Privacy Tip #323 – FTC Warns Consumers of FTC Imposters

It’s an old trick, but it works, so alerting our readers is worth repeating. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a Scam Alert this week warning consumers that fraudsters are impersonating FTC officials.

According to the Alert, scammers are “pretending to be FTC Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter and staff at the FTC. They’re emailing, saying there’s an award ready to be collected (for a fee), or an outstanding COVID issue requiring your immediate attention (and, ultimately, money). But it’s NOT the FTC emailing. And even if they switch to phone calls or the messages switch, those are scammers.” 

The Alert gives consumers some practical tips on how to identify such scams and prevent becoming a victim of these schemes: 

Here are a few things to know:

    1. The FTC won’t email, call, text, or message you to ask for money or information. Not your bank account, credit card, or Social Security number. Not your birthdate. And never, ever money.
    1. The FTC doesn’t give awards or funds related to COVID-19. Anybody who says the FTC has a prize or award for you, or has a benefit related to COVID-19 — that’s a scammer.
    1. Only scammers will demand payment by gift card, cryptocurrency, or money transfer. Scammers love getting you to pay in those ways because it’s easy for them to disappear with your money — and hard for you to get it back.

If you get an email from anyone asking for personal information or money, report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. And please tell the FTC if you spot scammers pretending to be any Commissioner or staff at the agency. No one at the Commission is emailing or calling to ask you for money, and we want to try to stop those who are.

Governmental agencies don’t call or email asking for money, gift cards, or your personal information. If you receive a call like this, report it to the FTC.