This pandemic has brought lots of side effects. Lost jobs, lost income, and lost homes are themes we see around the country — and scammers know just how to take advantage of these worries. Another side effect of the pandemic is isolation, which scammers also like to use to their advantage. During National Consumer Protection Week, which starts today, I’m asking you to join me in fighting isolation to fight scams.
The FTC knows that people who talk about scams are much less likely to fall for them. So, when people of any age are on their own too much, they don’t have the chance to talk things out. And when scammers — who are calling, emailing, and texting — might be a person’s main source of contact, nothing good happens next.
So, today, pick up the phone. Call someone you haven’t talked with in a while. Maybe somebody who might be too much alone. See how they’re doing. And work into the conversation these ideas:
- Scammers have lots of fake stories: early or guaranteed access to vaccines (no such thing), you’ve won a prize (you haven’t), your computer needs tech support (it doesn’t), they’re an online love interest (not if they want money).
- Whatever their story, scammers want you to pay or share your personal information.
- Nobody legit will ever (EVER) tell you to pay by gift card, money transfer, or cryptocurrency.
- No government agency will ever call/email/text to ask you for money, your Social Security, bank account, or credit card number.
After you’ve reached out and shared these ideas, invite your friend or relative to call you back: just to talk, or if something fishy comes up and they want a second opinion. And if someone paid a scammer, please tell them to report it: ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
Tune in this week for more key scams to warn people about. We’ll help you start those conversations.
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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- 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.
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