If someone claiming to be with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) contacts you and asks you to send money, it’s a scam. Do not pay. Report it. Spread the word to your family and friends.
We’ve received reports that imposters are calling, emailing, even texting or faxing, and pretending to be with the FTC, in an attempt to gain your trust and to steal your hard-earned money. They’re contacting people about fake prize winnings, grants, or refunds, or saying you’re in trouble and need to pay delinquent accounts or fees. Their goal is to either excite or scare you into sending money. The truth is, the FTC does not call, email, text, or fax consumers to ask for payment. Those are scams. In fact, the Department of Justicejust announcedthat two scammers who impersonated the FTC (and the SEC) were found guilty of scamming people out of $10 million.
The FTC does distribute money to people after suing entities for unlawful practices. In fact, according to our 2017 Annual Report, 6.28 million people received checks from the FTC between July 2016 and June 2017.
However, the FTC will NEVER ask you to send money or provide bank account information to get your money back. If you are entitled to a refund from a FTC lawsuit, you will usually receive a check or claim form with details about the case. The case will be listed in our chart of recent cases resulting in refunds. You can call the number associated with the case on our website if you have any questions.
Imposters won’t stop at just using the FTC’s name. They’ll use the names of any people or organizations you trust. Dealing with imposters in real time can be difficult. But it’s important to take note of not just the story that they tell, but also how they ask you to pay. If they ask you to pay by wiring them money, getting iTunes cards, or putting money on a MoneyPak, Vanilla Reload, or Reloadit card, it’s a scam.
If someone impersonating the FTC has contacted you, do not pay, report it, and spread the word. It may help someone close to you avoid a scam.