Scammers, including individuals and fake resale companies, take advantage of the situation by:. Prize scammers try to get your money or personal information through fake lotteries, sweepstakes, or other contests. Contact the Federal Trade Commission online or by phone at Contact a postal inspector if the scam uses the U. Report robocalls and unwanted telemarketing calls to the Do Not Call Registry. Federal agencies investigate scams and pursue criminal charges against the scammers. Check the postage on a mailed prize notice. Research the company's contact information.
Contact them to verify if the prize is legitimate. Report spam text messages to your mobile carrier, then delete them.
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Pyramid schemes are scams that need a constant flow of new participants to keep them going. They are marketed as multi-level marketing programs or other types of legitimate businesses. Be wary if you have to recruit more participants to increase your profit, or get your investment back.
Check out the business with the Better Business Bureau , your state attorney general , or state licensing agencies. Investment scams prey on your hope to earn high returns on a regular basis, without financial risk. Report investment scams by state-licensed companies to your state's securities administrator. The SEC may forward your complaint to the investment company.
The FTC will not research your individual case of investment fraud. Research investment opportunities and investment professionals. Your state securities regulator and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority offer information. The U. Census Bureau collects data about the people and economy of the United States. It collects personal and demographic information from people and businesses. Some scam artists may pretend to be work for the Census Bureau. They'll try to collect your personal information to use for fraud or to steal your identity.
These scam artists may send you letters that seem to come from the U.
Census Bureau. Verify that the study is legitimate. Look up the employee's name in the Census staff directory. 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. The Census Bureau won't ask for this type of information. Don'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.
A Ponzi scheme is a type of investment fraud. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Be wary of any investment that regularly pays positive returns regardless of what the overall market is doing.
Government grant scammers try to get your money by guaranteeing a free grant to help you pay for college, home repairs, or other expenses. In reality, the government rarely grants money to individuals. The FTC enters fraud-related complaints into a database available to law enforcement agencies in the U. The government does not charge for information or applications for federal grants. Register your phone number with the National Do Not Call Registry to reduce the number of telemarketing calls you receive. Register online at donotcall.
You can get Information about government grants for free at public libraries and online at Grants. Check out the name of the agency online or in the phone book—it may be fake.
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In order to dispute charges on a credit card or bank statement, you'll need to contact your bank directly. Questions to consider: Could someone else have had access to your device that may have made these calls? Did you receive charges on your bill for this activity? After a review where the calls clearly are not yours, give us a call so we can assist.
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Whether you're looking to block a specific number or prevent all robocallers, we offer several options to choose from. Identity theft occurs when someone uses your Social Security number or other confidential information to open new accounts and make purchases. Computer worms, viruses and other malicious programs known as malware can destroy or steal data and personal information.
When someone under false pretenses tries to get your personal information to gain access to your cash and credit.
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Slamming and cramming involve third party charges to your bill without your knowledge or consent. Here's what you can do about identity theft and account take over. File a claim online. For more information on identity theft: Visit FCC website. Identity theft occurs when someone uses your Social Security number or other confidential information to open new accounts or make purchases This can occur by way of a phone call or an email from an allegedly legitimate business or individual.
It might even happen when someone searches your trash for mail containing personal information and credit card receipts. In many cases, a pre-approved credit card application gives the criminal enough information to set up a credit card in your name. When bad actors take over a user account, they can roam free in the environment and make all sorts of fraudulent activities.
A Growing Threat to Your Finances: Cell-Phone Account Fraud
These activities can go from updating a shipping address or changing a password to making fraudulent purchases. Authorized credit card transactions. Credit card number theft involves a phone call or email from someone acting as a representative from a legitimate company. The caller will try to convince you that they need your credit card number to check your account. However, he or she will use this information to illegally run up charges on your card.
Malware: Worms, viruses and other malicious programs. Computer worms, viruses and other malicious programs can destroy or steal data and personal information. Without your knowledge, hackers can use these viruses to harvest your personal information, steal your money, credit and identity. It then prods them into revealing sensitive information, clicking on links to malicious websites, or opening attachments that contains malware. An example is an email sent to users of an online service that alerts them of a policy violation requiring immediate action on their part, such as a required password change.
It includes a link to an illegitimate website—nearly identical in appearance to its legitimate version—prompting the unsuspecting user to enter their current credentials and new password. Upon form submittal the information is sent to the attacker. Financial pretexting is a type of social engineering when someone under false pretenses tries to get your personal information to gain access to your cash and credit.
You've probably gotten robocalls about candidates running for office, or charities asking for donations. These robocalls are allowed. But if the recording is a sales message and you haven't given your written permission to get calls from the company on the other end, the call is illegal.
In addition to the phone calls being illegal, their pitch most likely is a scam.
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