By: Federal Trade Commission
Paying with a gift card or wiring money is like sending cash. Do not send money to people you do not know.
- Do not give out your personal information to people you do not know.
- Do not give access to your computer to people you do not know.
How do I spot an imposters scam?
Most imposter scams look like this:
- Someone asks you to put money on a gift card or to wire money.
A scammer might use different ways to convince you to send money. The scammer might say:
- You have a problem with your computer and you have to pay to fix it.
- You owe taxes to the IRS.
- You won a prize, or inherited money, but you have to pay fees first.
- You won the lottery, but you have to pay some taxes first.
- A friend or family member is in trouble and needs you to send money to help
- You got a check for too much money and need to send back the extra.
These are all tricks. When you hear stories like these, you have spotted an imposter scam.
How do I avoid an imposter scam?
Scammers are good at being friendly. They also are good at fooling people. Here is how you can stop a scammer:
- Never send money to someone you do not know.
- Never send money because someone contacted you:
- Even if you feel like you know the person.
- Even if the person says he is your friend or related to you.
What if I already sent money to someone I don’t know?
If you sent money to someone who contact you, report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
- Call the FTC at 1-877-382-4357
- Go online: ftc.gov/complaint
The FTC uses complaints to build cases against scammers. Any information you can give helps investigators.
Federal Trade Commission | consumer.gov | September 2018