Fraud Protection

  1. Telemarketing Fraud
  2. Internet Fraud
  3. Prize & Sweepstake Scams
  4. Charity Scams

Avoid Common Scams

  • Know who you're dealing with. If the company or charity is unfamiliar, check it out with your state or local consumer protection agency and the Better Business Bureau.
  • Be aware that no complaints is no guarantee. Fraudulent operators open and close quickly, so the fact that no one has made a complaint yet does not mean that the company or charity is legitimate. You still need to look for other danger signs of fraud.
  • Do not believe promises of easy money. If someone claims that you can earn money with little or no work, get a loan or credit card even if you have bad credit, or make money on an investment with little or no risk, it's probably a scam.
  • Never pay to play. It's illegal for a company to require you to buy something or pay a fee in order to win or claim a prize. Buying something does not improve your chances of winning.
  • Resist pressure. Legitimate companies will be happy to send you detailed information and give you time to make a decision. It's a probably a scam if the marketer demands that you act immediately or will not take "No" for an answer.
  • Beware of bogus recovery services. These crooks tell consumers that, for an upfront fee, they can recover money lost to fraud. Legitimate law enforcement agencies do not charge to help telemarketing fraud victims.

Protect Your Information

  • Think twice before entering contests operated by unfamiliar companies. Fraudulent marketers sometimes use contest entry forms to identify potential victims.
  • Guard your personal information. Only provide your credit card or bank account number when you are actually paying for something. Do not give your social security number to a telemarketer.

Your Rights & Reporting Fraud

  • Know your rights. Under federal law, you can tell telemarketers to put you on their Do Not Call lists and sue them in small claims court for $500 if they call again. 
    • To document your request, ask for the name and address of the company on whose behalf the salesperson is calling, and record that information, along with the date, on a pad that you keep by the phone. If the company calls again, write down the date. 
    • Contact your state or local consumer protection agency to find out if you also have "Do Not Call" rights under state law.
  • Report violations. If your Do Not Call rights are violated, contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by calling 877-382-4357 (the FTC does not have jurisdiction over banks, insurance companies, and telephone companies), and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) by calling 888-225-5322. 
  • Report violations of state law to the appropriate state agency.