Every year, people report fraud, identity theft, and bad business practices to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and law enforcement partners. According to FTC data:
- More than 2.8 million people reported fraud in 2021.
- Of those who reported fraud, 1 out of 4 people also lost money.
- The median loss amount for scams that start with a call is $1,200—higher than any other contact method.
Here are some general red flags that the person on the other end of a call or text is a scammer:
- They pretend to be from a familiar organization.
- They say there’s a problem or a prize.
- They pressure you to act immediately.
- They tell you to pay in a specific way.
PROTECTING YOUR MONEY AND INFORMATION
Follow these seven tips from the FTC to avoid phone scams:
- Block unwanted calls and texts through your phone company or mobile apps.
- Register your number on the Do Not Call Registry.
- Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers and hang up immediately if you answer a robocall.
- Never provide your personal or financial information in response to a request that you didn’t expect over the phone.
- Resist the pressure to act immediately based on a call or text, since a legitimate business will provide you ample time to decide or provide payment.
- Don’t click on any links in texts, even if the message is from a company you usually do business with and it seems real.
- Talk to someone you trust after receiving a suspicious call or text, as doing so could help you realize it’s a scam.
If you spot a scam or have given money to a scammer, you can report it to the FTC by filing a consumer complaint online or calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).