Attorney, Division of Consumer and Business Education
Many scammers are the same: they lie, harass, and threaten, all to trick people into paying them money. Recently, the FTC filed a lawsuit against several California-based companies and their owners, saying they used exactly these tactics in an imposter scam. Their operation is now shut down.
To help you avoid scams like this one, here are a few tips:
Attorney, FTC, Division of Consumer & Business Education
If you can’t get your hands on a Nintendo Switch gaming system, you may think an emulator is the next best thing. Think again. Online ads for emulators, sometimes with Nintendo branding, say they can run Switch’s games on your desktop. But there is no legit Nintendo Switch emulator. It’s a scam.
Assistant Director, Division of Consumer and Business Education
If you’ve ever gotten one of those calls, you know how alarming they can be. And that’s exactly what the scammers count on. They want you to act before you think – and acting always includes sending them money: by wiring it or by getting a prepaid card or gift card, and giving them the numbers on the card. Either way, your money’s gone.
Servicemembers and veterans face unique challenges dealing with financial issues, managing their money, and avoiding scams. For servicemembers, frequent relocations mean regularly shopping for housing and buying or selling a car. And servicemembers and veterans alike will navigate important financial decisions, like paying for education. For military folks, these decisions can involve high stakes with long-term effects on family and day-to-day life, security clearance, and mission readiness.
Assistant Director, Division of Marketing Practices
“Something for nothing” sounds appealing, but often there’s a hidden cost. If the something is a site or app offering free downloads or streams of well-known movies, popular TV shows, big-league sports, and absorbing games, the hidden cost is probably malware. Sites offering free content often hide malware that can bombard you with ads, take over your computer, or steal your personal information.
Assistant Director, Division of Marketing Practices, FTC
Some cons send pop-up computer warnings to pitch unnecessary – and sometimes harmful – tech support services. Some make phone calls. Others – like one scammer the FTC just sued – send spam emails that falsely claim the FTC hired them to help remove problem software. In this case, announced today, the court has ordered the defendant to stop claiming he’s affiliated with the FTC, to shut down his websites and phone numbers, and inform current customers who contact him that he is not affiliated with the FTC. If you got one of those messages, please tell the FTC.
When your electricity goes out, you lose power in more ways than one. Daily necessities are out of reach without lights, warm water, and heat or air conditioning.
So if you get a call from someone threating to shut off your utilities because they say you owe money, you’re going pay attention – and you may even pay up. But not so fast. The caller might be an imposter running a utility scam.
Your phone rings and the caller ID shows a number you don’t know. You answer it anyway and hear, “Can you hear me now?” It’s a pre-recorded robocall – even though it sounds like a real person – and it’s illegal. We’ve heard from hundreds of people who have gotten calls like this.
Scammers know how to design phony checks to make them look legitimate. In fact, the Council of Better Business Bureaus’ just released a list of the most “risky” scams, based on how likely people are to be targeted, how likely to lose money, and how much money they lost. Fake checks were number two.