Telephone scammers try to steal your money or personal information. Scams may come through phone calls from real people, robocalls, or text messages. The callers often make false promises, such as opportunities to buy products, invest your money, or receive free product trials. They may also offer you money through free grants and lotteries. Some scammers may call with threats of jail or lawsuits if you don’t pay them.
Report Telephone Scams
Reporting scams to federal agencies helps them collect evidence for lawsuits against people committing these scams. However, federal agencies don’t investigate individual cases of telephone scams.
Report telephone scams to the Federal Trade Commission, either online or by phone at 1-877-382-4357. This is the primary government agency that collects scam complaints.
Report all robocalls and unwanted telemarketing calls to the Do Not Call Registry.
Report caller ID spoofing to the Federal Communications Commission either online or by phone at 1-888-225-5322.
Also report the scam to your state consumer protection office. Some consumer protection offices help residents resolve consumer problems.
How to Protect Yourself
Remember these tips to avoid being a victim of a telephone scam:
Register your phone number with the National Do Not Call Registry. You may register online 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.
Be wary of callers claiming that you’ve won a prize or vacation package.
Hang up on suspicious phone calls.
Be cautious of caller ID. Scammers can change the phone number that shows up on your caller ID screen. This is called “spoofing.”
Research business opportunities, charities, or travel packages separately from the information the caller has provided.
Don’t give in to pressure to take immediate action.
Don’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 to use as proof that you agreed to a purchase or credit card charge.
Don’t provide your credit card number, bank account information, or other personal information to a caller.
Don’t send money if the caller tells you to wire money or pay with a prepaid debit card.
Banking scams involve attempts to access your bank account. Some popular banking scams include:
Overpayment scams - 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.
Unsolicited check fraud - 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.
Automatic withdrawals - A company sets up an automatic debit from your bank account, as part of a free trial or to collect lottery winnings.
Phishing - 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 to depends on which type you were a victim of.
Report fake checks you receive by mail to the US Postal Inspection Service.
Report counterfeit checks to the Federal Trade Commission, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to Protect Yourself
Remember these tips to avoid being a victim of a banking scam:
Be suspicious if you are told to wire a some of funds from a check back to a company.
Be wary of lotteries or free trials that ask for your bank account number.
Verify the authenticity of a cashier’s check with the bank that it is drawn on before depositing a check.
When 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.
Don’t deposit checks or money orders from strangers or companies you don’t have a relationship with.
Don’t wire money to people or companies you don’t know.
Don’t give your bank account number to someone who calls you, even for verification purposes.
Don’t click on links in email to verify your bank account.
Don’t accept a check that includes an overpayment.
To Learn More about scams, visit: https://www.usa.gov/common-scams-frauds