Scammers know how valuable your personal and financial information is — and they’ll do or say almost anything to get it. What can you do to keep it safe?
The best way to protect your info from scammers is to recognize a phishing scam, but how do you know what to look for? Here’s an example.
Say you get an unexpected text, email, or call that looks like it’s from a company you know, like Microsoft or Apple. They claim there’s a problem with your account and say you need to click a link or call a number to update your info as soon as possible. They might even say they’ve noticed suspicious activity or log-in attempts on your account. The alert may seem like it’s coming from a company you know, but it’s a scammer who wants to steal your info — which could lead to identity theft.
Here’s how to keep your info safe from scammers:
- Don’t give your info to anyone who contacts you out of the blue. Honest organizations won’t call, email, or text to ask for your info, like your Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers.
- Don’t click on any links. If you get an email or text from a company you know and do business with, contact them using a website you know is real. Or look up their phone number — but don’t call a number they gave you or the number from your caller ID.
- Update your security software. This will protect your computer and phone from security threats, which could expose your personal or financial info to scammers.
You might spot these frauds — but someone you know might need support. Please share this info with your friends, family, and fellow servicemembers and veterans during Military Consumer Month and all year round. And report scams to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
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.
This is well written. The information is succinct and easy to read for anyone.
Yes please do all of this I was a victim more then once u never think it can happen to you. Be so careful an change ur passwords on reg basic they have a mirror program that they use becareful
A lot of phishing scams are emails that purport to come from a friend, usually with a cheerful not saying to click to receive photos, etc.
I got a text message last night , it read, Your federal tax return was refused, but don't worry we will help you, just click on the link below ~
Blocked & Deleted ~
Right click an email and select to see the "raw" message. In that raw data, near the top, look for the "Return-Path". It will show you the true address from which the email was sent.
I have received messages and emails thanking me for my (expensive) non-existent purchase. This is alarming. The first time I received such a "thank you" I independently contacted the (real) company. They asked me to forward the message. It is my impression that this FTC alert does not directly address the scam congratulatory, thank you or large purchase messages. And I thank you for your contributions to consumer safety and peace of mind.
In reply to I have received messages and… by Virginia Rothstein
I have had a similar issue with an app I will not name here! The worst part is it only started after I gave it my email. I hope they're able to regulate apps and app permissions better, because it's sad so many people are struggling with the same thing.
Have received several emails claiming to be from ups. Said were unable to deliver a package. Was supposed to schedule a delivery time but I was unable to do so. This happened once before. Told a ups employee about it and he said they do not text or send emails. They leave a slip on the door.
Thanks so much for this information. I have to hear it time and time again to be sure that I don't ignore a fraudulent situation.
Thank you for keeping us informed on technology issues!
I’d like read, an article on keeping your entire home network safe, including wireless home security cams, and our homes Alexa devices.
How about Congress acting to pass some privacy and data security laws AND fund their enforcement that are at least as useful/protective as the EU has? How about Congress creating private causes of action to enforce existing weak protection (w/award of attorney fees if they prevail) instead of having to rely on underfunded & too often w/political appointees who care more about corporate profits then the public welfare and consumer protection? I'm tired of hearing about what individuals end up having to do, when corporations aren't held responsible for failing to protect the security of personal data they demand/require (such as health insurers, health care providers, banks, etc, HIPAA is useless in that respect it benefits health insurers more then anyone else) and when the supposedly powerful US seems wholly unable to stop phishers or even require cell providers and telecommunications corporations to provide any consumer who wants it w/effective robocall blockers, etc.
This is another great resource for consumers. I work at a bank, and we are seeing phishing become more and more successful in luring people into scams. Thank you for this!
Yesterday I received an email thanking me for a nonexistent purchase, with an attachment. I did not open the attachment and sent the email to the trash folder. Today I received a similar email thanking me for a purchase, with an attachment also. I again sent it to the trash folder. Each email purportedly came from a person with a weird name, and the language in them was not standard American. I used to get spam phone calls. I think the creeps have switched to phishing. Each time I checked my accounts and nothing seemed out of place. From now on I will send them straight to trash without reading.
why doesn,t the FTC but a stop on those pretending to be the GEEK SQUAD
Has anyone had a person on Facebook Marketplace contact you about an item you’re selling and they want your cellphone number to send you a Google Code? Then you’re supposed to send the code back to the prospective Buyer to show you’re real?
I had this happen twice on an item from 2 different women.
In reply to Has anyone had a person on… by Llamawoman60
Yes, Llamawoman60 that is a scam. In addition to not responding to strangers on the internet or via text, no company will message you for this information. If you suspect that the information is legit, please contact the company yourself via a trusted method: company's known website or phone number.
The scam you described will allow a criminal to setup a Google Voice number using your phone number. The point of the scam is that scammers want to steal Google Voice phone numbers from Google. The only way to obtain a number is to enter someone's personal number on the Google Voice sign-up webpage, then Google sends a code to that number.
Calling from new york do like phone nunber
W-9 Form is not “ you”‘or to impersonate IRS agents who are the “requestor” . See IRS CP2100 and check . The form is phishing for social security numbers and PNC Bank emailed Grantor Trust do not file K-1 or get income . Caution in 1041 instructions. W9 is after and only the IRS audits “them .” and 2 years after they pay . IRS can’t ask for something before payor is the you not the person getting paid. If they say you are independent . They are not your boss. , it’s time to stop W9 . Seepage 5 of w9 if you did follow fraud. PNC Private Bank trust fund is following the myth beneficiaries are not you all medical or insurance beneficiaries are not same beneficiaries as a family trust document i.
If dead people are making money and income ger transcripts . KYC know your client and know you (OMB number is mandatory) . Stop. Search. Read. .Ask.. instructions for 1099 . If you are not a client or have a company computer for payroll they can’t withhold. IRS will also send a letter.
I appreciate how easy this is to read for the general public. A feature that would be nice would be some sort of system in place to help more civilians access government official sites with less trouble when they need them.