Lisa Weintraub Schifferle, Attorney, FTC, Division of Consumer & Business Education

If you can’t get your hands on a Nintendo Switch gaming system, you may think an emulator is the next best thing. Think again. Online ads for emulators, sometimes with Nintendo branding, say they can run Switch’s games on your desktop. But there is no legit Nintendo Switch emulator. It’s a scam. Even worse, when you try to download a Nintendo Switch emulator, you can install unwanted applications on your computer. These apps give you misleading...

Lisa Lake, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Scammers know how to design phony checks to make them look legitimate. In fact, the Council of Better Business Bureaus just released a list of the most “risky” scams , based on how likely people are to be targeted, how likely to lose money, and how much money they lost. Fake checks were number two. Fake checks drive many types of scams – like those involving phony prize wins , fake jobs, mystery shoppers , online classified ad sales, and others...

Alesha Hernandez, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Your phone rings and the caller ID shows a number you don’t know. You answer it anyway and hear, “Can you hear me now?” It’s a pre-recorded robocall – even though it sounds like a real person – and it’s illegal. We’ve heard from hundreds of people who have gotten calls like this. Here’s what to do if you get a call from someone you don’t recognize asking, “Can you hear me?”: Don’t respond, just hang up . If you get a call, don't press 1 to speak...

Rosario Méndez, Attorney, Division of Consumer & Business Education, FTC

Scammers try to contact you in many ways. They call, email, put ads online, send messages on social media and more. If you own a small business, they’re trying to contact you too. Lately we’ve been hearing about scams through Facebook messages directed to small business owners. People have reported receiving messages on Facebook telling them that they’re eligible for ― or that they’ve won ― a business grant. If you get a message like this, do...

Alesha Hernandez, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Imposters will pretend to be anyone to get you to send them money. Recently, reports of the virtual child kidnapping imposter scam have resurfaced. The scam begins with a call from someone claiming to have kidnapped a child in your family. You may even hear sounds of a child in distress in the background. The scammer demands money immediately, often wanting money sent through a wire transfer service or by prepaid card. The scammer may even...

Rosario Méndez, Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC

Lots of people like to shop online. It's easy and sometimes faster than finding what you want at the local mall. With just a few clicks, your order is processed and your purchase could be on your doorstep the next day. That is, unless you clicked on an ad that was really a scam. Online ads that offer deals on luxury items at low prices can be part of a scheme to take your money and give you nothing in return. Scammers falsely use well-known name...

Andrew Johnson, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Scammers will do just about anything to rip you off. They will create fake websites, use fake endorsements from public figures, lie about the effectiveness of their products, and much more. We did some investigating and found that a number of shady companies selling “brain booster” pills are using these exact tactics to promote their products. Here’s how: They build spoofed websites that look like the news sites that we know and trust. The sites...

Lisa Weintraub Schifferle, Attorney, FTC, Division of Consumer & Business Education

Renting an apartment online? First, let me tell you about the FTC’s case against Credit Bureau Center, LLC – a company that posted fake online rentals to lure people to their credit monitoring sites. How does this scam work? You’re looking at photos of rentals, on a site like Craigslist. You email the owner who says the apartment is still available but you need a credit check before seeing it. They direct you to their own websites, which say you...

Seena Gressin, Attorney, Division of Consumer & Business Education, FTC

Here are two telemarketing scams with a familiar ring: In one, a caller says you’re eligible for a grant to pay for home repairs, medical costs, or other personal needs. She asks your age, income, and other questions, saying she needs to determine the amount you can receive. After she gets your information, she says you qualify for tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in government or corporate grants. You’ll need to pay a few thousand...

Bridget Small, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

If you have a phone, you’ve probably heard from an IRS imposter — someone claiming you owe thousands of dollars and better pay up immediately, or else terrible things will happen. In the last nine months, more than 111,000 of you reported calls like that to the FTC, and dozens wrote blog comments about callers with South Asian accents posing as IRS agents. Your reports provide crucial information to law enforcement about scam tactics, trends and...

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