Federal Trade Commission Warns of Scammers Creating Fake Emergencies to Get Your Money

By  //  July 5, 2018

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scammers claim to be everyone from family to police

ABOVE VIDEO: Imposters claiming to be friends or family in distress try to trick consumers into wiring money. Click here to learn more about family emergency imposter scams. 

(FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION) – “I lost my wallet and ID. I’m stranded — please wire money.” “Your grandson is being held in jail. He needs bail money right away.”

Scammers try to trick you into thinking a loved one is in trouble. They call, text, email, or send messages on social media about a supposed emergency with a family member or friend.

They ask you to send money immediately.

To make their story seem real, they may claim to be an authority figure, like a lawyer or police officer; they may have or guess at facts about your loved one.

These imposters may insist that you keep quiet about their demand for money to keep you from checking out their story and identifying them as imposters. But no matter how real or urgent this seems — it’s a scam.

WATCH: Federal Trade Commission Sues Two Companies Involved in Phantom Debt SchemeRelated Story:
WATCH: Federal Trade Commission Sues Two Companies Involved in Phantom Debt Scheme

If you get a call or message like this, what to do?

Imposters claiming to be friends or family in distress try to trick consumers into wiring money. Click here to learn more about family emergency imposter scams.

  • Check it out before you act. Look up that friend or family’s phone number yourself. Call them or another family member to see what’s happening. Even if the person who contacted you told you not to.
  • Don’t pay. Don’t wire money, send a check, overnight a money order, or pay with a gift card or cash reload card. Anyone who demands payment in these ways is always, always, always a scammer. These payment methods are like giving cash — and nearly untraceable unless you act almost immediately.
  • If you sent money to a family emergency scammer, contact the company you used to send the money (wire transfer service, bank, gift card company, or cash reload card company) and tell them it was a fraudulent transaction. Ask to have the transaction reversed, if possible.
  • Click here to report the message or call the FTC’s Consumer Response Center at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).

Share this video to help servicemembers and their families avoid family imposter scams.

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