How to Avoid a Scam – If you recognize some common signs of a scam, you are in a better position to avoid becoming a victim of fraud. 

Some Common Signs of a Scam

Scammers “pretend” to be from an organization you know.

Scammers often pretend to be contacting you on behalf of the government. They might use a real name, like the Social Security Administration, the IRS, or Medicare, or make up a name that sounds official. Some pretend to be from a business you know, like a utility company,tech company, or even a charity asking for donations.

They use technology to change the phone number that appears on your caller ID. So the name and number you see might not be real.

Scammers say there is a “problem” or a “prize.”

They might say you’re in trouble with the government, you owe money, someone in your family had an emergency, or that there’s a virus on your computer.

Some scammers say there’s a problem with one of your accounts and that you need to verify some information.

Others will lie and say you won money in a lottery or sweepstakes but have to pay a fee to get it.

Scammers “pressure” you to act immediately.

Scammers want you to act before you have time to think. If you’re on the phone, they might tell you not to hang up so you cannot check out their story.

They might threaten to arrest you, sue you, take away your driver’s or business license, or deport you. They might also say your computer is about to be corrupted.

Scammers tell you to “pay” in a specific way.

Scammers often insist that you pay by sending money through a money transfer company or by putting money on a gift card and then giving them the number on the back.

Some will send you a check (that will later turn out to be fake), tell you to deposit it, and then send them money.

What You Can Do to Avoid a Scam

Block unwanted calls and text messages. Take steps to block unwanted calls and to filter unwanted text messages.

Don’t give your personal or financial information in response to a request that you were not expecting. Legitimate organizations will not call, email, or text to ask for your personal information, like your Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers.

If you get an email or text message from a company with which you do business and you think it’s real, it is still best not to click on any links. Instead, contact the company using a trustworthy website or look up the company’s phone number. Do not call a number they gave you or the number from your caller ID.

Resist the pressure to act immediately. Legitimate businesses will give you time to make a decision. Anyone who pressures you to pay or give them your personal information is a scammer.

Know how scammers tell you to pay. Never pay someone who insists you pay with a gift card or by using a money transfer service. Importantly, never deposit a check and send money back to someone.

Stop and talk to someone you trust. Before you do anything else, tell someone, such as a friend, family member or neighbor, about what happened. Talking about it could help you realize that it is a scam.

Reporting Scams to the FTC

Victims of a fraudulent scam can file a report with the FTC by CLICKING HERE.