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Many of us are at home, trying to protect our communities from the Coronavirus. (Thanks to those who are still working outside the home. Be safe.) If you have a minute to spare, it could be a good time for a refresher on spotting some common scams. Especially now that you might be home to get all those robocalls – and especially since the scammers are doubling down on ways to scam you. With that in mind, this is the first in a series of blog posts to help you spot some common scams.
 

For the past few weeks, we’ve been writing about how scammers are working overtime during the Coronavirus pandemic to find new ways to steal your money and personal information. Many of these scammers are imposters, pretending to be anyone from government officials – like from Medicare, Social Security, and others – to family members in need. 
 

In 2019, imposter scams were the number one scam reported to the FTC. Some of their stories might change with the headlines, but scammers have some tried-and-true tactics. To try to keep ahead of them, follow this series to know what to look for and what to do about it. And, don’t forget to pass along to others what you’ve learned. That way, you can protect your family, friends, and your wallet. 

So, stay tuned to this blog. Or, to get a jump start, visit ftc.gov/imposters – or ftc.gov/coronavirus for the latest on those scams. And if you already spotted a scam, we really want to hear about it. Report it at ftc.gov/complaint.

12 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.

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Topchop
April 02, 2020
We just don't answer the phone unless we know the call is from someone important to us (we have their numbers tagged with a piece of music). All others, if they think they are legit, can leave a message on voice mail... we delete all calls from any type of telemarketer.
BMc
April 02, 2020

In reply to by Topchop

We do the same. We figure that, if it's important, they will leave a message and we can then decide for ourselves if it really is important enough to return the call. It usually isn't.
MistWing
April 03, 2020

In reply to by Topchop

Everyone I know, knows I don't answer the phone unless I recognize the phone number itself. If it's important, they can leave a message
Beverley
April 02, 2020
I have been scammed several times; once very significantly. Now, I occasionally miss calls from people I would love to talk to, as I do not answer calls I do not recognize. But I have no choice. I can tell by the number of callers who do not leave a message, like honest people would do. A tip for folks: If you answer the phone and hear a 'click' before the speaker, you know it is a robocall recording coming and likely not a reputable caller. Hang up.
Sugarbear
April 04, 2020

In reply to by Beverley

when we don't recognize the number we don't answer period. Scam calls never leave a message and number: except the "marshalls are outside your door" . .."your computer will be down unless you call this number". Our family and friends WILL leave a msg and number when we're unable to answer,
JR
April 02, 2020
Your alerts are very informative. Hope no scammer tries to imposter you guys!
carqueen3435
April 02, 2020
Anytime we receive a phone call, especially from Unavailable, it is usually a scam of some type. If they can't leave their name we don't need to talk to them. Be vigilant out there because the only reason they call is to get access to what is ours, namely our money or our credit.
Beta
April 02, 2020
Thanks for these alerts. If I see a caller ID that I do not recognize, I don't answer.
Kitty
April 03, 2020
Thanks for the update!!!
Vgirl
April 06, 2020
I receive so many mortgage loan refinance scams, its nerve racking to say the least. I have to answer because they call on my business line. Ive noticed 2 patterns with the calls (up to 5 per day) which makes me think that they could be using a Google product such as Google Voice: 1. The phonecalls are timed to my voice or noise since my phone would immediately start ringing when I would be getting up in the morning (different times each day) or the robo call (sometimes live person) would beep in as an incoming call interupting my current call on the same phone. 2. I would immediately redial the call and a pre recoded message would come on stating that the number has been disconnected. How can that be? It has happened several times. 3. Here is another one: the last robocall said her name was the same as mine and that she wanted to buy my property cash. She ends the call with "God bless". .... wow is all i can say.
Granny J
August 10, 2020
Yes, I too have received many unsolicited phone calls and calls from “unknown” people. If the caller does not leave a message, just forget about it and get on with your life. I, too have tried blocking their numbers, but most of the time that didn’t work. So I tried calling them back immediately. I would get messages that the number is no longer in service or is disconnected. What the bad guys are doing is using sophisticated ways to dial FROM one number yet DISPLAY caller I’d from an entirely different number. There are actual lists of unused numbers for sale, and they buy them up at a cheap price. They will DISPLAY your area code and even your prefix hoping that you will pick up the phone. DON’T do it. Just smile and forget it!
Granny J
August 10, 2020
Another lesson I just recently learned is with Social Security. Their computer system was possibly hacked or a program update has an error. In the last 9 months my SS income has been halted, not once, but twice! No more auto deductions for insurance plans. I had to pay separately. And you better have some back-up money to get you through the empty times. SS said they are aware of the problem, but they haven’t found it yet. This was Nov. 2019 through Aug. 2020.