You’re in the middle of your day and you receive a call. A collection agency is asking you to pay for a service or product they claim you acquired long ago. They’re insistent on you paying immediately, in some cases, they threaten with arrests or jail. Despite having doubts about the call, you proceed and give them your personal information. It seemed legitimate, all of it, but then you wonder, maybe it’s a scam?
Everyone knows checking your bank account, paying bills, and saving are vital to your financial well-being. But how should you deal with scammers who come after you and your wallet?
Routinely checking your credit report is a good way to ensure you are on the right track. However, many other resources are available to help you protect yourself and your money every day.
Beware of the Tell Tale Signs of Fraud
Every day, scammers develop more sophisticated and convincing schemes, but these tricks usually share something in common – urgency and veiled threats. Scammers find ways to intimidate victims by calling them posing as government representatives and always ask for personal information or some kind of payment. Below are a few steps to consider when you receive a call you believe is a scam:
Don’t send money
Do not share any personal information
Report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
You can report someone falsely claiming to be from the government, a business or other entity, or if you have privacy concerns to the Federal Trade Commission.
Free Help for Consumers
The Consumer Action Handbook (CAH) is a free guide that provides general information on shopping for goods and services, and tips about your consumer rights. The Handbook has information to help you file a complaint about a purchase and includes a sample letter to help you file an official complaint to a company.
The CAH also includes a consumer assistance directory, with contact information for consumer protection offices across the country, and customer service departments at many national corporations. Order or download a free copy for you, a family member, or a local organization. This free resource is also available in Spanish.
Stay safe and informed, know what to do when a purchase or service goes wrong, and how to address it by visiting USA.gov.