If you can’t beat them, join them. Or at least…pretend to join them. Scammers are using their greatest foe to trick unsuspecting callers – the FTC.
The Federal Trade Commission is the government organization in charge of protecting and warning you about scams. Scammers are posing as the FTC and giving out fake prize money in a cash-grab effort.
One man received a compelling letter that he had won a $5 million prize, “certified and verified” from the FTC. All he had to do to collect the money was call the given number and pay a $500 fee. Sounds legit right? Well, the letter was so convincing that the man actually showed up to the FTC to receive his money. Unfortunately, there was no real prize to be given to him.
If you receive any calls or letters from someone posing as the FTC, know that the FTC does not hand out rewards or give prizes. In fact, if ANY company calls and offers you cash for a contest you never entered, it’s fishy. Anyone who asks you to pay before you get your winnings will take your money and skip the pay-out.
The FTC took a look at the letter when this man showed up and said it looked official, with a photo of the building and their seal. But they don’t call, email, or write to ask for money for any reason, so if you get a letter like this – it’s a scam. Report it to the FTC as soon as possible.
Whenever you have doubts about a suspicious call, take a few minutes to investigate it. Search for the official number of a company and call it back, rather than trusting the one that called, which could be spoofed. Nothing is ever too urgent that you can’t do a follow-up, and those few minutes could be the thing that keeps you from sending money to a scammer.