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Scams are on the rise, and you need to be aware to protect yourself from fraud. Scammers will use unusual social events to trick you into giving away your hard-earned money.

Look for unusual behavior from the scammers. Is your friend really traveling in another country? Would Social Security call you to ask for money? Why would your bank call you to ask for your online banking password?

If you receive an unusual message, stop, and take time to think it through.

If you are unsure of the message's validity, stop and take time before you respond. Call back on a phone number that you know is good. Visit the actual website instead of clicking a link that is sent to you.

It's ok to hang up and call back or delete the message!

What You Can Do to Avoid a Scam

Block unwanted calls and text messages.

Your smartphone can help you take steps to block unwanted/unknown calls and filter unwanted text messages.


Don’t give your personal or financial information in response to a request that you didn’t expect.

Legitimate organizations won't 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 you do business with, and you think it's real, it's still best not to click on any links. Instead, contact them using a website you know is trustworthy. Or look up their phone number. Don't call a number they gave you or the number from your caller ID; these numbers can be fake.


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. And never deposit a check and send money back to someone.


Stop and talk to someone you trust.

Before you do anything else, tell someone — a friend, a family member, a neighbor — what happened. Talking about it could help you realize it’s a scam.


4 Signs That It's a Scam

#1 - 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, your bank, the IRS, Medicare, or make up a name that sounds official. Some pretend to be from a business you know, like a utility company, a tech company, or even a charity asking for donations.

They will also use technology to change their phone number when it appears on your caller ID. The name and number you see might not be real.

#2 - Scammers say there’s a PROBLEM or a PRIZE.

They might say you're in trouble with the government. Or you owe money. Or 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.

#3 - Scammers will PRESSURE you to act immediately.

Scammers want you to act before you have time to think. If you are on the phone, they might tell you not to hang up, so you can't 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 say your computer is about to be corrupted or has a virus.

#4 - Scammers tell you to PAY in a specific way.

They often insist that you pay by sending money through a money transfer company or by putting money on gift cards 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.


Report Scams to the FTC

If you were scammed or think you saw a scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission.


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