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Consumer Alert

Are you really the lucky winner? Spot the prize scams

Gema de las Heras
Say you hear or read the words: “You’ve won!” What will you do with your winnings? Who wouldn’t be excited to win a prize, sweepstakes, or lottery? But…did you actually win? And how do you know? Sweepstakes, prize, and lottery frauds are among the top scams people report to the FTC. These scams usually start with a call or message that says you’re a winner. (A lie.) They say to get the so-called prize you have to send money or click somewhere to give your information. Don’t. The most recent FTC data shows people reported losing $301 million to this type of fraud. That’s an average loss of $907 per person.
Consumer Alert

It’s Financial Literacy Month: Learn how to keep your money safe from scammers

Colleen Tressler
April is Financial Literacy Month, and a great time to take advantage of free advice at ftc.gov/Money Matters. Federal Trade Commission data show people reported losing $8.8 billion to scams in 2022, up more than 30 percent from 2021. Money Matters has the tools we can all use to spot, avoid, and report scams, and help those we care about protect their bottom line. Read on to learn more.
Consumer Alert

Is it really the IRS?

Kira Krown
The “IRS” is on the phone. They’re saying you owe back taxes and need to pay immediately using cryptocurrency, or you’ll be arrested. You reach for your wallet but then think — WAIT — is this really the IRS? Or is it someone impersonating the IRS?
Consumer Alert

Avoid scammers trying to profit from a deadly tornado

Gema de las Heras
Every time there’s a natural disaster — like the tornado that tore through Mississippi and neighboring states — scammers are quick to follow. How do they exploit tragedy to steal from people who have lost everything? Read on to learn how to avoid these scams.
Consumer Alert

Scammers use AI to enhance their family emergency schemes

Alvaro Puig
You get a call. There's a panicked voice on the line. It's your grandson. He says he's in deep trouble — he wrecked the car and landed in jail. But you can help by sending money. You take a deep breath and think. You've heard about grandparent scams. But darn, it sounds just like him. How could it be a scam? Voice cloning, that's how.
Article

Job Scams

Scammers advertise jobs the same way honest employers do — online (in ads, on job sites, and social media), in newspapers, and sometimes on TV and radio. They promise you a job, but what they want is your money and your personal information. Here are some examples of jobs scams and advice on how to avoid them.
Consumer Alert

No — HHS didn’t reach out about free grant money

Kira Krown
Did you get a message from a friend on social media about a US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) grant opportunity? Or from someone saying they were an HHS employee? Well…they weren’t who they said they were. They were a scammer.
Consumer Alert

What to know about the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey

Gema de las Heras
Getting a call, letter, or a visit about the American Community Survey (ACS) — when so many scammers are trying to trick you into sharing personal information — might make you think twice. And it’s good to think twice. But the ACS is a legitimate survey to collect information used to make decisions about how federal funding is spent in your community. Want to know more? Read on.
Consumer Alert

doTERRA distributors charged with making unfounded COVID-19 cure claims

Gema de las Heras
Essential oils and supplements to prevent, treat, or cure COVID-19? If it smells fishy to you, the FTC agrees. According to the FTC, three high-level distributors for Utah-based multi-level marketing company doTERRA International, LLC, broke the law because they didn’t have scientific proof to back up their health benefit claims.
Consumer Alert

The top scams of 2022

Andrew Rayo

What are scammers up to these days? Every day, people just like you tell the FTC what they’ve spotted, and maybe even lost money to.

Article

Paying for School and Avoiding Scams

Paying for school can be expensive. Many people need to take out loans to cover the cost, but dealing with the debt and repayment options can be confusing.

Article

Debts and Deceased Relatives

Here’s what to know about the rules and your rights when a collector contacts you about a deceased relative’s debts.
Consumer Alert

FTC to voice service provider: give the robocalls a rest

Andrew Rayo
Tired of getting endless robocalls? We are too. Robocalls aren’t just a pain to get, they’re often pushing scams for things like fake auto warranties and debt relief. But scammy robocallers can’t do it alone. That’s why the FTC is taking action against Stratics Networks, a company that supplied the technology for telemarketers to make tens of millions of robocalls. But that’s not all — the FTC is also suing the debt relief companies that hired Stratics to make robocalls for their illegal debt relief services.
Consumer Alert

Will the FTC call or write you? Will they demand money?

Alvaro Puig
Scammers trying to rip you off will often impersonate organizations or government agencies you know. Some even pretend to be from the Federal Trade Commission. But how can you know if it’s the FTC or if it’s a scammer impersonating the FTC?
Consumer Alert

Have I told you lately that I love you — and how to avoid scams?

Terri Miller
It’s almost Valentine’s Day. Maybe you’ve already sent a card to your grandmother, grandfather, or the older adult in your life. But if you haven’t told them lately that you love them, pick up the phone and call, too. While you’re catching up, remind them that you’ll never pressure them to wire you money or buy you gift cards — but a scammer might.
Consumer Alert

Donating to help after earthquakes in Turkey and Syria?

Gema de las Heras
The devastation in Turkey and Syria following massive earthquakes is inspiring people to help and donate. And it’s prompting scammers — like they do after every disaster — to take advantage of your generosity. Find out how to make sure your money helps people in need.