Recent Scams

How to spot, avoid and report imposter scams

Imposter scams often begin with a call, text message, or email. The scams may vary, but work the same way – a scammer pretends to be someone you trust to convince you to send them money or share personal information.

Robocalls Threatening Arrest

If you answer a phone call and hear a recorded message instead of a live person, that’s a robocall, and it is probably a scam designed to get you to give your personal information or money. Do not call back and do not provide personal information over the phone unless you’ve initiated the call to a number you know is reliable.

COVID-19 report data “on the daily”

Every day, the FTC is collecting data, watching the numbers, and spotting the trends. We’re also spreading the word about COVID-19-related scams. Because, the more you know about what’s happening, the easier it will be to protect yourself and others from these scams.

2020 Census: Visiting Homes and Sending Emails

The Federal Trade Commission is partnering with the U.S. Census Bureau to help you guard against potential census scams. Knowing how the 2020 Census process works, what information you will — and won’t — be asked for, and some red flags will help you spot and report scams.

Michigan Contact Tracing and How to Avoid Being Scammed

We can’t stop the spread of COVID-19 alone. We have to do it together. Social distancing is only part of the solution. The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads easily between people. To break the chain of infection, we’re calling anyone who has been exposed. The process is called contact tracing and it has been used to control diseases for decades. But you have to answer the phone for it...

Scammers impersonate the FTC, too

Scammers never seem to run out of new ways to try to take your money or steal your identity, especially in times of crisis like the one we’re living through now. One of the latest schemes involves an email that claims—falsely—that it came from me. It might say you’re entitled to some money from a phony “Global Empowerment Fund” and tell you to give your bank account number or...

Help COVID-19 contact tracers, not scammers

After nearly three months of stay-at-home orders, America is starting to open up again. Contact tracers, the folks who work for state health departments to try to track anyone who may have been exposed to COVID-19, are an important part of our road to recovery. But some scammers are pretending to be contact tracers so they can profit off of the current confusion. They’re trying to steal...

Is a scammer getting unemployment benefits in your name?

In a large-scale scam erupting in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, imposters are filing claims for unemployment benefits, using the names and personal information of people who have not filed claims. People learn about the fraud when they get a notice from their state unemployment benefits office or their employer about their supposed application for benefits.

How to avoid COVID-19 government imposter scams

Many of us are paying close attention to the guidance from federal, state, and local governments during this COVID-19 health emergency. Unfortunately, scammers are also paying attention. Some are even pretending to be affiliated with the government – just to scam you out of money.

COVID-19 contact tracing text message scams

You’ve probably been hearing a lot about contact tracing. It’s the process of identifying people who have come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, instructing them to quarantine and monitoring their symptoms daily. The tracer who calls will not ask for personal information, like a Social Security number,bank account, or credit card number. Anyone who does is...

New funding for Coronavirus SBA loans attracts scammers

If you’re a business owner, you may be planning to apply for a loan through the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) program. These programs recently got hundreds of billions of dollars in new funding. But, while you’re focused on getting a loan, scammers may be focused on you: hoping to trick you into giving them sensitive business information,...

COVID-19 scam reports, by the numbers

If you’re a regular reader of this blog — or of the news, you know that scammers are out in force, taking advantage of all aspects of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus checks: flattening the scam curve

There’s a lot to worry about when it comes to the Coronavirus crisis, including the new ways scammers are using the economic impact payments (so-called “stimulus checks”) to trick people. To keep ahead of scammers who are trying to cash in on those payments, read on.

Grandparent scams in the age of coronavirus

“Grandma: I’m in the hospital, sick, please wire money right away.” “Grandpa: I’m stuck overseas, please send money.” Grandparent scams can take a new twist – and a new sense of urgency – in these days of Coronavirus. Here’s what to keep in mind.

Social Distancing from COVID-19 Robocall Scams

Scammers – and scammy companies – are using illegal robocalls to profit from Coronavirus-related fears. Listen to some of the latest scammy robocall pitches, so you can be on the lookout and know how to respond. (Here’s a hint: hang up!)