Our Scam Table keeps you on top of all the scams we track each month. Learn about big name scams that have made headline news, how they work and what you can do to avoid falling victim to them.

2019 Scams

NameSummaryDate
Canceled Flight ScamBe on alert this vacation season, as third-party sites are selling cheap flights from unknown airlines and stealing money from eager travelers. The websites seem legitimate, but once payment has been made, your reservation is canceled, and the company is no longer available. In another scheme, you will receive a call from the company, requesting you to verify all your personally identifiable information. Research any new airlines for negative reviews and only make purchases with your credit card, as those can be disputed.06/2019
Credit Quick Fix ScamIndividuals looking to clean up and boost their credit score are being duped into paying high upfront fees by “credit repair” companies and getting no results. Companies advertising in search engines, social media and through phone calls, promise to remove negative items from your credit and boost your score. There is no quick fix for credit scores and consumers are advised to get a free copy of their credit score and dispute unknown charges on their own. 06/2019
Vacation Rental ScamAs we enter the summer months, scammers are preying on individuals and families who are seeking to rent vacation homes. Fraudsters are creating fake online listings and offering deals that seem too good to be true. In most cases, they'll require an advance deposit and request payment through money wiring or a check, rather than directly through the website where the rental is listed. Only rent through reputable merchants, do your research to make sure the property exists and has reviews, and never send any personal information without having direct contact with the landlord.05/2019
Employment ScamBeware of “on-the-spot” job offers as the BBB warns consumers of employment scams. Online ads and emails from recruiters are baiting individuals to apply for a job at reputable companies. Individuals are hired right away, often without an interview, and asked to share Personally Identifiable Information (PII) such as Social Security Number and banking information for direct deposit. Some consumers have also received a large compensation check and asked to wire the money back to the company. Research the organization or recruiter offering the job and request a contract before sharing any personal information.05/2019
“One Ring” ScamIndividuals are receiving robocalls in the middle of the night that only last for one ring. The scammer on the line may call multiple times, hoping to get the individual to call back. A call back to the unknown number may result in fraudulent charges to their phone bill. Do not call back numbers you do not recognize and remain vigilant of charges made to your phone bill.05/2019
Notre Dame Donation ScamsScammers are taking advantage of the Notre Dame Cathedral fire devastation through donation requests from fraudulent organizations and crowdfunding projects. Criminals are using social media to promote disguised phishing links and fake donation pages. Research any organization inviting you to donate money by looking up the name of the organization plus the word “complaint” or “scam.”04/2019
Global Entry ScamFrequent travelers who are looking to apply for Global Entry are being targeted by scammers when signing up online. The Global Entry program is designed to cut down on airport security lines. Phony third-party application webpages are appearing in online searches, asking for personal information, and charging a fee on top of the $100 required government fee. These webpages are designed to look like the official government application but aim to access your personal and credit card information. Visit the official Global Entry webpage before filing with a third party.04/2019
Tech Support ScamScammers are posing as well-known software companies and reaching out to unsuspecting victims claiming their computer is at risk. They claim one of their tech support agents will be able to help, for a fee, if you grant access to your computer. Once they are remotely controlling your device, they can install malware and gather your personal documents and information. Be wary that no tech support companies will call and request access to your computer.03/2019
Phony Job ScamThis employment scam begins with a voicemail from someone who claims to have spoken to you in the past, offering a new opportunity to earn thousands of dollars working from home. The scammer then asks you to check out a website for more information. The website might contain malware that downloads onto your computer and collects your personal documents and information. The web page may also request your personal credentials for a fraudulent background check. Lastly, the fraudster could ask you to pay for a training course in advance. The reality is, the job offer is a sham to steal your information and money. Research a job offer before submitting your information.03/2019
Romance ScamsThe FTC noted a rise in scams aimed at individuals who participate in online dating apps. Romance scammers will create a fake profile and spark up a conversation. The criminal gains the victim’s trust and later asks to be sent money through a wire transfer or gift card for an emergency. Last year, people reported a median loss of $2,600 from romance scams. Never send money or gifts to a sweetheart you haven’t met in person.02/2019
Fake Medicare CallsScammers are targeting the elderly with calls that appear to be from Medicare or Social Security Administration. They are offering free products or claim there has been suspicious activity on the account in order to gain personal information of the victim. Although the organization name will pop up in the caller ID, it is important to note government agencies to not place unsolicited calls. You will receive a mailed letter if there is an issue with your account.02/2019
Fake Sale ScamAds on social media platforms are advertising name brands shoes, clothes, or electronics at a steep discounted price. A recent ad submitted to BBB, promoted discounts of up to 95% off. Phony e-commerce websites are scamming individuals and gathering their credit card information in exchange for cheap counterfeit products or no products at all. Only input your payment information into websites where the URL begins with “https://” and includes a lock icon on the purchase page.02/2019
Sports Fan Gear ScamFraudulent websites are advertising discounted official sports jerseys and gear through social media and web searches. As BBB reports, consumers are being charged for the purchase, but never receive their order. Be wary of suspicious websites and research the company before placing an order.01/2019
Change of Address ScamPhony websites are populating under “Address Change” search queries. These websites mimic the USPS website, but are charging individuals a hefty fee. The fraudulent websites get away with your money and do not make changes to your record. Double check the URL of every website you submit your personal and payment information.01/2019
Apple Phone Call Phishing ScamConsumers have reported receiving phone calls from Apple, warning them of an Apple data breach. When answered, the call cautions that multiple servers containing Apple user IDs had been compromised. The message then demands the customer call a 1-866 number before using the mobile device. The call will appear on your “Recent Call” log as a legitimate call from Apple, including the correct address, logo, and URL. If you receive a call from Apple requesting money to reactivate or protect your device, hang up and call the Apple Support number to ensure the call was a scam.01/2019
Suspended Social Security ScamNumerous individuals have been receiving calls from Social Security Administration (SSA) warning them their Social Security Number (SSN) is suspended due to suspicious activity. The scammer on the phone will asks you to confirm your SSN to reactivate. Some individuals have reported to the FTC that they are often told their bank account is about to be seized and must pay the SSA using gift cards. If you receive such call, hang up and call the official SSA hotline. Do not share any personal information, especially your SSN over the phone.01/2019

2018 Scams

NameSummaryDate
Netflix Email ScamThe FTC has identified a phishing email attack targeting Netflix customers. The email states that Netflix is "having some trouble with your current billing information". It requests the user to update their payment method to remove the hold on their account. The email directs customers to a bogus webpage where you are asked to input your payment information. If you've received an email you suspect is a scam, contact Netflix's customer service department directly.12/2018
Holiday Puppy ScamWhat a better gift for your family this holiday season then a cute puppy in need of a home? Families should be on alert for imposters posing as breeders, tugging at your heart strings with adorable puppy photos and videos. Once you decide to make the commitment and purchase, the “breeder” requires a wire for the pet fee. They may also throw in unexpected fees, including a specific airplane crate or an expensive vet visit to include vaccinations. Once the payment has been processed, the puppy never arrives, and the breeder can no longer be contacted. 12/2018
Fake Passport and ID Card ScamIt is “safe” to assume everyone’s information has been leaked into the dark web after countless large breaches occurred this year. It takes a hacker $3 and 5 minutes to find your SSN and other Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Hackers are using this information to produce fake passports and identification cards after a quick edit to the image on your document. With the falsified documents, hackers can easily manipulate access into online accounts.12/2018
New Grandparent Cash ScamThe elderly community has been an easy target for phone scams, with fraudsters posing as family members and friends asking for gift cards and checks. Recently, people 70 and over have been tricked into sending cash in an envelope to family and friend imposters. The median cash loss for this scam is a skyrocketing $9,000. The most common ploys to phish the elderly into sending cash include someone they know being in jail or other legal trouble or a serious car accident. 12/2018
USPS Mail Scanning ScamThe U.S. Postal Service (USPS) began offering Informed Delivery in 2015 to allow residents to view scanned images of all incoming mail. ID thieves have taken advantage of this service by signing up for mail scanning in the victim’s name to hijack identities. Seven people were arrested for allegedly stealing credit cards from resident mailboxes using the Informed Delivery feature “to identify and intercept mail.” The ID thieves take out credit cards in the victim’s name using their address, and once the card is approved, they sign up for the USPS service to seize the card as it arrives to the victim’s location. Fraudsters are then accumulating $2,000 to $14,000 in credit card debt under the victim’s name without a trace.11/2018
SMS Phishing ScamHackers are modernizing their phishing methods and sending text messages with embedded malware. The SMS message may include a request from your financial institution, asking you to make a change to your account by clicking the URL link provided. They may also pose as an online store offering a limited time offer. When you sign into the account, the attackers begin collecting the personal information you enter. 11/2018
Cellphone Porting ScamCybercriminals are using your Personally Identifiable Information (PII) to contact your mobile provider, impersonating you, and informing them that your phone was stolen. They then request that your number is “ported” with another provider and device. Once the criminal has your number ported to a new device, they can gain access to accounts that require two factor authentications, or a code texted directly to your phone for security verification.11/2018
Cash App ScamScammers are approaching people on the street asking to borrow their cell phone to make a personal phone call. Once they have the victim’s phone, the scam artist pretends to dial but instead begins looking through applications, searching for Cash App or Vemno. They transfer money to their bank account using the victim’s account, fakes a conversation and closes the app before returning the device to the owner. Victims do not realize the robbery has occurred until they notice a lump sum of cash being sent to an unknown recipient. Scammers have also posted fake customer service numbers online and gather personal information and account numbers once a customer calls the number. To protect yourself, go into the app settings and scroll down to "Security" to set up a pin. This will ensure you'll be the only one to access the app. 11/2018
Spear Phishing ScamScammers are using two popular schemes in their recent fraud, spear phishing and caller ID spoofing. The scam starts call with your local bank displaying on the caller ID. The person on the other line rehearses the following script:
“I’m calling from [pick any bank]. Someone’s been using your debit card ending in 2345 at [pick any retailer]. I’ll need to verify your Social Security number — which ends in 8190, right? — and full debit card information so we can stop this unauthorized activity...”.
Fraudsters are catching victims off guard, causing them to share personal information before checking bank records.
10/2018
College Test Prep ScamCallers are posing as employees of the College Board and contacting students and families attempting to sell test preparation products or requesting sensitive personally identifying information, such as credit card and social security numbers. College Board warns the public that their employees do not participate in telemarketing and any call requesting payment and personal information is a scam.10/2018
Vehicle History Report ScamThe FTC is warning individuals selling their vehicle online to be aware of suspicious calls from interested buyers requesting vehicle history reports. The buyer suggests the seller retrieves the report from a specific website, where they input credit card information and pay a $20 fee. The websites often have an URL link that ends in “.vin,” which might fool the seller into thinking it is related to your car’s vehicle identification number or VIN. Once the seller sends the report, they never hear from the buyer again. 10/2018
Hurricane Charity ScamAfter Hurricane Florence affected the Carolinas, scammers have taken advantage of those who want to help victims of the disaster. Some websites claim to accept donations and intend to donate funds to victims and first responders, but the FTC and its state and local partners are getting reports that these websites are linked to scams.10/2018
Voter Registration Phone ScamVoter registration scams are common, especially during election season. Fraudsters claim they are reaching out to help you register to vote within your state. However, officials note that voter registration will never occur over the phone. These calls are typically attempts to capture sensitive personally identifiable information (PII) such as your name, birth date, address, Social Security number and more. If you receive a call, hang up immediately. Learn more about voter registration in all 50 states here. 10/2018
Fake Check ScamThe Better Business Bureau has warned consumers of scams involving fake checks and fraudulent bank withdrawals. Fraudsters send fake checks to victims and ultimately convince them to withdraw a portion of the full amount from their own accounts. Fake checks often work in tandem with employment- or other compensation-related scams. One victim reported that fraudsters sent her a fake check for $5,000 after she had committed to a paid advertising opportunity. The gig was simple – she was told she'd be paid to place PepsiCo advertising stickers on her car. And after sending her the check, the scammer instructed her to deposit the check into her bank account, then immediately withdraw $3,500 to pay for additional installation fees.

Unfortunately, once the check bounced, she was responsible for the $3,500 withdrawal she had sent to the fraudster. Be sure that a check has processed before withdrawing the funds from your account. Never accept checks from strangers at ATMs – especially if they have asked you to immediately withdraw funds.
09/2018
Football scamsThe Connecticut Better Business Bureau has warned consumers of scams related to the upcoming football season. Fraudsters have been reported of scamming victims through ticket, prize, apparel and web offer scams. Always check that you are shopping on a secure, verified website. Never click on offers that seem too good to be true, or messages claiming that you have won a contest. 09/2018
District Attorney Phone ScamA recent phone scam targets two highly-sensitive data points – Social Security and bank account numbers. The Montgomery County District Attorney's Office (MCDAO) has warned the public of scammers who are impersonating the office, as well as the Social Security Office, by spoofing its main phone number.

Fraudsters claim to have a warrant for the victim's arrest. The details surrounding the arrest warrant involve a vehicle tied to a 22-pound cocaine bust. The scammer reportedly asks the victim to verify his or her Social Security number, as well as bank account numbers in some instances. The MCDAO and Social Security Office will never ask for your Social Security number or bank account information over the phone. Avoid sharing highly-sensitive information such as Social Security numbers, insurance IDs, or financial account numbers over the phone.
08/2018
Jury Duty Phone ScamA series of jury duty phone scams were recently reported in LaGrange County, Indiana. Victims reported that scammers introduced themselves as a "Lt. Frank with the Department of Court Services," claiming the victim is in contempt for missed jury duty. Fraudsters then demand payment from victims for "court costs and fines" by threatening to arrest them if payment is not made. Courts will never call you directly about a jury duty hearing, nor will they ever ask you for your personal/financial information over the phone. If you receive one of these calls, please report it to the Federal Trade Commission and your local law enforcement office. 08/2018
Ticket ScamFraudsters are using this not-so-new scam to take advantage of ticket buyers online. The scammers pose as ticket sellers or resellers to trick victims into overpaying for tickets, or to purchase fake tickets altogether. The BBB reported over 300 ticket scam complaints in 2017. Be sure that you are purchasing tickets from an individual or company you trust. 08/2018
Moving ScamA Florida couple recently reported Flagship Van Lines moving company for a potential nationwide scam. Fraudsters reportedly posed as a legitimate moving company, promising to deliver victims' belongings to their new destinations. However, scammers would often take thousands of dollars in payment for the moving services, keep their belongings and disappear. 08/2018
U.S. Marshals Service ScamThe U.S. Marshals have warned consumers to report U.S. Marshals phone scams to the Federal Trade Commission. Fraudsters pose at U.S. Marshals, court officers or other law enforcement officials to scam victims out of money. U.S. Marshals will never ask for payment information, wire transfers or other financial information at any time. You can report U.S. Marshals phone scams to the FTC here. 07/2018
Fake FDA Warning Letter ScamThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned consumers of fake letters that appear to be sent from the FDA or the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Security experts believe that these fake letters – citing that the victim has been caught illegally purchasing drug products online – are part of a larger international extortion scam. The FDA states that while it does send warning letters to illegal pharmacies and other companies that are involved with manufacturing drug products, letters are typically never sent to buyers. If you receive one of these letters, the FDA urges you to report the letter to FDAInternetPharmacyTaskForce-CDER@fda.hhs.gov.07/2018
Transporting Business ScamThe Idaho Secretary of State and Department of Transportation has confirmed the fraudulent company is no longer in business.
This car transportation service scam has reportedly swindled victims out of their money by posing as online car sellers. Fraudsters convince purchasers to send funds for payment via wire transfer before the car is delivered. Victims are ensured that the funds will stay in an escrow account until the car has been delivered. Victims never receive the car, and fraudsters take off with the wire transferred payment. One victim reported $11,600 lost to this scam.
07/2018
Real Estate ScamReal estate scams are nothing new. This time, fraudsters are stealing existing property information to swindle victims out of their money by requesting fake down payments. Scammers pair existing properties stolen from other sites and databases with their own contact information so that victims believe the listing is legitimate. If you are browsing houses for sale online, be sure that you are using a secure site and that the contact information for the property matches on multiple pages.06/2018
Apple Support ScamFraudsters are targeting Apple users in this new phone impersonator scam. Victims receive a call that appears to be from an Apple Support Center, with some reporting multiple calls from the same number. Fraudsters use these scams to capture a variety of sensitive information – from Apple IDs and passwords, to birth dates and Social Security numbers. Another variation of this scam convinces victims to buy anti-virus software and download it to their device. Apple Support will never call you unless you have first reached out to them. If you receive this call, hang up the phone immediately and report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).05/2018
Bitcoin Letter ScamA new mail scam has been reported across the United States in the form of a threatening letter. Victims receive a letter that states the sender "knows a secret you are keeping from your wife." Fraudsters request payment via Bitcoin to keep the secret safe, with some letters demanding up to $8,900. If you receive one of these letters, throw it away immediately and report it to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.05/2018
Uber Driver ScamUber drivers are paid by linking a bank account to their Uber account to receive payment from their rides. Scammers are impersonating as Uber representatives to gain access of drivers' accounts. If drivers allow access to their account, scammers work quickly to change the bank account information to their own and receive payment when the fares are deposited into the account. As a rule of thumb, avoid sharing any online account login credentials with others. 04/2018
Medicare Card ScamFraudsters are targeting Medicare recipients in this new phone scam. Medicare began issuing new insurance cards to its estimated 58 million recipients this month. This effort removes personally identifiable information (PII) from the physical cards to decrease the chances of identity theft. Historically, Medicare cards displayed a recipient's Social Security number as the insurance "claim number." Now, this claim number is a unique ID number not connected to the recipient's identity in any way. The premise behind this scam plays on a victim's fear of losing health insurance. One victim noted that the scammer she encountered "threatened to revoke their health insurance. Fraudsters pose as Medicare representatives via phone to capture personal and financial information – specifically unique card ID numbers, Social Security numbers and financial account information. Medicare has informed recipients via Twitter that no further information is needed to receive the card so long as your address is up-to-date. If you receive a call requesting your Medicare information, hang up the phone immediately and report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). 04/2018

2017 Scams

NameSummaryDate
Southwest Airline ScamThis classic "sweepstakes scam" claims that winners have received two free airline tickets via Facebook. The scam prompts victims to share the post and fill out "Reward Offer" forms and surveys to give criminals personal and payment card information. Victims can be signed up for paid services that they are unaware of or their information could be stolen and misused. By sharing the post, victims are unknowingly spreading the scam to their friends and family. If you come across this scam, avoid clicking anywhere on the post and report it to Facebook immediately. 2017/07
"Can You Hear Me Now?" Phone ScamThe Better Business Bureau (BBB) in Nebraska, South Dakota, The Kansas Plains and Southwest Iowa areas have put out an alert regarding a new phone scam that is particularly targeting businesses. Scammers use the popular “can you hear me now?” phrase to urge victims to reply “yes.” The victim’s response is recorded and used to carry out other business fraud schemes (i.e. approving transactions, sensitive data transfer, etc.). The BBB also noted that this scam has targeted consumers in the past, posing as cruise lines, Social Security or home security agencies. Authorities are advising those who receive this call to hang up immediately and report the call to the police.2017/01
Netflix Email ScamNetflix users have been targets of a recent email phishing scam. These fraudulent emails appeared to come from Netflix as they were “hosted on legitimate, but compromised servers,” and urged users to “update” their account information – including payment card data and Social Security numbers.2017/01

2016 Scams

NameSummaryDate
Threatening Message ScamThis not-so-new scam is executed via phone calls and text messages. So far, several have reported receiving these calls or messages in the Baltimore County area. Scammers either send threatening messages (hire-to-kill ploys) or make phone calls to victims impersonating police officers. Typically, scammers that impersonate the police work under the guise that the victim failed to appear in court or that there is a warrant out for his or her arrest. Authorities warn anyone who receives these messages or calls not to interact with them in any way and be sure to delete them.2016/12
Microsoft Tech Support ScamA new tech support scam exploits a Microsoft vulnerability that allows criminals to disrupt websites from running correctly. A fake Microsoft security warning appears, and it urges the user to call the tech support number provided. Once the user calls the number, scammers attempt to charge hundreds of dollars for their fraudulent services.2016/11
Payment Card SkimmersCredit card skimmers, devices secretly placed on ATMs and payment terminals, have become one of the most common ways criminals obtain payment card data. Always analyze terminals before using — checking for signs of tampering, detached pieces, exposed/unsecure wiring, or anything out-of-the-ordinary (like this suspicious gas pump.) Opt to dip chip-embedded cards when possible, rather than swiping their magnetic strip, as this method is far more secure.2016/06
Psychic ScamFederal prosecutors have successfully shut down an international psychic scam that stole more than $180 million from Americans. Two alleged psychics in France sent personalized letters claiming they could boost people’s chances of winning the lottery or inheriting money. The letters urged the victims to buy various products, like the psychics’ book, to ensure the fortune would come true. More than one million consumers fell for the scam.2016/05
Notice of Potential Compliance Violation ScamBusinesses have received postcard solicitations via mail claiming to be from the Business Compliance Division (a fake company). The postcards urge owners to contact them regarding compliance violations. The 1-888-803-7922 number connects callers with a representative who seeks a credit card payment to comply with “commonwealth regulations governing new enterprises.”2016/04
TurboTax Phishing ScamA phishing email impersonating TurboTax is targeting taxpayers. The scam email instructs users to click on a link to "opt out" of sharing personal information with others. Once clicked, key logging malware is discretely installed on the user’s device. This malware records every keystroke an individual makes, allowing hackers to remotely steal personal, financial or online account data.2016/04
Dell Tech Support ScamsScammers are contacting Dell customers by phone, claiming to be from Tech Support. These criminals may know your name and even your Dell product number — adding legitimacy to the scheme. They will request access to your device in order to resolve a technical problem; however, they will use this access to either siphon your personal information or hold your computer for ransom. Dell (and other tech companies) will never contact you by phone you regarding technical issues.2016/03
March Madness TicketsThe buzz surrounding college basketball has made an ideal environment for scammers to strike. Fake websites and scam peer-to-peer sales are popping up left and right. Always buy event tickets from reputable sources via their secure website (one that includes “HTTPS” in the URL). Never wire money or provide someone with your bank account information to complete a purchase.2016/03
IRS Phishing ScamCybercriminals are impersonating the IRS by sending consumers emails regarding their tax returns. Most emails instruct recipients to click on a link to view their return. The links lead to fake websites that will prompt you for personal information or will infect your device with malware. Never click on links within an email and always look out for the red flags of a phishing email.2016/02
Check Scam Targeting CharitiesA fake check overpayment scam is targeting charities nationwide. An individual using the name “Kenneth McFarlane” sends a 5-figure check to charities as a donation, but quickly informs them he needs $10,000 returned for a medical emergency. He hopes the charities send the money back quickly, before their bank realizes the original check is fake. If the charity returns a portion of the money, they will be liable once the 5-figure check bounces.2016/02
Impostor Tax PreparersMany choose to have their taxes prepared by a professional; however, scammers can easily impersonate these individuals to get their hands on your refund and your personal information. Only use preparers who sign the returns they prepare and enter their IRS Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTINs). Always read third-party reviews before selecting a tax preparer.2016/02
IRS ScamsWith tax season upon us, scammers have taken it upon themselves to make this time of year just a little more hectic. Consumers are being barraged with scam phone calls allegedly from the IRS. The caller claims the victim owes money to the government and threatens legal action if the victim does not comply with their demands. Demands typically entail handing over personal information or making a payment over the phone. Remember, the IRS will never contact you by phone. If you receive a call like this, hang up immediately and inform the following entities:

Treasury Inspector General and click on “Imposter Scams” to the right.

IRS—If you think you may own money to the IRS, visit www.IRS.gov/Payments/Finding-Out-How-Much-You-Owe.
2016/02
Fake Southwest Facebook GiveawayFor some reason, scammers love impersonating Southwest Airlines on Facebook. Rogue accounts with slight variations of their name are offering users the chance to win free flights if they like and share their page. The end goal of these fake giveaways is to get you to click on a link to claim your prize, which actually sends you to a website that generates per-visit revenue for the scammer or prompts you for your personal or financial information. Southwest has publically acknowledged these fake giveaways and urges consumers not to participate.2016/02
Blank ATM Card ScamSpammers are hitting online forums and comment sections with a scam claiming to offer readers a “Blank ATM card” that discretely withdraws free money. In some instances, the poster calls herself Natasha and gives an alleged first-hand account of the service. Readers are urged to email the supposed creator to receive one. Do not email this user or attempt to learn more about this scheme — it is a scam. Replying could jeopardize your personal or financial information. 2016/01
NFL Playoff Ticket ScamAs NFL playoffs begin, tickets are at all-time high demand. Only purchase football tickets through authorized retailers and thoroughly read the return policy before purchasing. Always avoid scalpers, as there is no system of checks and balances — allowing fraud to run rampant.2016/01
Citibank Telephone ScamConsumers have received phone calls from scammers claiming to be from Citibank. Victims are urged to contact the scammers regarding suspicious activity on their Citibank account. Calls are widely distributed and many individuals receiving these calls are not even Citibank customers. Do not provide any personal or account information to these scammers; they may use it to commit identity crimes.2016/01
Sweepstakes ScamConsumers report receiving phone calls from scammers impersonating Publishers Clearing House. Actual winners of the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes do not receive phone calls about their prizes and will never have to send money in order to receive their prize. If you hear otherwise, it’s a scam.2016/01
Car Advertising Decal ScamScammers recruit drivers to act as mobile billboards by getting their car “wrapped” in an advertisement. However, this job is just a front for a check fraud scam. The thief will send you a check, tell you to keep a portion and instruct you to send the rest to a designer to get the decal made. However, the “designer” is really in on the scam and after you send them the money, the check will bounce and you will be responsible for the withdrawn funds.2016/01
Powerball Scamhttp://www.tristatehomepage.com/news/local-news/kentucky-attorney-general-warns-of-sweepstakes-scam 2016/01

2015 Scams

NameSummaryDate
Jury Duty ScamConsumers have reported receiving threatening phone calls claiming to be from the U.S. Marshals Office. The caller states the individual missed grand jury duty and will need to pay a fine to avoid prosecution. The “fine” typically ranges from $500 to $950 and is often requested via PayPal. Some states have also reported an email version of this scam.2015/12
Frozen Bank Account ScamAn imposter, claiming to be from your financial institution, contacts you by phone and informs you that your account has been locked due to suspicious activity. They will ask for personally identifiable information (PII), such as your Social Security number or PIN, to resolve the issue. This PII will later be used to commit identity theft or fraud.2015/12
Health Inspector ScamAutomated phone calls that falsely claim to be from the state health inspectors’ office have been reported. Scammers attempt to schedule an inspection with restaurant owners; however, such meetings are rarely scheduled in advanced and never use an automated system. Be suspicious of calls claiming to be from these and other local officials.2015/11
Secret Sister Facebook ScamA pyramid scheme operating as a gift exchange is making its way around Facebook. Users post advertisements for the Secret Sister Gift Exchange and encourage their friends to follow the directions provided, which includes sending the original poster money and inviting more friends to join the exchange. This is a run-of-the-mill pyramid scheme, and mathematically it’s impossible to sustain.2015/11
Home Refinancing ScamScammers capitalize on forecasts of rising interest rates with a new refinancing scam. They create fake companies advertising “guaranteed” rates with a special government program. These fake programs require an upfront fee, use high-pressure sales tactics and instruct you to stop paying your current mortgage lender. If you fall for this scam, you will not only lose the upfront fee but you may default on your mortgage payments.2015/10
Student Loan ScamThe FBI is investigating a phone scam that threatens current and former students with legal action, including arrest, if they do not pay their student loans immediately. Scammers may mention a fictitious unpaid parking ticket or a history of late payments to add perceived legitimacy to their request.2015/10
Wells Fargo Text Message ScamA number of consumers have reportedly received phishing texts (smishing) claiming to be from the Wells Fargo Bank Security Department. The fake texts urge recipients to contact Wells Fargo Security and verify their identity by providing personal information. This information can be used to commit identity crimes against Wells Fargo customers.2015/09
E-ZPass Phishing ScamAAA Mid-Atlantic is warning Maryland, Virginia and DC drivers of a sophisticated phishing email targeting an estimated 2.1 million E-ZPass users. The fake email is titled “Notice to Appear” and claims users have unpaid tolls on their account. These alleged fees are bogus and the links provided in the email may take you to malware-infested websites.2015/08
Tinder ScamScammers are flocking to the popular dating app Tinder to lure new victims. Users have reported experiencing a variety of scams including romance scams, unsolicited sales attempts, and malicious links or app downloads. Be cautious of anyone who replies instantaneously, is eager to change the form of communication (typically to text messages) and has unusual responses or doesn’t seem to listen to you — these could be signs they are a robot or are auto-sending messages to perpetrate their scam.2015/08
Student Housing Rental ScamsCollege students are being targeted as they return to campus for the fall. Shady landlords and fake online housing rentals ads are hoping to get the attention of cash-strapped students. Always view prospective properties in person and ask for proof of property ownership from the landlord. Take detailed pictures of the property before moving in should you need to dispute damages in the future and obtain a signed copy of your lease.2015/08
Card Cracking ScamA scammer convinces you to provide them with your debit card, PIN number or online banking credentials so they can deposit a fake check in your account. Once deposited, they will withdraw the money from an ATM before the bank realizes it's counterfeit and you’ll receive a kickback for your aid. Scammers typically recruit money-strapped college students using social media for this scam. Both the scammer and account holder’s involvement is punishable by law.2015/07
Gmail Text Verification ScamHackers infiltrate your Gmail account using just your email address and phone number. First, they request a new Gmail password using your email address. Once requested, the scammer sends you a phishing text asking you to reply with the verification code from Google. The scammer then uses that verification code to reset your password and access your email.2015/06
Photographer "Bad Review" ScamScammers are extorting small businesses, particularly freelance photographers, with threats of posting negative reviews online. The photographer is contacted via his/her personal website and told straight out that this scammer wishes to ruin the business by publishing poor reviews. Shortly after this communication, a “reputation management company” offers its services to the photographer by email. Do not respond to either of these emails. The scammers will post these poor reviews whether you pay or not. Keep a record of suspicious emails and a thorough client list, as these may aid in disproving a fake review or Ripoff Report.2015/06
Affordable Housing ScamFraudsters have created look-a-like Affordable Housing/Section 8 websites to defraud applicants. Applicants are offered a spot on the voucher waiting list for a fee; however, it is not a legitimate waitlist and your financial and personal data will likely be misused if you apply. Other fake sites list Section 8 rental properties and claim the first month’s rent must be paid via wire transfer or a prepaid card. It will be unlikely that you can recover your funds if you fall for this scam. Use the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s directoryto ensure a program’s legitimacy.2015/06
Summer Vacation Rental ScamsRenters should be on high alert for scams as the summer vacation season approaches. Individuals should practice due diligence when searching for properties online. Only visit reputable vacation rental websites and never wire money or send a cashier’s check to a potential landlord.2015/05
Coin Collector ScamHobbyists should be wary when purchasing rare coins online or over the phone. Scammers may misrepresent coins, and more skilled fraudsters can even produce counterfeit versions. Conduct research before purchasing, only buy from reputable merchants and run the other way when faced with high-pressure sales tactics.2015/05
Technical Support ScamScammers impersonate technical support associates from major companies (Dell, Microsoft etc.) in an attempt to hack your device. You will receive a completely unwarranted phone call instructing you that your device has a cybersecurity threat of some kind, and it needs to be addressed immediately. You will be provided step-by-step instructions to resolve it. Do not follow these instructions; these instructions will give the scammers access to your computer so they can exploit the personal data it stores for financial gain.2015/05
Wordpress Advertising ScamAn old Wordpress phishing scam has resurface and is targeting bloggers in droves. The phishing message is sent through Wordpress and claims to be from “Josephine Bergson of LLT Consulting.” The scammer will offer you up to $950.00 per month to place ads on your site, and provides a link to view design examples. This link will initiate the download of a malicious Java Applet. Do not click on this link or download the applet, it contains malware that could infect your device. If you experience this scam, delete the message immediately.2015/04
Fraudulent Government WebsitesA public service announcement has been released, warning consumers and website owners of politically charged website defacements in association with the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS). A Wordpress vulnerability is allowing those who associate themselves with the group to hack into websites and deface them with offensive material. Israeli and Jewish websites may be primarily targeted. The bulk of these attacks are expected during the Holocaust Remembrance Day (April 15-16).2015/04
Widower ScamScammers are using obituaries to identify ideal victims in a variety of scams. Common scams include contacting the deceased’s spouse claiming to know of an unclaimed insurance policy or asset; however, unmade payments or a finder’s fee are required before you can receive the money. Thieves also look for dates and times of funeral services, figuring it will be an ideal time to break-in.2015/03
911 ScamScam phone calls, appearing to come from 911, have been targeting Ohio residents. The scammers behind this have spoofed their phone numbers to show 911 on the caller ID. They then inquire about unpaid debts and personal and financial information. Consumers who receive such a call should hang up immediately and report the incident to the Ohio attorney general's office at 1-800-282-0515. 2015/03
Census Bureau Survey ScamScammers are posing as the U.S. Census Bureau and distributing fake American Community Survey (ACS) notifications through the mail. These surveys direct consumers to complete a spoofed, online version of the survey. ACS is a legitimate survey conducted by the Census Bureau to better understand how federal and state spending is distributed. You should be able to distinguish the real survey from a scam by degree of personal information asked. The fake survey asks prying questions such as, “How much money is in your bank account?” “When do you leave for work?” and “What time do you get home?” Some victims have even reported receiving threatening phone calls regarding the survey. Contact local law enforcement immediately if you are being targeted by this scam.2015/03
China Bank Switch ScamThis scam targets U.S. businesses that use overseas suppliers, primarily in China. Hackers will infiltrate the suppliers’ network, which has been proving easy due to the poor cyber security measures typically implemented in Chinese organizations. The hackers then email overseas clients indicating that there is an outstanding invoice and payment must be sent to a different bank account and/or different location. Another red flag of this scam: the company name associated with the bank account may be slightly different then the one you do business with. Once a payment has been made to the scammers, it’s almost impossible to recoup.2015/03
Massive Credit Card RingA six-figure credit card fraud ring has hit North Carolina. Fraudsters are replicating credit cards using legitimate card numbers; allowing fraudulent transactions to be made on a victim’s account without their knowledge. It is believed that card numbers were obtained from a processing center and the new, fraudulent credit cards were manufactured overseas. Consumers are being urged to check their bank statements for unusual activity.2015/02
“Kids Live Safe” Alert ScamScam emails targeting parents have been circulating with the headline “Alert: There is a Child-Predator Living Near You!” The email claims to be a notification from Kids Live Safe, stating that “a registered-child-offender has just moved into your area” though recipients never signed up for such services. Do not click on any links — this is a phishing scam that will infect your computer with malware.2015/01
Tax Preparer ScamIf you’re among the 60% of consumers who will use a professional tax preparer this tax season, be sure to verify their legitimacy first. There are numerous scammers impersonating tax professionals. Some phony preparers will file unauthorized returns and collect all or part of the refund, while others tack on inflated personal expenses and fake deductions that the IRS can hold you liable for. Be sure to read the IRS' advice on choosing a tax professional.2015/01
IRS ScamCon artists have begun impersonating IRS officials and demanding individuals make payments towards fictitious unpaid taxes. Victims are contacted by phone and instructed to make payments immediately using a wire transfer or prepaid debit card. These fraudsters often make outlandish threats, such as claiming you’ll be arrested or lose your driver’s license. They will typically provide fake badge numbers, call from spoofed IRS hotlines and may sometimes recite the last four digits of your SSN. Remain calm if faced with this situation and contact local law enforcement immediately.2015/01
Fake FBI WarningVictims’ computers become locked with a pop-up message claiming to be from the FBI or another government agency. The message informs them that they have violated a federal law and must pay a fine to restore their computer. The cybercriminals threaten that not paying will result in, legal action against the victim. These emails target individuals, businesses, financial and educational institutions and government agencies.2015/01
Weight-loss ScamsThe AARP has sent out a fraud alert regarding scammers preying on consumers’ health-conscious New Year’s resolutions with weight-loss scams. You may notice online ads for “effortless” weight loss pills — products and services that seem too good to be true. They use slogans like “just take a pill,” “never diet again” or “lose 30 lbs. in 30 days!” Don’t buy in! Many of these products are bogus or these ads are baiting you to click links leading to malware-infested sites. Research products from a variety of trusted sources before purchasing and avoid clicking directly on any ads.2015/01
Website Domain ScamThere is a new email scam targeting website domain owners. Fraudsters send out phishing emails claiming that the recipients’ website domain needs to be renewed immediately to prevent impending cancelation. Do not click on any links in these emails and contact your domain provider by phone if you are concerned about the legitimacy of this threat.2015/01
Business-focused Wire Transfer ScamA sophisticated scam is circulating around the business community and has already swindled approximately $180 million from U.S. victims. The scam takes one of three different approaches: a business that has a longstanding relationship with a supplier is asked (via phone, email or fax) to wire funds to an alternative, fraudulent account; the email accounts of executives are compromised and employees are instructed via email to make a wire transfer to a fraudulent account; or an employee has their email hacked and receives phony invoices directing payments be made to the fraudsters’ accounts.2015/01

2014 Scams

NameSummaryDate
Fake Order Confirmation EmailsA new strain of seasonal phishing emails is instructing people to confirm online orders placed with major retailers including Target, Walmart, Home Depot and Costco. The emails look professional but many include some spelling error or grammatical errors. Do not click on any links as they lead to malicious websites. 2014/12
Letters from Santa ScamThe BBB is warning of a variety of Santa Letter scams hitting the web. Thieves set up websites and send emails advertising handwritten letters from Santa. Typically, scammers claim they will send your child a letter from Santa accompanied with a “Good List Certificate.” They then steal the personal and credit card information that was entered upon ordering. Stay vigilant for phishing emails and be cautious when shopping online to ensure that the website you are ordering from is in good standing with the BBB and is PCI-compliant (meaning they follow required guidelines for handling payment cards).2014/12
Veterans' Day ScamThe BBB sent out a military and charity scam alert advising consumers and veterans to watch for fraudsters this Veterans' Day. Common tactics targeting veterans include posing as the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs and sending phishing emails, offering “instant approval” military loans and posing as government contractors recruiting veterans for a job. Charity scams use high pressure, emotional sales pitches to convince you to donate money. Don’t provide them any information without verifying their legitimacy first using Give.org, Guidestar.org or CharityNavigator.org. Fake charities will commonly impersonate legitimate ones, so conduct a thorough investigation before making a contribution. For more information, click here.2014/11
Free Credit Score ScamOn November 19, the FTC stopped three different credit score monitoring companies who used the same online scheme to misrepresent and defraud customers. These sites would advertise “free” credit monitoring services through Google Ads to lure people into unknowingly signing up for a reoccurring $29.99 service fee. All three companies have agreed to pay $22 million in consumer refunds as part of an FTC settlement deal. The fraudulent online sites included FreeScore360.com, FreeScoreOnline.com and ScoreSense.com. 2014/11
Swatting ScamFraudsters have been using fright tactics to manipulate businesses and emergency services into dispatching resources to combat false reports of critical incidents. These incidents can include bomb threats and hostage situations. Recently, a Pennsylvania man was sentenced to 18 months in prison for falsely reporting a bomb threat to a local mall. Court documents state that the mall paid for increased security after the threat was made. It is believed his actions where fueled by extremist views. In another incidence, a 16-year-old in Canada was arrested for making thirty fraudulent emergency calls that led to more than sixty criminal charges. Contact emergency services immediately if you receive a tip of a critical incident. 2014/10
Ebola ScamThere has been a surge of Ebola-related scams targeting investors, consumers and philanthropists. The BBB warns of fake charities set up for ill nurses while the FDA goes after companies claiming to have a cure. The FDA states there is no known cure or vaccine for Ebola.2014/10
Robocalling ScamA number of medical alert companies have been using prerecorded telephone messages, known as "robocalling" to mass-telemarket their not-so-free, “free” products.2014/10
IRS ScamThe Treasury Inspector General for Taxpayer Administration has warned consumers that crooks posing as IRS officials are contacting individuals claiming they owe taxes. The scam caller demands payment over the phone via debit card, wire transfer or a credit card, threatening to arrest, deport or take away a driver's license or business. 2014/09
E-ZPass Phishing ScamPhony emails that mimic the E-ZPass logo and template are targeting E-ZPass customers, prompting them to download an “invoice” claiming they have unpaid toll charges. The actual E-ZPass company warns users never to provide sensitive information via email as they will not request it that way.2014/08
T-Mobile Phone Bill ScamThe Federal Trade Commission (FTC) claims T-Mobile permitted erroneous charges to be applied to their customers’ phone bills. Additionally, the FTC indicates T-Mobile has refused to refund some customers. 2014/07
Facebook Post Scam: Flight M370 Found!The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in March gave cybercriminals a new hook. This an example of how scammers exploit media events to lure people into clicking on malicious links and sharing or liking posts, which ultimately puts money in cybercriminals' pockets.2014/07
Foreign Lottery ScamYou receive a letter declaring you won a foreign lottery. The letter also includes a check for some of the winnings. All you have to do is deposit the check and wire them the required non-resident taxes to receive your full winnings.2014/05
Jury Duty Phone ScamA scammer calls you claiming you skipped out on Jury Duty and threatens legal action. However, they say you can avoid jail time by paying a fine using a credit card or a prepaid debit card over the phone. 2014/05
Netflix ScamCrooks are sending out emails stating your Netflix account has been suspended. You are directed to call an 800-number to clear the matter up. On the other end of the line is where the scam artist is waiting to get all your personal information acting as a Netflix tech agent.2014/05
PayPal ScamPayPal scams typically alert consumers to urgent matters or inexplicably decline transactions. Never respond or interact with a PayPal email that seems out of the ordinary and does not address you by name.2014/05
NetFlix ScamCrooks are sending out emails stating your NETFLIX account has been suspended. You are directed to call an 800 number to clear the matter up. On the other end of the line is where the scam artist is waiting to get all your personal information acting as a NETFLIX tech agent.2014/04
IRS Email ScamCrooks are contacting individuals posing as IRS officials claiming they owe unpaid taxes. The caller demands payment via debit card, wire transfer or a credit card number. If the individual does not comply, the caller threatens the individual with an arrest, deportation or to take away a driver’s license or a victim’s business.2014/04
M370 Facebook Phishing ScamA post is circulating around Facebook claiming to show video of the missing Flight M370. Once the post is shared, the video of the rescue is supposed to become accessible to the reader of the post. The video is never seen and the post goes on to ask for more of your information. Cybercriminals get paid for the number of times this post is shared or liked.2014/04
Message from Your Attorney ScamYou receive an email, supposedly from you neighbor, informing you that your attorney stopped by and left an important message for you. The neighbor includes an attachment titled “PleaseCallMeBackASAP.zip” in the email. This attachment is actually a Trojan Horse virus that will infect your device if you click to open the file.2014/04
Message from Your Attorney ScamThe theme of this communication is that your attorney stopped by your neighbors and left you a message. The neighbor was kind enough to scan the note into an email along with an attachment that your attorney needs you to open. 2014/04
ATM ScamSymantec provides a helpful video demonstrating how scammers infiltrate ATM machines by sending an SMS message to an ATM to have money spill out of the machine. 2014/03
Jury Duty Phone ScamIn this particular New Jersey county the scammers are posing as sheriff’s office employees and calling individuals to accuse them of missing jury duty. They then explain to their victims that they can avoid arrest by providing a credit card number or prepaid debit card to pay a fine and have the warrant lifted.2014/03
Foreign Lottery ScamThose being targeted receive a letter stating they have won a foreign lottery. A check for some of the winnings is included. Further instructions indicate that all the recipient has to do is deposit the check and wire the scammer the required non-resident taxes to receive the full winnings.2014/03
PayPal ScamPayPal scams abound across the Internet. These scams are popular within the cyber criminal community. They usually come in the form of an alert stating your PayPal transaction was declined.2014/02