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Phishing is when someone uses fake emails or texts – even phone calls – to get you to share valuable personal information, like account numbers, Social Security numbers, or your login IDs and passwords. Scammers use this information to steal your money, your identity, or both. They may also try to get access to your computer or network. If you click on a link in one of these emails or texts, they can install ransomware or other programs that lock you out of your data and let them steal your personal information.

Scammers often use familiar company names or pretend to be someone you know. They pressure you to act now – or something bad will happen.

The FTC’s new infographic, developed with the American Bankers Association Foundation, offers tips to help you recognize the bait, avoid the hook, and report phishing scams.

Please share this information with your school or family, friends and co-workers. You can also test your knowledge by playing this al-luring game.

Want to avoid the latest rip-offs? Sign up for free consumer alerts from the FTC at ftc.gov/subscribe.

Phishing is when you get emails, texts, or calls that seem to be from companies or people you know. But they’re actually from scammers. They want you to click on a link or give personal information(like a password) so that they can steal your money or identity, and maybe get access to your computer.

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24 Comments


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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
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  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

domore
March 06, 2019
Thank you. It's good to receive such messages from FTC. How about building some tools that will appear along each link in browsers allowing us to check against a known DB of scammers. Please innovate and lead, don't always be playing catch-up.
rysio
March 06, 2019
This is extremely helpful especially to our senior citizens. I will pass this to our Senior and Chamber centers Thank you
Dedeye
March 06, 2019
Thank you FTC for giving us the addresses where we can report these scumbags!! I've always tried to get as much info from them before I report them to you, even though I know it's all felonious names etc. Now at least I have other places to go. The one thing I hate the most are the automated calls with live (?) people (had one yesterday & she was a real person) who keep calling about #1 my credit or #2 saying because of my credit I qualify for blah blah blah. My # is on the DO NOT CALL list but it hasn't done any good from these piranha.
WPCARPDon't us…
March 06, 2019
When/if I see an e-mail that I do not recognize all I do is hover over the senders name with my cursor. If I see that it is something other than ANYTHING that I recognize I delete it. I never open suspected sites without doing this.
YankeeLady
March 06, 2019
Seems as though reporting scams, phishing, etc. does no good whatsoever. FTC doesn't make it easy to report phishing phone calls, and the "Do Not Call Registry" seems like it's just a great source of numbers for the crooks.
Monicatfp
May 19, 2020

In reply to by YankeeLady

Have you tryed to file a report.? It took me less than 10 mins.
Molly’s mom
March 06, 2019
Knowing where to report these incidents is so very valuable. I have noticed an extreme increase in the number of calls. Blocking the callers is nearly futile as I counted one caller s having a minimum of 16 phone numbers they called from changing only the last or last two digits. Thank you FTC for all you do.
60Crosby
March 06, 2019
Very good way to test a person's awareness for identity theft which is a travesty to anyone especially, Senior Citizens...everyone is not financially secure and would not want this to happen to anyone!! Thanks
COOKIE
December 10, 2019
I received an e-mail marked amazon pay. It said "Thank you for using Amazon Pay with RedBubbleInc.com". It showed an amount of $182.46 and also an Amazon Pay payment Id along with merchant information. It had a link to click on "view my order @ redbubble. com. It also had a merchant order ID. This really scared me, so I phoned Amazon Fraud Department immediately. Any e-mails that Amazon sends is recorded under "my account" which brings up boxes. In one of the boxes is listed e-mails. You can click on this and see what e-mails Amazon has sent to you. If you click on any of these links from the fake e-mail, unplug your computer and and modem. Wait, then turn on again and run your security program to scan for any viruses of malware. Better yet....don't click on any links.
Honor
November 19, 2019
I've been sent two phishing attempts from the same scammer several weeks apart with the email header of fsahury@ fanasahn. and I reported both attempts to government agencies. The scammer starts off by thanking for paying $730 for their services then provides a link. Their link to a devious website which captures your info and data is used in the hopes they've got the victim rattled enough to click on that link. Word of advice: Don't click on their links or issue any correspondence in any way though you may be tempted. Save the mail and forward to agencies which oversee scams and phishing attempts. The same goes for scams and phishing attempts found on social media such as facebook, twitter, pinterest, ebay, amazon, etsy and other online marketplaces. Scammers and thieves often use the more popular sites as covers with which to hide themselves.
Realist
March 07, 2019
To the complainers who expect the FTC or some other entity to protect them from themselves: What do you think these posts are? If you read them or the myriad news stories, you know not to answer calls from a number you don’t know or respond to emails from entities you don’t know. Take responsibility for yourself.
CuriousGeo
March 07, 2019
You mention that phishing tactic mentions no name. So, we should be weary about correspondence with no name addressed to us. I recently received mail by the post office from the US Census urging our household to answer personal questions, starting with the names & ages of our children (If any) and it didn’t address any name or to the attention of.... I thought that was pretty weird. And it came with a small donation for volunteering information. I didn’t think it was real, so I threw it in the trash along with the donation. It could’ve been counterfeit. ($5...no big deal) But, 2 weeks later we receive another one with a $10 donation wanting us to indulge information AGAIN with no name addressed!! I tried googling and using social media if anyone else was receiving correspondence like this but haven’t received any info from either sources. Still, to me, it seemed kinda ‘phishy’ (no pun intended)
DonBJ't use yo…
March 08, 2019
why doesn't the FTC go after the phone company because they control the phone numbers and where all these calls are coming from they must do thousands of calls a day seems like everyone get several every day
VeryUpsetVictim
March 09, 2019

In reply to by DonBJ't use yo…

You are so right. I’ve asked them the same question over and over.
Neptune#6
March 14, 2019

In reply to by DonBJ't use yo…

I agree do not answer these calls however so far have gotten 10 unknow calls trying to get me to answer. I am over 80 with medical problems. one keeps leaving a message on machine about my student loan.?? how to cope is getting to be a problem.
Linda-CT
March 26, 2019
Recently phished on Twitter showing a lovely family posing for not for profit political gp, it was locked by Twitter- tk God.
Annoyed
April 04, 2019
Has anyone been receiving phone calls with the person saying they just missed my call and I haven’t called them. This is happening about 20 times a day from different numbers
dakn9348
May 01, 2019
I got a call tonight from the phone number 866-931-7075 claimed to be social security but I didn't think that I would get a call from them at almost 6:00 pm so I didn't give any information just hung up not sure if it was really SSA or not hope I did the right thing
YEARIGHT54
July 12, 2019

In reply to by dakn9348

I JUST GOT THAT CALL FROM THAT NUMBER.. HE ASK THAT I VERIFY SS. DOES THIS SS FOR A MALE OR FEMALE. THEY HUNG UP!!! CALL CAME FROM RICE,TX TODAY AT 4:13 I BLOCK NUMBER
rah
May 07, 2019
Criminals are now collecting recordings of voice from the unsuspecting public (or even targeted individuals) because your voice can be inserted into scripts and used for crimes carried out digitally and by phone. Is that not right?
Lilasmom
May 30, 2019
Do you have advise on how to fix the problem if I have already mistakenly given out my personal and bank info?
Wayne
September 05, 2019
Received instance message via Facebook showing a picture of a very old friend. Old friend says seniors are receiving money from a fund Pennsylvania. He says "I will send you the link" Man says his name is Thomas Steven. I call my friend and he says he knows nothing about this.
stephers
November 11, 2019
Do not let a man named Edwards Hasbrook try to fool you and say he’s in love with you and asking all your personal information. He said he was military police. But then changed his profession to seaman on cruise ship. He uses Facebook to fish in women.
db
September 25, 2020
Do you have advise on how to fix the problem if I have already mistakenly given out my personal and bank info?