It’s National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) 2023 and it couldn’t come at a better time. The FTC’s recently released top frauds of 2022 have impersonation scams at #1 again. So, this NCPW, let’s talk with friends, family, and neighbors about spotting and avoiding these impersonation scams.
These scams are designed to be hard to spot: it looks like an email from your bank, logo and all. But logos are easily faked. That call has the right caller ID. But technology makes phone numbers easy to fake. Here are some ways to know what’s real and what’s fake:
- What did they ask you for? Your bank has your account (and Social Security) number — it will not call or email you to get that information. And nobody legitimate will ever get in touch to demand access to your computer. No matter who they say they are, anyone who demands information or access like this is a scammer.
- Did they tell you to pay? The government doesn’t demand money by email, text, phone call, or message on social media. Honest businesses don’t, either. If someone does, you know it’s a scam.
- How did they tell you to pay? Nobody legitimate — really: nobody — will ever demand that you pay with cryptocurrency, by wiring money through a company like MoneyGram or Western Union, or by putting money on a gift card. Who will? Scammers.
- Did they threaten you? Honest businesses won’t say you’ll be arrested, deported, or lose your license unless you pay. Neither will the government. If someone does, you know it’s a scammer.
Both research and experience say that talking about scams is one of the best ways to avoid them. So, this NCPW, ask yourself these questions when you get that out-of-the-blue message. Then tell someone about the scam you just spotted. And then tell the FTC: ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
Looking for other ways to get involved in NCPW? Check out the week’s events at ftc.gov/NCPW.
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 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.
Getting lots of calls wanting to know if I received my new Medicare card. If I say yes, they want to know the new card number. If I say no, they want the old card number in order to send me a new card. When I refuse, they say that my Medicare benefits will be cancelled. Don't give any information!
In reply to Getting lots of calls… by Millard Frost
I am experiencing this thing that Mr. Frost mentions it on his comment and agree with it, lately the newest.
things happen. I get many phones calls the same area. like mine 650 which I am confused that am I supposed to
answered or not. when I don't none of these calls live voice mail and when I call back the operator saying the
number has been disconnected; I am not sure what I am going to do, and I don't know who. they are.
In reply to I am experiencing this thing… by Sam Rezai
I do not answer any phone calls that I’m not familiar with phone number. If it was an important call they will leave a message most hang up.
In reply to I am experiencing this thing… by Sam Rezai
That's the new thing now, they call from your area code so u think it might be important. Let it go to vmail, get all your phone numbers put on the 'Do not call' registry. Be careful about going on websites and offering yr email address or phone number. My calls have diminished significantly! If it's important they will leave a message, if the message is generic, I do the reverse look up on the internet to verify if it belongs to a business I know and have a relationship with. Best advice ignore it all , get on the do not call registry and if the US department governments want to get in touch they will send you one of their form letters - IRS, SS Offices can all be looked up and verified and you can l8g into yr personal account to verify correspondence.
In reply to Getting lots of calls… by Millard Frost
I fell for this scam despite being adamant to never give private info.
The caller identification appeared as BCBSM and I believed it was official and answered the phone. The caller then said she was from Medicare and to keep my benefits because they would not be issuing new cards she needed the info from my card. Regretfully I gave her the number.
Hours later I realized I had been scammed and reported it to Medicare. In a panic I feared all kinds of horrors. While assured my benefits would not be affected I was advised to report the incident.
The phone #appeared as 231 941 6018.
I also get emails from familiar sources saying congratulations I have one some thing. They are often sources that I do not do business with.
In reply to I also get emails from… by ann
I get those, too, quite frequently. I would love to know if there's a way to stop these emails altogether.
This is such a valuable service! Thank you. I’m so tired of the right wing in this country going after federal employees.
They will also say a Charge of over $100 was made to your account and if you didn't make it to click or call a number to correct and confirm your information. I even got one from Singapore!
Geek Squad Scam is another one. Many are fake and easy to spot, as I have no account or dealings with them, others like Amazon has to be checked directly with their website and DO NOT follow any of the "contact information" in the emails.
You need to include voice changers that mimics people's voices in real time. And, those individuals whom use them do it over the phone as well as live in front of you with additional devices that can be in their mouths and a speaker the size of a credit card in their front pocket via Bluetooth, WiFi (etc). And, falsified medical records (etc).
In reply to You need to include voice… by T. Yeatts
Agreed! It is a major problem what people are using technology for.
AGAIN, I am forced to tell the truth about fraud, being personally attacked by fraudsters for four years up to 52 times a day. I have reported this to the FTC, my states' Attorney's General and the FBI. Guess what? As usual all those agencies are so good at their fobs and worked so hard at coffee breaks they have done nothing. NOTHING about it. I feel terrorized by these scammers and now am listing those agencies as terrorists in on the whole thing. I find all of those agencies as offensive and complete failures, only caring about themselves and faking what they do to hate and not helping real human beings -the Americans and Citizens of the United States. These phone scams leave me shaking and with my heart pounding. Yu all are also guilty of allowing that to happen due to the very fact that you do nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Who do you think you all are anyway? You all have agencies with policies to protect us but you do not! I have half a mind to sue all of you. Why do you put articles out on the scams and protection if you don't help any of us? It's as if you have personal vandettas against me. If you can't do your jobs, get out of America. We don't need traitors here.
In reply to AGAIN, I am forced to tell… by Patricia Barnes
I can day I am going through the same.Dealing with this,reporting,writing,crying,stressed to no end and absolutely no help!!I could even be in legal got water,and never even received a letter,phone call,the companies I called, "nothing here"..These people haven't even heard mine and partners side or asked for proof.But throwing out new "legal guidance" .Apparently they even decide I done something wrong...I wish I wouldn't have even bothered reporting it.Sad,I have a family,I just want to be at peace with them and the government really look into how?Who?When?Where?and Why?
This site always provides valuable information! With the explosion of scams out there, it is an important that it continue! Don’t stop!
For me I believe they had inside information on spending on Debit card from Credit union I was using. They wrote and still write asking for information about items you would buy if available, According to Wal-Mart this appears the 3rd, highest spam perpetuated using Wal Mart logo, ect
To the most disturbing trend in Spamming , the same method is being used by AAA auto club,,,Trans Union credit bureau , and others to gain and sell information about you,,,then sell that info for 29.99 month, you will pay them to do it.The Banks and Credit unions help the scammers by refusing to divulge spammers real name or who is getting your money. To me there is a distinct difference between debit card and credit card fraud, One they steal your money, the second they steal the banks money,
I think I just talked to someone from lending club they said I was approved for a loan for $7000 but I was told to go to a western union to pick up the money they said western union charges 199.50 so I can pick up $7200 is this a scam
In reply to I think I just talked to… by Timothy Stubblefield
Yes this is a scam. If you're going to borrow do it from your bank. Wth is a lending club? To good to be real!
Thank you, FTC!
I perceived the submit report as as as I need Help . However I found it as stated in Dodd Frank Act “gather information and help educate the public” . I recommend as this per this comment . It is clearly implied no action will be taken from my reporting statement .
I am disappointed the FTC authorities even if a report is made that requires a victim needing helo is dismissed without a referral to another division of FTC to report back to the victim that the agency has forwarded to Advocate and assign a case .
A suggestion is when reporting create a question are your reporting for assistance? If FTC can’t help them close the teport and refer person to someone who can provide additional services advocating for them.
I also suggest not deceiving people that if your the FTC advises we cannot act on your behalf. Law enforcement cannot act , Attorney General also cannot act and American Bar Association cannot act .
PROBLEM IS WHEN SCAM INFORMATION IS PROVIDED, LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT PARTNERS IGNORE, CLAIM "NOT THERE SCOPE OF DUTY"
ARGUE WITH THE INFORMATION, POLICY PROVIDED BY YOUR DEPT.
EVEN DENY PROVIDE FALSE INFORMATION ABOUT CONTACTING FTC. POSSIBLY GOING RIGHT THROUGH THERE OWN TECH SYSTEM
I hadnt used facebook in a long time. I went to set up new account witth new phone number email. Only to find someone was using phone number and email who I had never heard of. Facebook told me I had to prove idenity. Google wont answer who how or why. Nieither will facebook how this or who done it. I also get no response why 10 operator plug ins tracfone security from Verion nor tracfone. RTT function 16 users on wifi hotspot no idea who how nor can i remove. Also when I switched wifi on breifly new thermostat and nestaudio.ynb choices for connection. Absoulty outrageous im 60 disabled personal device listed as business just keeps getting worse worse.
In reply to I hadnt used facebook in a… by Douglas Miller
I definitely agree!!I believe Google and Facebook played a huge part.I went from some loan to owning an "enterprise" ,to now immigrant(I have lived in southern US my whole life),to worse and worse.I just want it to get better.How can these people not know,NO MATTER WHAT MALICIOUS FILED ON PHONE),who opened an account,who went to an atm,who wrote checks,what address??I do not understand.If things had been taken seriously when first reported it would have gotten better.
Hi ftc.gov owner, Your posts are always well-balanced and objective.
This scam already had my info. The pretense was to offer a job with my own drop ship business. The cost of programming was applied to credit cards issued in my name. It wasn’t until I realized the person teaching me their program was trying to scan my computer. I was so excited to finally have a job it never occurred to me it would be a scam. I already had no money and now I am $12000 in debt. Could I possibly feel worse. Now it’s time to pull out the shovel to dig myself out. Better days are coming as I am optimistic and looking up.
Hi,I have been dealing with identity theft and allegations for almost a year and a half.The advice I was given was to file police report's,IRS,HUD,credit companies.I even called browser companies and mortgage lenders.I filed identity theft,had a free legal service give time's.And unbelievably,it's even worse.Some companies did not relay the issue's,most brushed it off because of COVID.Everyone I spoke with had gotten identity theft or altered in someway or another.I even had a an insurance policy,when I called the company,he assured me "no affiliation" .I don't know what to do now.Now it's so much worse,as in making ads,having a business,just things I wouldn't have even thought would go wrong.So,I know and anyone who knows me knows...But if nobody will hear me,nobody will help me,and I have a family.By the way,absolutely none of these things are correct.It's not about AI,or filed on your device because of a hack,it's about the truth.Person to person...All of this time and trouble,I never received one letter or phone call.It's unbelievable