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Common Scams and Frauds

Đang chơi bàiFind information on common scams and frauds that can happen to you.

- Fake charities pop up during disasters. And scammers can also claim to be from real charities. Learn how to research charity claims and protect your money. 
  • - Scammers say they’re from the IRS or another government agency and ask for your personal information or try to charge you fake fees for getting your stimulus check or offer you a way to get the money early. 
  • - People pretend to call from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or your bank and say your bank account or your ability to get cash are in danger and ask for your personal information.
  • - A scammer pretends to be a grandchild or a military service member who’s sick or in trouble because of the coronavirus. They contact you asking to wire them money to pay for fake medical or travel expenses.
  • - Beware of offers for "home" test kits and unknown "miracle" cures or vaccines. They do not exist. by offering COVID-19 testing in an attempt to steal personal information.
  • Report Coronavirus Scams

    • Contact the  hotline at 866-720-5721 or email

    • Report a scam to the FBI at .

    • If it's an online scam, submit your complaint through the .

    Coronavirus Rumors

    Rumors, myths, and conspiracy theories about the coronavirus can be frightening and misleading. Go to to check out the real answers about the rumors you're hearing.

    Report Price Gouging

    During times of high demand, sellers may raise prices to a very high and unfair level on needed items like:

    • Face masks

    • Hand sanitizer

    • Household or personal care items

    This is called price gouging and it’s illegal. If you suspect price gouging, report it to your state attorney general.

    . You can also call 1-877-382-4357. The FTC is the primary government agency that collects scam complaints. 

  • . You can report either online or by phone at 1-888-225-5322

  • For more help in resolving consumer issues, you can report scams to your state consumer protection office.

    Protect Yourself From Telephone Scams

    Remember these tips to avoid being a victim of a telephone scam:


    • Register your phone number with the . You may register online or by calling 1-888-382-1222Đang chơi bài. If you still receive telemarketing calls after registering, there’s a good chance that the calls are scams. 

    • Be wary of callers claiming that you’ve won a prize or vacation package. 

    • Hang up on suspicious phone calls. 

    • Đang chơi bàiBe cautious of caller ID. Scammers can change the phone number that shows up on your caller ID screen.  

    • .


    • Don’t give in to pressure to take immediate action. 

    • Đang chơi bàiDon’t say anything if a caller starts the call asking, “Can you hear me?” This is a common tactic for scammers to record you saying “yes.” Scammers record your “yes” response and use it as proof that you agreed to a purchase or credit card charge. 

    • Đang chơi bàiDon’t provide your credit card number, bank account information, or other personal information to a caller. 

    • Don’t send money if a caller tells you to wire money or pay with a prepaid debit card.

    -  A scam artist sends you a counterfeit check. They tell you to deposit it in your bank account and wire part of the money back to them. Since the check was fake, you’ll have to pay your bank the amount of the check, plus you’ll lose any money you wired.

  • - A scammer sends you a check for no reason. If you cash it, you may be authorizing the purchase of items or signing up for a loan you didn’t ask for.

  • - A scam company sets up automatic debits from your bank account to qualify for a free trial or to collect a prize.

  • - You receive an email message that asks you to verify your bank account or debit card number.

  • Report Banking Scams

    The proper organization to report a banking scam depends on which type you were a victim of.

    • Đang chơi bài to the US Postal Inspection Service.

    • , either online or by phone at 1-877-382-4357.

    • Contact your bank to report and stop unauthorized automatic withdrawals from your account.  

    • Forward phishing emails to the Federal Trade Commission at

    How to Protect Yourself

    Đang chơi bàiRemember these tips to avoid being a victim of a banking scam:


    • Be suspicious if you are told to wire a portion of funds from a check you received back to a company.

    • Đang chơi bàiBe wary of lotteries or free trials that ask for your bank account number.

    • Đang chơi bàiVerify the authenticity of a cashier’s check with the bank that it is drawn on before depositing it.

    • Đang chơi bàiWhen verifying a check or the issuer, use contact information on a bank’s website.


    • Don’t trust the appearance of checks or money orders. Scammers can make them look legitimate and official.

    • Đang chơi bàiDon’t deposit checks or money orders from strangers or companies you don’t have a relationship with.

    • Đang chơi bàiDon’t wire money to people or companies you don’t know.

    • Đang chơi bàiDon’t give your bank account number to someone who calls you, even for verification purposes.

    • Don’t click on links in an email to verify your bank account.

    • Don’t accept a check that includes an overpayment.

    Đang chơi bài for your state. Forward scam emails to the Census Bureau at

    How to Protect Yourself

    Đang chơi bàiFollow these tips to ensure that your personal information stays safe:


    • Verify that the study is legitimate. Check the survey name on the Census Bureau's .

    • If someone comes to your home and claims to be a census worker, .

    • Look up the employee's name in the .

    • Ask to see their badge. A Census Bureau badge has a picture of the field agent, a Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date.

    • Đang chơi bàiFollow these , so you don’t become a victim.


    • Don’t share your full Social Security number, bank or credit card account numbers, or your mother’s maiden name. The Census Bureau won't ask for this type of information.

    • Đang chơi bàiDon't trust emails from claiming to be from the Census Bureau. This agency sends letters to invite individuals to take part in its surveys. If you get an email from the Census Bureau, it's probably a scam.

    • Don't trust caller ID. Call the Census Bureau’s to verify a telephone survey.

    Government Grant Scams

    Government grant scammers try to get your money by guaranteeing you a grant for costs like college or home repairs. They ask for your checking account information. With it, they say they will "deposit the grant money into your account" or withdraw a “one-time processing fee.”

    In reality, government grants are rarely awarded to individuals. They usually go to state and local governments, universities, and other organizations. The money is awarded to help pay for research and projects that benefit the public.

    Report Grant Scams

    If you think you’ve been a victim of a government grant scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission.

    The FTC enters fraud-related complaints into a database available to law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

    If you’ve paid a fee to learn about or apply for a government grant, you can report it to your state consumer protection officeĐang chơi bài. The government does not charge for information or applications for federal grants.

    Protect Yourself From Grant Scams

    Remember these tips to avoid being a victim of a grant scam:


    • Đang chơi bàiBe wary of advertisements and calls about free government grants. These are usually scams.

    • Register your phone number with the National Do Not Call Registry. This may reduce the number of telemarketing calls you receive. You can register:


    • Don’t give your bank account information to anyone you don’t know.

    • Don’t pay any money for a government grant. You can get information about government grants for free at public libraries and online at . Government agencies don’t charge processing fees for grants they’ve awarded.

    • Don’t believe callers who claim they’re from an official-sounding government agency with news about a grant. Check out the name of the agency online or in the phone book—it may be fake.

    • Don’t assume a phone call is originating from the area code displayed on your caller ID. Some scam artists use technology to disguise their location and make it appear as if they’re calling from Washington, DC.

    Đang chơi bài promise high returns, without financial risk. Use this information to report and protect your investments.

    Report Investment Scams

    Report investment scams, if you have been a victim.

    • .

    • Report pyramid or Ponzi schemes to the .

    • Report investment scams by state-licensed companies to .

    Đang chơi bàiThe SEC may forward your complaint to the investment company. It will request that the company reply to your complaint. The FTC will not research your individual case of investment fraud.

    How to Protect Yourself

    Đang chơi bàiRemember these tips to avoid being a victim of an investment scam:


    • Research investment opportunities and investment professionals. Your and the

    • Learn where the investment and the investment professional have registered. It may be in your state or with other regulators.

    • Đang chơi bàiGet all the details of an investment in writing, but still do your own research.

    • Ask questions about costs, timing, risks, and other issues.


    • Don’t give in to pressure to invest immediately.

    • Đang chơi bàiDon’t be influenced by promises that seem too good to be true. These promises may include “guaranteed earnings” or “risk-free” investments.

    • Đang chơi bàiDon’t invest just because the investment professional seems nice, trustworthy, or has professional titles.

    • Đang chơi bàiDon’t invest based on claims that , have invested.

    • Don’t feel obligated to invest, even if the professional gave you a gift, lunch, or reduced their fees.

    try to get your money or personal information through fake lotteries, sweepstakes, or other contests. Many claim that you’ve won a prize but must pay a fee to collect it. Others require you to provide personal information to enter a “contest.” These scams may reach you by postal mail, email, phone call, robocall, or text message.

    Report Lottery and Sweepstakes Scams

    To report a prize scam:

    • online or by phone at 1-877-382-4357.

    • if the scam uses the U.S. mail .

    • .

    Federal agencies investigate scams and pursue criminal charges against the scammers. They don’t, however, investigate individual cases. State consumer protection offices might pursue individual cases as well as investigate scams.

    Protect Yourself From Lottery and Sweepstakes Scams

    Đang chơi bàiRemember these tips to avoid being a victim of a lottery or sweepstakes scam:


    • Đang chơi bàiCheck the postage on a mailed prize notice. If it was sent bulk rate, it’s probably a scam.

    • Ask yourself if you entered a particular contest. If you don’t remember entering it,  the prize notice is likely a fake.

    • Some scammers use the names of organizations that run real sweepstakes. Research the company's contact information. Contact them to verify if the prize is legitimate.

    • Register your phone number with the . You may or by calling 1-888-382-1222. If you still receive telemarketing calls after registering, there’s a good chance that the calls are scams.

    • Report messages to your mobile carrier, then delete them.

    • Đang chơi bàiHang up on suspicious calls.


    • Don’t pay a fee, taxes, or shipping charges to receive a prize.

    • Đang chơi bàiDon’t wire money to, or deposit a check from, any organization claiming to run a sweepstakes or lottery.

    • Don’t provide your credit card number or bank account information to receive a prize.

    • Don’t believe someone just because they say they’re from the government or an official-sounding organization.

    • Don’t reply to, or click on any links in, a .

    • Don’t attend a sales meeting to be eligible to win a prize.

    • Đang chơi bàiDon’t give in to pressure to take immediate action.

    • Đang chơi bàiDon’t believe anyone claiming to be from a foreign lottery or sweepstakes. It’s like these.

    Charity Scams

    Đang chơi bàiSome scammers set up fake organizations to take advantage of the public’s generosity. They especially take advantage of tragedies and disasters.

    How to Report Charity Scams

    • Your state consumer protection officeĐang chơi bài can accept and investigate consumer complaints.

    • File a complaint with the (FTC). The FTC does not resolve individual matters. But it does track charity fraud claims and sues companies on the behalf of consumers.

    • Contact the , if the fraud is because of a natural disaster.

    The . But you can ask an organization not to contact you again.

    How to Protect Yourself From Charity Scams

    to detect common :


    • Check out the charity with your state consumer protection office or the .

    • Đang chơi bàiVerify the name. Fake charities often choose names that are close to well established charities. 


    • Don’t give in to high pressure tactics such as urging you to donate immediately.

    • Don’t assume that you can get a tax deduction for donating to an organization. Use the to find out if it has this status.

    • Don’t send cash. Pay with a check or credit card.

    are scams that need a constant flow of new participants to keep them going. They are marketed as or other types of legitimate businesses. They use new recruits’ "investments" to pay “profits” to those participating longer.

    Đang chơi bàiPyramid schemes collapse when they can't recruit enough new participants to pay earlier investors. These scams always fail—

    Report Pyramid Schemes

    Đang chơi bàiReport pyramid schemes to:

    How to Protect Yourself

    Keep these tips in mind to avoid falling for a pyramid scheme:


    • Be wary if you have to recruit more participants to increase your profit, or get your investment back.

    • Ask if the company sells non-tangible products and services rather than physical products.

    • Đang chơi bài, your , or state licensing agencies.

    • Đang chơi bàiAsk to see financial statements audited by a certified public accountant (CPA). Find out if the company earns income from selling its products or services to customers, not to its sales team.

    • Be skeptical of success stories and testimonials of fantastic earnings.


    • Don’t invest until you’ve verified that the business is legitimate.

    • Don’t get involved in businesses that make you recruit new participants.

    • Don’t buy into franchises that promise big or quick profits.

    • Don’t invest in any “opportunity” bearing .

    is a type of investment fraud. Use this information to identify, report, and protect yourself against these scams. 

    How Ponzi Schemes Work

    Ponzi schemes rely on money from new investors to pay “returns” to current investors. To keep the scheme running, organizers need to keep recruiting new investors and try to keep current investors from cashing out. When they can’t, the scheme collapses.

    Report Ponzi Schemes

    Đang chơi bàiReport Ponzi schemes to:

    How to Protect Yourself From Ponzi Schemes

    Đang chơi bàiKeep these tips in mind to protect yourself from Ponzi schemes:


    • Be wary of any investment that regularly pays positive returns regardless of what the overall market is doing.

    • Đang chơi bàiAvoid investments if you don’t understand them or can’t get complete information about them.

    • Be alert to account statement errors, which may be a sign of investment fraud.

    • Đang chơi bàiBe suspicious if you don’t receive a payment or have difficulty cashing out.  


    • Don’t put your money in investments that promise big returns with little to no risk.

    • Đang chơi bàiDon’t contribute to any investment that isn’t registered with the SEC or with state regulators.

    • Don’t get financially involved with any unlicensed investment professional or unregistered firm.

    Ticket Scams

    Đang chơi bàiTicket selling scams happen when a scammer uses tickets as bait to steal your money. The scammer usually sells fake tickets, or you pay for a ticket, but never receive it. They are common when tickets for popular concerts, plays, and sporting events sell out.

    Ways That Ticket Scammers Go After Your Money

    Đang chơi bàiScammers, including individuals and fake resale companies, take advantage of ticket shortages by:

    • Charging prices much higher than the face value of a ticket
    • Creating counterfeit tickets with forged barcodes and logos of real ticket companies
    • Selling duplicates of a legitimate ticket and emailing it to several buyers
    • Pretending to sell tickets online to steal your credit card information

    Report Ticket Scams

    There are several options to report a ticket scam.

    • Contact your state consumer protection office.
    • Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) using the .
    • File a local police report, especially if you met the scammer in person or have a picture of them to give the police.
    • Report it using the .
    • If you paid by credit card, report the problem to the card company. You may be able to dispute the charge.

    How to Protect Yourself

    Learn what you can do to avoid becoming a victim:


    • Buy tickets at the venue box office.
    • Buy tickets from authorized brokers and third party sellers, with verified contact information.
    • Look for red flags in the ticket offer. If the offer has imperfect English or unusual phrases, the offer could be a scam. 
    • Verify that the seller has a real physical addresses and phone numbers. Scammers often post fake addresses, PO Box, or no address on their websites.
    • Check the actual web address of the resale ticket seller. Some scammers create phony websites that closely resemble authentic ticket company websites.
    • Search for negative reviews about the seller. Use the seller’s name, email address, and phone number, along with the words “fraud,” “scams,” and “fake tickets” for your online search.
    • Verify the details on the ticket. Check the date and the time printed on the tickets. Make sure the section and seat numbers actually exist at the venue.
    • Have the seller meet you in person in a public place for the ticket exchange.
    • Ask the seller for proof that they bought the tickets, if you are buying from an individual.
    • Use a credit card to pay third party sellers. Your credit card offers protections, if you need to dispute a charge.
    • Check for complaints against a ticket seller with your state’s consumer protection agency.


    • Don’t wire transfer money to pay for tickets.  
    • Don’t trust sellers who want you to pay with a prepaid money card.
    • Don’t meet an individual ticket seller alone or in a low-traffic area.
    • Don’t automatically trust online search results for ticket sellers. Search results can include paid ads, sellers that charge high fees, and scams.
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    Last Updated: December 1, 2020