Have you been contacted by someone claiming to be from a government agency who says you’ve won a cash prize? Has someone claiming to be a federal government employee called and threatened you with jail time or a lawsuit if you don’t pay a debt? If so, there’s a good chance it’s a scam. Criminals and con artists use scams to target unsuspecting people who have access to money. Scams can target you on the phone, through the mail, on the internet, and especially over email. They can also take place in person, at home, or at a business.
Scammers may pretend to be government officials to get you to send money with the promise of an even larger prize. Don’t fall for it. Federal government agencies and federal employees will not ask you to send money to collect prizes.
Other scammers may falsely claim you owe a debt to the federal government and may threaten you with jail time if you don’t pay them. This could be a scam, but it could also be a call from a debt collector using practices that violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Make sure you investigate any alleged debt to find out if it’s legitimate.
Here are several types of scams you may encounter, as well as ways to protect yourself and others from fraud and scams.
Someone claiming to be a federal government employee may call to tell you that you’ve won a prize through a lottery or sweepstakes. They may even say that they’re calling from the nonexistent “Consumer Protection Bureau.” This is not us. We are the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB. Some scammers may claim to be with the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Bureau of Consumer Protection. Others may claim to work for the CFPB or FTC, but neither of these agencies calls consumers to alert them of winning a lottery or sweepstakes.
If this happens to you:
In addition to phone calls, scammers may also send you letters in the mail claiming that they are with a law firm or federal government agency like the Federal Trade Commission or the IRS. They may threaten to arrest you or file a lawsuit against you if you don’t pay the debt they claim you owe. If this happens to you:
This article by was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.