Avoiding imposter scams [video]

We hear first-hand stories from people around the country about how scammers are targeting people in every community. And while the techniques the scammers use may vary, there’s one thing these scams have in common: sometimes, the first step in avoiding a scam is talking about it with someone you trust.

That’s exactly what Maria Juarez did. Maria, who lives with her husband and two kids in a small Texas town, got a phone call one day. The caller, who claimed to be an attorney, told Maria there was a court order against her and that she had to pay hundreds of dollars to settle an old debt. If she didn’t pay, there would be dire consequences.  The caller threatened to have her arrested and to involve immigration authorities.

Maria was so terrified she was tempted to send the money immediately so the problem would go away. But something didn’t feel right to her, so she talked to her husband and son. Her son found online complaints about the company and was convinced it was a scam. That’s when they decided to report the company to the FTC.

Thanks to Maria’s report, and hundreds of others like it, the FTC took action. The court stopped the fraud and the company agreed to shut down its operation. Maria is grateful that she confided in her son. And we’re grateful to her and so many others who report fraud to the FTC.

Now, you can hear Maria’s story in her own words. Moments ago, Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, gave a sneak preview at the Legislative Summit hosted by the National Association of Hispanic Publishers and the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Watch the video to learn more about avoiding imposter scams and to hear Maria’s story, in her own words (the video is in Spanish with English subtitles.) If you have a similar story about an imposter scam, tell us about it. Report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint or call 1-877-FTC-HELP.

This article by the FTC was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.