scam

Free movies, costly malware

“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.

The FTC won’t offer to fix your computer

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.

Don’t let utility scams overpower you

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.

Calls asking “Can you hear me now?”

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.

Don't bank on that check

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.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Scammers even impersonate kidnappers

Imposters will pretend to be anyone to get you to send them money. Recently, reports of virtual child kidnapping imposter scam have resurfaced.

Government imposters want to get to know you

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the FTC want you to know about a scam in which callers posing as federal employees are trying to get or verify personal information. This is a government imposter scam.

Prize Scams: Don’t Pay to Play

You get a phone call from an excited caller saying you’ve won a trip, a car, or a lot of money. Next, they ask you to send money before you get the prize. That is a sure sign of a scam.

Recently, we’ve heard about a spike in prize scam calls. Although there are some legitimate contests, remember: there are a lot of scams. Here are a few ways to spot a prize scam:

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Scammers are spoofing news sites to promote health products

Scammers will do just about anything to rip you off. They will create fake websites, use fake endorsements from public figures, lie about the effectiveness of their products, and much more.

We did some investigating and found that a number of shady companies selling “brain booster” pills are using these exact tactics to promote their products. Here’s how:

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

Global Connect technical support scam, part 2

Last fall, the FTC shut down an operation called Global Connect, which sent deceptive pop-up messages to people’s computers. The pop-ups claimed the computers had problems when they really didn’t, and the operators scared thousands of people into paying hundreds of dollars each for tech support services they didn’t need.We recently learned that some of these same people are getting called again.

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