Lisa Lake, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Scammers are creative, cunning and cruel — and they often mix in a little truth to spice up their big lies. This scheme shows just how low they can go. Government imposters claiming to be with the FTC, or another agency like the fictitious “Consumer Protection Agency,” are calling to inform people they have won a huge sweepstakes from the Make-a-Wish Foundation, a well-known charity for very sick children. To get the money, the callers say, the...

Colleen Tressler, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

It’s National Homeownership Month, and the FTC and the National Association of Realtors® want to remind you that scammers sometimes use emails to rob home buyers of their closing costs and personal information. Here’s how the scam works: hackers break into the email accounts of buyers or real estate professionals to get information about upcoming real estate transactions. The hacker then sends an email to the buyer, posing as the real estate...

Bridget Small, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

The FTC has been cracking down on deceptive tech support operations that call or send pop-ups to make people think their computers are infected with viruses. Scammers ask for access to computers, then charge people hundreds of dollars for unnecessary repairs. In Operation Tech Trap , the FTC and its partners announced 16 actions against deceptive operations, and the FTC temporarily halted the operations of several defendants. Recently, a woman...

Colleen Tressler, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Skimmers are illegal card readers attached to payment terminals — like gas pumps — that grab data off a credit or debit card’s magnetic stripe without your knowledge. Criminals sell the stolen data or use it to buy things online. You won’t know your information has been stolen until you get your statement or an overdraft notice. Skimmers are nothing new, but technology has made them smaller and harder to find. Sometimes, they’re even hidden...

Nat Wood, Associate Director, Consumer & Business Education, FTC

Here at the FTC, we’re known for getting things done on behalf of regular people. Unfortunately, sometimes scammers try to take advantage of our good reputation. The latest example: Some people have gotten an email that claims to be from Maureen Ohlhausen, the FTC’s Acting Chairman. But it’s not. The email asks you to give your bank account information – so, it says, you can get money from the government’s settlement with Western Union. The...

Jennifer Leach, Assistant Director, Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC

When you tell us about a scam , it helps us investigate scammers. But it also helps us warn other people about the scam – so they can avoid it. Our partners at US Citizenship and Immigration Services ( USCIS ) told us about a new twist on a common phone scam: scammers are calling immigrants in the US – but this time, the scammers are pretending to be from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). In standard scammer procedure, they...

Carol Kando-Pineda, Attorney, FTC's Consumer & Business Education

Phony telephone number scam targets veterans There’s a new scam out there, preying on veterans who are making decisions about their medical care. The Veterans Choice Program (VCP) is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The program allows certain eligible vets to use approved health care providers who are outside of the VA system. Veterans or families can call the VCP’s toll-free number to verify their eligibility for...

Bridget Small, Consumer Education Specialist FTC

I will drive for a week with my car’s Check Engine light blinking, but if a security warning shows up on my computer, I act immediately. Scammers have been taking advantage of people like me, who care about computer security. They ran operations in the US and overseas that used pop-up messages and phone calls to convince people their computers needed fixing. The callers pitched unnecessary — and sometimes harmful — tech support services that...

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

If you can’t get your hands on a Nintendo Switch gaming system, you may think an emulator is the next best thing. Think again. Online ads for emulators, sometimes with Nintendo branding, say they can run Switch’s games on your desktop. But there is no legit Nintendo Switch emulator. It’s a scam. Even worse, when you try to download a Nintendo Switch emulator, you can install unwanted applications on your computer. These apps give you misleading...

Lisa Lake, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Scammers know how to design phony checks to make them look legitimate. In fact, the Council of Better Business Bureaus just released a list of the most “risky” scams , based on how likely people are to be targeted, how likely to lose money, and how much money they lost. Fake checks were number two. Fake checks drive many types of scams – like those involving phony prize wins , fake jobs, mystery shoppers , online classified ad sales, and others...

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