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Today, the FTC joined forces with numerous federal, state, and local government partners in Operation Income Illusion, an effort to fight income scams and help people recognize and avoid them. With record unemployment and the ongoing financial impact of the pandemic, many people are looking to make ends meet — and scammers are pitching income scams with false promises of success and financial security. 

In a typical pitch, scammers will say that you can make a lot of money, for example, working from home with little time and effort, or starting your own online business. But those promises of big money are all an income illusion. In fact, in the first nine months of 2020 alone, people reported to the FTC that they lost at least $150 million. The total amount of alleged injury for the FTC cases announced today is over $1 billion. Income scams hit people hard. 

Sometimes these scammers focus their pitches on particular communities. The cases announced today by the FTC and its law enforcement partners show that people in every community need to be on the alert for income scams. In one case, a work-from-home scam targeted Latinas through Spanish language TV ads. In another case, an alleged investment scam affected older adults, retirees, and immigrants. And in yet another case, we saw servicemembers, veterans, students, and college-age adults targeted with a business coaching scam

When the FTC analyzed customer data from some of our cases, we found that in income scams where the average loss was less than $500, people who lost money were 44% more likely to live in majority Black communities. You can spot income scams  if you know the scammers’ tactics.

And if you know the signs of an income scam  you can avoid it and help others avoid it, too. If you spot an income scam, report it at

Watch this video to learn more:


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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.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • 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

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.

Curious George
December 14, 2020
So far I've seen right through them. I've laughed and hung up, I've put the phone down and let them give their entire sales pitch, then hung up. The best though is that my phone number is not published, if I haven't given it to you, it can't be gotten. They call, they go into their sales or scare speech and after a few minutes I simply ask them for my name, *silence*, I hang up. It can be fun, but usually I either don't answer or hang up immediately.
December 14, 2020
Thank you for posting and sharing your support for individual resilience. This message helps shape the dialogue around basic financial literacy questions.
Arsea - TN
December 14, 2020
Years ago I fell for an online real estate scam to the tune of $10,000. Emotions got the best of me. Please remember the old adage "If it sounds to good to be true"
December 14, 2020
Check with your State Attorney General or the State Attorney General in the state the services are coming from.
December 14, 2020
Thanks for your help and support and I pray to God to keep you always in high esteem.
December 14, 2020
Thanks to the FTC for the work they do. I have become better informed from their articles.
December 16, 2020
I offen repost the FTC blog subjects on Facebook. There are many who have not idea what the FTC is about. p,s. - The Income-Illusions banner is well designed. : ]
December 16, 2020
I am a 66 year old widow and I just got scammed for $2500.00. They took all my money promised me I won a truck and money. Then I got scammed again thinking I would get more money. One said he was Mark Zuckerberg saying I won Facebook lottery. One said Micheal Rob said if I send cards I would get 7500.00. They took my whole check. I have 11 grandchildren that I can not buy them anything for Christmas. It also took all my food money. Now I am broke. I did not know about people being scammers. It is sad no one can stop them. I feel so stupid now that I have lost it all. Please don’t listen to anyone saying they are from FEMA or you have won a truck and some money. These scammers need to be caught.