforcement Administration isn’t calling

We’re getting reports about scammers pretending to be Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents. They’re trying to get your money and personal information, and using alarming phone calls to do it.

Help fight COVID vaccine scams: Share these tips with those you know

Since the start of the pandemic, people are spending a lot more time alone at home. What’s more, there’s a lot of confusion about when, how, and where to sign up and get vaccinated. Add those two things together, and you get scammers taking advantage and spreading false information, hoping isolated people will believe their lies.

When it comes to scams, let’s look out for one another

This pandemic has brought lots of side effects. Lost jobs, lost income, and lost homes are themes we see around the country — and scammers know just how to take advantage of these worries. Another side effect of the pandemic is isolation, which scammers also like to use to their advantage. During National Consumer Protection Week, which starts today, I’m asking you to join me in fighting isolation to fight scams.

Join us for these NCPW events next week

National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) 2021 is coming up next week, and we’d love for you to join us for some virtual events. NCPW is a time when the FTC joins with local, state, and national partners to bring you information and advice on scams, identity theft, and other consumer protection issues.

They give love a bad name

Leaving broken hearts and empty bank accounts, romance scammers give love a bad name. Now that you know how many people experience romance scams, and how to spot the scams, take some anti-scam action this Valentine’s Day. Whether you’re wondering if that interesting person who just messaged you is for real, looking forward to February 15 discounts on chocolates, or thinking about friends who are out in the online dating world, here are some messages to know and share about romance scams.

Achy fakey heart

You’ve heard of romance scams. But do you know how they happen? They start when scammers create fake profiles on dating apps or social media. Then, those scammers strike up a relationship with their targets and work to build trust. Sometime later, they make up a story and ask for money.

Not love, actually

Valentine’s Day is this weekend, so over the next three days, we’re talking about romance scams. Lots of people have profiles on dating apps to meet someone — maybe even more so in these virtual times. And many people have built successful relationships from an online start. But what if, instead of finding a potential partner, you find a scam? 

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