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Scammers make up all kinds of stories to get your money, from telling you that you’ve won a prize, you owe a debt, or your family member is in an emergency. But some things stay the same: scammers want your money, they want it fast, and don’t want you to be able to get it back. They’ll ask you to pay in ways that make it hard to track them down — and once you know what these are, you’ll have one more clue to tell if you’re dealing with a scammer.

Watch this video to learn how scammers make people pay, and how you can use this information to avoid scams.

How scammers tell you to pay video

And next time someone insists you pay using one of these methods, tell the FTC.


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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.

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August 03, 2020
I’ve had them act like potential employers , whom would need certain private details in order to pay you. They are just after your sensitive information which will make it easier for them to “con” you. Also making their lies seem more believable because of the info you gave them prior to knowing they were scammers! They have also called me impersonating the IRS and use recorded msgs along with phrasing terms and words to alarm you, saying your social security number has been frozen or will be deleted?? Please don’t give in to them. Always , always err on the side of caution. In any case, call the head office of the organization they say they’re from, and ask if they’re trying to contact you? if someone calls and says they’re from a known government agency, let them know you’d like legal papers sent to the address they have on file, chances are they’ll hang up . They’re just testing you to try to find a weak link that they can extort . Never give info over the phone. Always ask for written documentation and don’t give any info. The government already has your info. They won’t call and ask for sensitive info, rather they’ll mail you documents that you can then take in to the local office of IRS, Police etc.. to verify what is going on, if anything , usually just scammers tying to get an edge.
August 03, 2020
99% of people probably don't see these. Is there a way you could put these on TV? Maybe a local station during the news?
August 03, 2020
Good information -- video could have been "synced" a bit better... words didn't match mouth movements. Other than that - well done. Do hope there are not many people in the world not familiar with these scams!
August 03, 2020
I met someone on a dating site. Also checked face recognition and nothing wrong. Also there was a man with the name that was local. I had a few red flags go up. All of a sudden he was in Dubai on a contract. Asked for $$ as he needed to survive as his bank had frozen his bank card. He couldn't get $$ for 5-7 business days. I said no. Then the sweet texts. Next his son fell on a stairway and they wouldn't treat him without $2250 for blood and meds. I said no and then he said if his son died it was my fault. No more communicatons.
Made in Canada
August 20, 2020

In reply to by enerol18

Film maker? 35 yrs old and handsome with a dog?
August 03, 2020
Anyone that asks for payment in bitcoin or gift cards should turn your scam radar on.
August 04, 2020
Covid-19 scammers calling with alleged contact, mailing of test kits for a fee, and request for credit card number.
August 21, 2020
I also unfortunately got scammed during this COVID 19 pandemic. Although it is not listed on this article, I had dealt with a promise of a job as a “personal assistant” though email. Due to difficult circumstances, I was blindsided and believed this to be a legitimate job. However, they took advantage of my emotions, would rush me to make a payment before I could stop and think, by the time I realized this was a scam, they already took most of my money from me as I honestly believed I was helping people. Be aware of what you receive in your emails because scammers are getting so much better with photoshop and it’s just traumatizing to the point where I feel that I lost part of myself going through this experience.
October 15, 2020
I think i am talking to a scammer who is working for a oil/gas company in Isarel. He is a widow with a 13 year old son who goes to a boarding school in Brooklyn New York. He contacted me on Instagram twice and then asked me to go to Google Hangouts. He has sent me 6 pictures so far and one of his son. The son sends me messages too and i have talked to him on Google handout at least 4 times a day. He asked me for a ebay card so his agent can give the code to the supplier for food for his workers. Machine broke down and need to be fix or contract will end. He suppose to come home in less than 20 days to fly into JFK airport. I have pictures.