to Stop a Scam...
Advice From The Federal Trade Commission
you’re dealing with. Try to find a seller’s physical
address (not a P.O. Box) and phone number. With internet
phone services and other web-based technologies, it’s tough
to tell where someone is calling from. Do an online search
for the company name and website, and look for reviews. If
people report negative experiences, you’ll have to decide if
the offer is worth the risk. After all, a deal is good only
if you get a product that actually works as promised.
wiring money is like sending cash. Con artists often
insist that people wire money, especially overseas, because
it’s nearly impossible to reverse the transaction or trace
the money. Don’t wire money to strangers, to sellers who
insist on wire transfers for payment, or to anyone who
claims to be a relative or friend in an emergency and wants
to keep the request a secret.
monthly statements. Scammers steal account information
and then run up charges or commit crimes in your name.
Dishonest merchants bill you for monthly “membership fees”
and other goods or services without your authorization. If
you see charges you don’t recognize or didn’t okay, contact
your bank, card issuer, or other creditor immediately.
disaster, give only to established charities. In the
aftermath of a disaster, give to an established charity,
rather than one that has sprung up overnight. Pop-up
charities probably don’t have the infrastructure to get help
to the affected areas or people, and they could be
collecting the money to finance illegal activity. For more
donating tips, check out consumer.ftc.gov
Talk to your
doctor before you buy health products or treatments. Ask
about research that supports a product’s claims — and
possible risks or side effects. In addition, buy
prescription drugs only from licensed U.S. pharmacies.
Otherwise, you could end up with products that are fake,
expired, or mislabeled — in short, products that could be
dangerous to your health. Learn more about buying health
products online at consumer.ftc.gov
there’s no sure thing in investing. If someone contacts
you with low-risk, high-return investment opportunities,
stay away. When you hear pitches that insist you act now,
that guarantee big profits, that promise little or no
financial risk, or that demand that you send cash
immediately, report them at ftc.gov
money to someone you don’t know. Not to an online seller
you’ve never heard of — or an online love interest who asks
for money. It’s best to do business with sites you know and
trust. If you buy items through an online auction, consider
using a payment option that provides protection, like a
credit card.If you think you’ve found a good deal, but you
aren’t familiar with the company, check it out. Type the
company or product name into your favorite search engine
with terms like “review,” “complaint,” or “scam.” See what
comes up — on the first page of results as well as on the
later pages. Never pay fees first for the promise of a big
pay-off later — whether it’s for a loan, a job, a grant or a
to deposit a check and wire money back. By law, banks
have to make funds from deposited checks available within
days, but uncovering a fake check can take weeks. You’re
responsible for the checks you deposit: If a check turns out
to be a fake, you’re responsible for paying back the bank.
No matter how convincing the story, someone who overpays
with a check is almost certainly a scam artist.
to messages asking for personal or financial information.
It doesn’t matter whether the message comes as an email, a
phone call, a text message, or an ad. Don’t click on links
or call phone numbers included in the message, either. It’s
called phishing. The crooks behind these messages are trying
to trick you into revealing sensitive information. If you
got a message like this and you are concerned about your
account status, call the number on your credit or debit card
— or your statement — and check on it.
Don’t play a
foreign lottery. It’s illegal to play a foreign lottery.
And yet messages that tout your chances of winning a foreign
lottery, or messages that claim you’ve already won, can be
tempting. Inevitably, you have to pay “taxes,” “fees,” or
“customs duties” to collect your prize. If you must send
money to collect, you haven’t won anything. And if you send
any money, you will lose it. You won’t get any money back,
either, regardless of promises or guarantees