Carol Kando-Pineda, Staff attorney, FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection

It's Military Consumer Month! Did you know that scammers call and pretend to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA)? They say your Social Security number (SSN) has been suspended because of suspicious activity or it being involved in a crime. The FTC’s latest Data Spotlight finds that reports about SSA imposters are surging. People told us they lost $19 million to SSA imposters in the past year. Here's what to know: Your SSN is not...

Ari Lazarus, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Before you get too excited, are you sure it’s that person? Really sure? We’ve heard reports that scammers, who will try just about anything to separate you from your money, are now posing as celebrities on social media. They’re asking fans to send money for all kinds of supposed reasons – like claiming a prize, donating to a charity, or giving help of some kind. Some celebs do raise money for legitimate causes. But you want to be sure the cause—...

Carol Kando-Pineda, Counsel, FTC's Division of Consumer and Business Educaiton

u’re working on your computer when, suddenly, a message pops up on the screen: “Virus detected! Call now for a free security scan and to repair your device.” That’s a tech support scam. Don’t call, text, or email. Legit tech support companies don’t operate that way. Scammers pose as big-name companies and use pop-up messages, fake websites, and phone calls to trick you into thinking your computer has an urgent problem. Their plan is to get your...

Drew Johnson, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Consumers are reporting a new imposter scam — this time the callers are pretending to be with the September 11 th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) . According to reports, the callers are telling people they may be entitled to money, and they are asking people for their personal information to determine if they are eligible. It’s a scam. Currently, the callers are using spoofed phone numbers with New York area codes. They are asking for information...

Andrew Johnson, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Scammers are using fake caller ID information to trick you into thinking they’re someone who can be trusted. The practice is called caller ID spoofing, and scammers can fake anyone’s phone number. Today, we got reports that scammers are spoofing the FTC’s Consumer Response Center’s phone number (877-382-4357). But don’t let that stop you from reporting scammers — it’s still safe to call the Consumer Response Center, and it’s also safe to report...

Ari Lazarus, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

If you’ve got student loan debt, you’ve probably seen ads or been contacted by companies promising they can help. Some are scams – and the FTC is going after them. Today the FTC announced Operation Game of Loans , a joint FTC and state law enforcement sweep against student loan debt relief scammers. The operation includes seven actions filed by the FTC, with five new cases announced today . In the FTC cases, the companies claimed to be...

Emma Fletcher, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Tugging at your heartstrings is a tried and true method scammers use to get to your wallet. When tragedy strikes, they take advantage. Sadly, the Las Vegas shooting is no exception. The FTC has heard from people about suspicious requests for donations. A little research will help you avoid a scam and ensure that your gift goes to a reputable charity that will use the money as you intend. To avoid charity scams , consider these tips before you...

Lisa Weintraub Schifferle, Attorney, FTC, Division of Consumer and Business Education

Ring, ring. "This is Equifax calling to verify your account information." Stop. Don’t tell them anything. They’re not from Equifax. It’s a scam. Equifax will not call you out of the blue. Equifax’s recent data breach. Other calls might try to trick you into giving your personal information. Here are some tips for recognizing and preventing phone scams and imposter scams : Don’t give personal information. Don’t provide any personal or financial...

Colleen Tressler, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

One thing we’ve learned at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is that scams often follow the news – especially when there’s a natural disaster, like Hurricane Harvey, in the headlines. Case in point: Colleagues at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) tell us homeowners and renters are getting robocalls telling them their flood premiums are past due. In order to have coverage for Hurricane Harvey, consumers are told they need to submit...

Colleen Tressler, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Getting a call from a debt collector can be stressful. But it can be downright frightening when the caller uses lies, profanity and threats to try to get you to pay. In a case announced today , the FTC says a debt collection operation in Charlotte, NC pretended to be lawyers. Really, they were not lawyers and had no authority to collect debts. The FTC says the “collectors” used a variety of names to make people think they were dealing with a law...

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