FTC offers 5 tips to avoid scams

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Americans have reported over 260,000 scams and lost over $412 million in funds linked to COVID-19.

Due to the rise in fraud, federal experts across the government share official information on how to recognize, avoid and report many types of scams.

During the National Consumer Protection Week earlier this year, USAGov collected five key tips to help protect your family and wallet in 2021.

Here are the five key tips to know.

Scammers take advantage of people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Scammers use stressful situations to take advantage of you. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has been no exception.

If an offer, service or product is too good to be true, it probably is.

Many financial promises are often too good to be legitimate. Keep an eye out for signs of a scam like online dates asking for financial details or winning a contest you never signed up for. Avoid sending money, gift cards, or cryptocurrency to anyone you meet online.

Resist the pressure to act immediately.

Legitimate businesses and agencies will always give you time to make a decision; but scammers will pressure you to act immediately. If they demand money or make threats, that is a red flag that they are a scammer. If you get a message from someone you don’t know, ask for their information and do not share your own.

Government imposter scams are on the rise.

Fraudsters often pretend to be government officials to get you to send them money. It’s important to remember that agency officials and representatives will never demand money or threaten to throw you in jail if you don’t comply. Do not give any of your personal information to callers claiming to be the Social Security Administration or Internal Revenue Service.

Protect yourself and your community by reporting scams and fraud.

When you report scams to the FTC, more than 3,000 law enforcement agencies can access your report. The more information you can give, the more useful your report will be. Provide details at ReportFraud.FTC.gov.