It seems like every time you turn on the TV or read something online, someone’s being scammed.  It’s really hard to know how to protect yourself these days.

We care about your personal, financial and online safety so it’s a great time for all of us to focus on the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) National Consumer Protection Week coming up in early March.  Every year, the FTC launches an information campaign to help all of us learn how to better protect ourselves from con artists and scammers. This year the campaign is March 4 through March 10.

Right now is a great time to learn more about your rights as a consumer and how to avoid scams. The more we know, the better we can protect ourselves. Here are several key ways to protect yourself from being taken advantage of:

  1. Scammers often pretend to be connected to companies you already do business with. Never send money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected request from a text, phone call, letter or an email.
  2. Do some quick research. If you aren’t sure about a situation, type a company or product name into your favorite search engine along with words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.” Or search for a phrase that describes your situation, like “IRS call.” You can even search for specific phone numbers to see if other people have reported them as scams. You can learn a lot by taking five minutes to check before you respond. 
  3. Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller
    ID information, so the name and number you see on your Caller ID may not be real. If someone calls asking for money or personal information, hang up. If you think the caller might be telling the truth, call back to a number you know is genuine. Ask questions and trust your instincts.
  4. A common scam is a phone call with credit or loan offers, mortgage assistance, or even a job. The caller often says you’ve won a prize, but first you have to pay taxes or fees. Don’t participate! If a situation sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

To register a complaint or get more information, call the Federal Trade Commission at 1.877.FTC.HELP (1.877.382.4357) or visit http://consumer.ftc.gov.  We want to help you protect yourself.  Stay safe!