5 Current Scams Reported by the FTC

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Scamming continues to challenge our pocketbooks and our personal security. Scammers are so savvy in their methods of luring victims that it can be difficult at times to distinguish what is legitimate from what is a scam. To help all of us, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regularly reports on popular scams in circulation. Here are five recent warnings:

  1. Government Bill-Paying Service.

    The FTC reports that this scam is making the rounds in some churches – and that makes it seem honest and official. The scammers offer to pay a victim’s monthly bills for a small fee. Victims then offer up their bank and credit information. The scammer makes off with the fee and personal information, and the victim is left with late fees for unpaid bills. If you need help paying your monthly bills, visit this government site to learn about available free programs that may be able to help.
  2. Yahoo Customer Service by Phone.

    If you do a search for a Yahoo customer service phone number, beware. You will likely be dialing a scammer. Here’s why: Yahoo does not offer phone service for consumers. The company handles customer service via the Internet only. Yet, scammers have set up “Yahoo phone service” through which they offer to help customers for a fee. For help with your Yahoo account, visit yahoo.com.
  3. FTC Investigation Email.

    With this scam, victims receive an email informing them that they are under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission. The emails include links and appear to have several motives. Some links are looking to phish personal information from the victim. Others are used to install malware on the victim’s computer. If you receive a suspicious email, the FTC suggests forwarding the email to spam@uce.gov so that it can be investigated and possibly logged into a database of email scams.
  4. Phony Retailer Apps.

    With the growing popularity of retail apps comes the growing number of phony imitators. Scammers are creating fake phone apps that look like the real thing. Victims download the fake apps and then insert their credit card or bank information right into the hands of the scammers. Before downloading an app from a favorite retailer, check the retailer’s website for a direct link to the app download. The FTC suggests checking for app reviews. If the app doesn’t have any reviews, that is a red flag that it might not be legitimate.
  5. Amazon Gift Card Requests.

    The FTC warns consumers to never pay for big online purchases with an Amazon gift card – unless, of course, you are buying from Amazon. The Commission reports that scammers have been asking for Amazon gift cards to pay for items advertised online, taxes, and utilities. If you come across a “retailer” asking for payment with an Amazon gift card, report the incident to the FTC.

Have you checked your credit report lately? A review can be one of the quickest ways to see if you have been victimized by identity theft. As a Hanscom FCU member, you can access your credit report at no charge. Schedule your review here.

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About Author

MaryJo Kurtz
MaryJo Kurtz

MaryJo Kurtz is the assistant vice president of marketing and communications at Hanscom FCU.

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