Scammers cash in on confusion over vaccine verification methods
More than a year into the pandemic, and months after the first rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, people are eager to get back to their regular activities. But some activities might require you to show that you’ve been vaccinated or had a recent negative COVID-19 test. How you do that may depend on the activity and where you live. Click here to learn more.
Spotting cryptocurrency investment scams
Cryptocurrency has gotten lots of attention as a new way to invest. But here’s the thing: scammers are taking advantage of people’s understanding (or not) of cryptocurrency investments, and how they work. And younger people are losing big. In fact, the FTC’s new data spotlight shows that, since October 2020, nearly 7,000 people reported losses to bogus cryptocurrency investments, adding up to more than $80 million. Click here to learn how to protect yourself from cryptocurrency scams.
Scammers target loved ones of COVID-19 victims
Government imposters may have hit a new low with a scheme that targets the grieving survivors of people who died of COVID-19 by offering them help paying for their loved one’s funeral expenses. A real government relief program will pay up to $9,000 for funeral expenses that people have paid since January 20, 2020 for loved ones who died of COVID-19. Survivors can apply for benefits by contacting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at 844-684-6333. The number is toll-free and multi-lingual services are available. Click here to read more about the benefits.
Ignore bogus COVID vaccine survey
Scammers are using a new trick to steal your money and personal information: a bogus COVID vaccine survey. People across the country are reporting getting emails and texts out of the blue, asking them to complete a limited-time survey about the Pfizer, Moderna, or AstraZeneca vaccine. (And no doubt, there may be one for Johnson & Johnson, too.) In exchange, people are offered a free reward, but asked to pay shipping fees. Read this article to find out what to do if this happens to you.
Scam email says FTC Chairwoman Rebecca Slaughter is sending Coronavirus money
Earlier this year, we told you that scammers were lying and saying the FTC is sending people Coronavirus relief money. Now we’re seeing a new version of the phishing email scam that looks like it’s from our Acting Chairwoman, Rebecca Slaughter. The Acting Chairwoman didn’t email you. Scammers who spoofed her email did. Here are 3 things you need to know about this scam.
As you are most likely aware, the pandemic has caused many customer like you to utilize online payment systems and transfers applications to conduct your day-to-day banking, shopping, paying bills or paying friends. Unfortunately, this increase in Ecommerce has also created a perfect opportunity for criminals to spoof information belonging to legitimate companies and to send text messages or emails trying to gain access to your account. Read here to educate yourself on the "hot scams".
FBI Newark Provides Tips for Avoiding Romance Scams
Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and the FBI is warning of possible romance scams. Romance scams occur when a criminal uses a fake online identity to gain a victim’s affection and trust. These scammers are present on most dating and social media sites. They look to establish a relationship as quickly as possible and endear themselves to the victim. Many may propose marriage and make plans to meet in person. Eventually, they will ask for money. To avoid becoming a victim, FBI Newark recommends the following tips. Click here to read them.
Social media is no place for COVID-19 vaccination cards
You’re posting a photo of your vaccination card on social media. Please — don’t do that! You could be inviting identity theft. Your vaccination card has information on it including your full name, date of birth, where you got your vaccine, and the dates you got it. When you post it to Facebook, Instagram, or to some other social media platform, you may be handing valuable information over to someone who could use it for identity theft. Click here to read more.
What to know about the second round of Economic Impact Payment (EIP) checks and cards
The US Department of the Treasury and the IRS are working hard to get a second round of Economic Impact Payments (EIP) to people. Don’t be surprised if the way you get this second round of payments is different than the first time. Whichever way you get your payment, it’s all money the government wants you to have, and quickly. So: if you qualify for an Economic Impact Payment, look at your bank account for a direct deposit, keep an eye out for a check in the mail, or watch your mailbox carefully this month for an EIP Visa debit card. Click here to read more about the ways you might receive your stimulus money.
Stimulus Payments for People, Not Nursing Homes
If you, or someone you care about, lives in an assisted living facility or nursing home, read on. Because the bill funding the second round of Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) has now been signed into law. The money — right now, $600 per person who qualifies — is being sent out over the next few weeks. And, like last time, the money is meant for the PERSON, not the place they might live.
Investment Coaching Scams are Trending
The FTC announced Operation Income Illusion, a nationwide effort to shut down income scams that used false promises like this to trick people into believing they would make a lot of money if they bought one of these programs. In each case, it turned out to be, well, an illusion. Read more on how to prevent being scammed.
New Tools to Fight Gift Card Scams
Scammers always have a reason for you to pay them immediately with a gift card. And they often tell you which card to buy and which store to visit. That’s why the FTC is launching a new Stop Gift Card Scams campaign to work with stores and law enforcement to fight these scams. Click here to read more.
Email and Text Message Cyber Attacks
When you are opening an email or text messages, please keep these tips in mind and protect yourself from cyber-attacks.
Santa Doesn't Need Your Social Security Number
Maybe you’re planning to send e-cards to family and friends. Or maybe your kids are writing their letter to Santa online, using a site that promises a customized letter back from Santa. Before you share your personal information — and certainly before you pay read these tips.
Frost the Con Man: Avoiding Family Emergency Scams
You might get a call or message supposedly from an out-of-town family member or friend claiming to be in an accident, arrested, or hospitalized. To make their story seem legitimate, they may involve another crook who claims to be an authority figure, like a lawyer or police officer. What do you do if you get a message like this? Click here to find out.
Joining Forces to Stop Income Scams
Today, the FTC joined forces with numerous federal, state, and local government partners in Operation Income Illusion, an effort to fight income scams and help people recognize and avoid them. With record unemployment and the ongoing financial impact of the pandemic, many people are looking to make ends meet — and scammers are pitching income scams with false promises of success and financial security. Read more here on how to protect yourself. from income scams.
NYS DMV Warns of Ongoing Text Message Phishing Schemes
The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles today warned New Yorkers of ongoing text message phishing schemes. These illegitimate text messages ask recipients to update their driver license contact information. The messages link to a phony DMV website. Anyone who received such a text message should not provide any personal data and should delete it right away. Click here to see what types of text messages you should avoid.
Grandma Got a Scam Call from a Reindeer
On the 7th day of Consumer Protection, watch this video by clicking here to find out how to block scam calls — from scammy reindeer and others — on your mobile phone.
Avoid a Season of Mis-giving
If you like to donate to charities at the end of the year, ‘tis also time to make sure your donations get to the places you mean them to go. Because this year, lots of charities could really use the help. Click here to learn more on how to make your donation the most influential.
Fake Calls From Apple and Amazon Support: What You Need to Know
Scammers are calling people and using the names of two companies everyone knows, Apple and Amazon, to rip people off. Here’s what you need to know about these calls.
Giving Wisely in the Time of COVID
Thanks to COVID-19, many charitable organizations are faced with greater demand for their services, but less in donations as people have less to give. Now, more than ever, it’s important to make sure that your donation will be used wisely and well. Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday, and as you consider new places to send your donations, now and throughout the holiday season, don’t forget these four tips for giving wisely. Click here to read more.
FBI, TBI, and U.S. Secret Service Warn of Increase in Money Mule Schemes in Middle and West Tennessee
Acting as a money mule—allowing others to use your bank account, or conducting financial transactions on behalf of others jeopardizes your financial security and compromises your personally identifiable information. Protect yourself by refusing to send or receive money on behalf of individuals and businesses for which you are not personally and professionally responsible. Click here to see a list of signs you may be acting as a money mule.
Non-filers: Expect a Letter About Your Stimulus Check
If you don’t usually file a tax return, or didn’t file a return for 2018 or 2019, you might not know you could qualify for an economic impact payment. You might be one of the nine million people getting a letter from the IRS letting you know how to register on their website to claim your payment. Click here to find out the new deadline for filing.
Scams That Start on Social Media
Scammers are hiding out on social media, using ads and offers to market their scams, according to people’s reports to the FTC and a new Data Spotlight. In the first six months of 2020, people reported losing a record high of almost $117 million to scams that started on social media. Click here to learn how to protect yourself on social media.
Threatening Phone Scams Are Targeting Parents and Immigrants
If you live on Staten Island, pay close attention, since these two scams seem to be targeting people in your area. But we know that scammers don’t often stick with one area, so they could expand their target area any time now. To get more information click here.
Fake Check Scams and Your Small Business
If someone you don’t know sends you a check and asks for money back, that’s a scam. But what if you’re a small business owner and someone “overpays” you and asks you to refund the balance? That’s still a scam — a fake check scam, to be exact. Read here on how to protect your business.
Did Someone Tell You to Pay with Gift Cards? It's a Scam.
Maybe someone said you’ve won the lottery, a prize or sweepstakes. Or they claim to be from the government and tell you there’s a problem with your Social Security number. And, to collect your winnings or solve your problem, you have to pay with gift cards. But here’s the thing: anyone who insists that you pay by gift card is always a scammer. Ques to look out for are available here.
Economic Impact Payment Fix for 50,000 Eligible Spouses
In mid-September, the IRS will automatically send “catch-up” payments to eligible spouses whose EIP was diverted to pay their spouses’ child support obligations. To get more information click here.
Hang up on Fake "Refund Calls"
Recently scammers posing as Elite IT agents have been making calls. They say they’re giving refunds related to the case (not true), and urging people to hand over control of their computers (not safe). If you get a call from Elite IT - or anyone else who wants to connect to your computer - hang up and report it. It’s a scam. Read this important info so you don't end up putting yourself at risk.
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. Click here to stay up-to-date.
Malicious Cyber Actor Spoofing COVID-19 Loan Relief Webpage via Phishing Emails
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is currently tracking an unknown malicious cyber actor who is spoofing the Small Business Administration (SBA) COVID-19 loan relief webpage via phishing emails. These emails include a malicious link to the spoofed SBA website that the cyber actor is using for malicious re-directs and credential stealing. Click here for the details you need to watch out for so you don't fall prey to these emails.
"You've won! Now pay us" is Always a Scam
The scammers are trying to push you into a heightened emotional state, to knock you off balance just long enough to steal your money and personal information. Click here for tips on how to avoid these scammers.
Activate your EIP Visa Debit Card Now
Did you get an Economic Impact Payment VISA debit card in the mail from the U.S. Department of the Treasury? If you did, you might get a letter from Treasury this week, reminding you to activate your card. Click here to learn how to activate your card.
Fake Emails about Fake Money from a Fake COVID-19 Fund
Because of COVID-19, unemployment rates are high and many people’s cash flows are low. Scammers view these as ripe conditions to strike. They’ll stop at nothing — not even a pandemic — to trick you into sharing your personal or financial information. Click here to learn how you can protect yourself.
Help COVID-19 Contact Tracers, Not Scammers
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 your identity, your money – or both. Click here to learn the ways you can spot the difference.
Staying Safe During the Pandemic
While the COVID-19 crisis has changed so much about daily life, it has also been a boon for criminals and con artists. But the FBI and our partners are working to protect your family and your wallet. Click here to learn more about protecting children and uncovering scams.
Donating in Difficult Times
These days, there are just so many reasons why people want to do to something to help, to make a difference, to take action. In addition to volunteering or putting their feet to the pavement, lots of people are putting their hands in their wallets to try to make an impact. Once again, though, scammers will be there. Click here to learn how to give safely.
Potential Fraud Scams Surrounding SBA Loans
The United States Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Small Business Administration warns about possible scams relating to the CARES Act. Click here to learn more about possible scams and fraud schemes to raise public awareness.
Homeland Security Investigations
The office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) has created an informational flyer for their Strategic Targeted Outreach Program (S.T.O.P.). The flyer includes information regarding red flags for online shopping, finance, and prohibited pharmaceutical and medical devices along with additional tips and information. Click here to view the flyer created by HSI.
Defending Against COVID-19 Cyber Scams
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) warns individuals to remain vigilant for scams related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Cyber actors may send emails with malicious attachments or links to fraudulent websites to trick victims into revealing sensitive information or donating to fraudulent charities or causes. Click here to learn more about defending yourself against COVID-19 cyber scams.
United States Attorney Shares Tips for Avoiding COVID-19 Scams
Today, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott warned of several new fraud schemes seeking to exploit the evolving COVID-19 (Coronavirus) public health emergency often targeting vulnerable populations. Click here to learn more about the US Attorney's tips for avoiding scams.
FBI Sees Rise in Fraud Schemes Related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic
Scammers are leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic to steal your money, your personal information, or both. Don’t let them. Protect yourself and do your research before clicking on links purporting to provide information on the virus; donating to a charity online or through social media; contributing to a crowdfunding campaign; purchasing products online; or giving up your personal information in order to receive money or other benefits. Click here for more information from the FBI on how to protect yourself from fraud.
FDIC: Insured Bank Deposits are Safe; Beware of Potential Scams Using the Agency's Name
In light of recent developments related to the coronavirus, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is reminding Americans that FDIC-insured banks remain the safest place to keep their money. Click here for more information on insured bank deposits from the FDIC.