Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and Hello Scam Season! After all, it is the season for giving! Although consumer scams occur throughout the year, the holiday season provides fertile ground for scammers to target unknowing consumers.
Knowing about the potential of scams is important to your personal financial well-being, but reporting the scams also helps organizations like the Better Business Bureau, and Federal Trade Commission track scammers and catch them for the purpose of prosecution.
The Federal Trade Commission shares that these scammer sometimes try to get you to contact them by putting their offers of “help” in the comments section of blog posts or online articles about scams. The crooks often claim to be from a government agency – alluding to their trustworthiness, while others claim to be actual victims who got help from the fake agency or company they are endorsing!
Here’s what the Federal Trade Commission says you can do to avoid these recovery scams:
- Don’t pay upfront for a promise. Someone might ask you to pay in advance for things – like help with recovering from a scam. Consider it a no-go if they ask you for money before they provide any “help”.
- Don’t send money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected text, phone call, or email.
- Do online searches. Type the name or contact information into your favorite search engine with the term “complaint” or “scam.”
- Sign up for the FTC’s free scam alerts at gov/scams for the latest tips and advice about scams.
- And if you find yourself scammed, file a complaint with the FTC at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov
Scammers get smarter and trickier with their methods for drawing in unaware victims. Follow the steps outlined by the FTC, educate yourself about scams and reporting suspected scams you or your friends have encountered. Self-protection and consumer advocacy are our first line of defense against these financial threats.