If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ve heard us say repeatedly to report scams to the FTC. If you report scams to us, we can bring the kinds of cases that shut down the scammers.
But there’s another place to report international scams, too: econsumer.gov.
Scammers are big on hiding behind fake names and titles. We’ve heard from hundreds of people who got calls from fake ‘court officials’ about jury duty. The fraudsters claimed to be court officers, accused people of skipping jury duty and said they had to pay a fine immediately or face arrest. If you get a call like that, hang up. That’s not a real official calling.
Growing up, we all learned that money doesn’t grow on trees. Here’s another hard truth: the federal government is not giving away thousands of dollars in grants to people who pay their taxes on time, have no criminal records, never declared bankruptcy or were ‘selected in a demographic survey.' Anyone who claims you’ll get ‘free money’ for those reasons is trying to scam you.
Counsel for International Consumer Protection, FTC
People who’ve recently arrived in the US have a lot of adjustments to make. For many refugees and immigrants, and some of the social services groups who help them, the basics come first: figuring out language, food, shelter, and work. Understanding how to avoid fraud isn’t high on the list – until a scam finds a recent arrival.
That’s why the FTC has created new materials to help refugees and immigrants spot, avoid and report scams. We worked closely with the International Rescue Committee to create a short handbook to help anyone identify a sure sign of a scam.
Calling people and pushing them to pay debts they don’t really owe?
Posing as law enforcement and fake government agencies like the “Federal Crime Unit of the Department of Justice”?
Threatening to sue or arrest people — or tell their family and employers about a debt?
Reciting people’s Social Security and bank account numbers to seem legit?
Yup, this fake debt collection scheme did it all, illegally collecting more than $5.2 million in fake payday loan debts.
Senior Attorney, Bureau of Consumer Protection, FTC
Are you a nanny or caregiver who lists your services on sites like care.com, sittercity.com, or craigslist.com? A few months ago, we warned about a scam that targets caregivers like you. Here’s a reminder: a con artist emails or texts an offer to hire you. The scammer also sends you a check and asks you to deposit it, keep some money for your services, and send the rest to someone else to — supposedly — pay for special items or medical equipment. But the check is fake, and it can take weeks for a bank to discover the forgery. If you deposit the check and withdraw the funds, you’ll wind up owing the bank all that money.
Attorney, FTC's Division of Consumer & Business Education
If you serve – or have served – in the military, chances are you feel a pretty tight bond with your brothers- and sisters-in-arms. If you share a common experience with someone, it only makes sense that you trust them, want to associate with them, or even do business with them.
But here’s something to bear in mind: scammers count on your trust in fellow servicemembers – and use it against you. A con artist might have actual service experience or they might be lying about it. Either way, they’re highly skilled at exploiting a military connection to get in good with you. Once they have your trust, they use it to deflect any questions and to throw you off track while they cheat you. It’s known as affinity fraud – when someone uses their membership in a group to scam another member. It could be someone claiming you can trust them because of the shared experience of serving in the military.
Your social media feed is abuzz with stories of people making serious money selling an energy drink. Not one to miss out an opportunity, you do a quick search and come across a viral video. The guy making the pitch insists you can make thousands of dollars a month. “Forget working 9 to 5. Join the Young People Revolution!” he says. You think to yourself, “I’m young people! And I can totally get on board with a revolution.”
Slow your roll, my friend. Before you shell out a wad of cash and start making pitches to your friends, you should know that the FTC just filed a complaint against the company behind the pitch.
Online scammers are recruiting. They’re looking for people to help them transfer money and stolen goods. Of course, they don’t come right out and say that’s what they want. Instead, they claim to offer work at home jobs or pretend to be your romantic partner and ask you for a ‘favor.’ The scammers’ goal: to use your bank account, personal information and address to help them steal money.
Rachel and her cohorts — Anne, Tiffany, Michael, Heather and others — from “Card Services” have been annoying people for years with their illegal robocalls. And the FTC is working hard to stop them — both bringing cases and hosting competitions to develop robocall-blocking technology. So, what’s the deal with these calls, and why won’t they stop? We’ve got answers to your top 3 questions.