How can I protect myself and others I care about from fraud and scams?

There are several steps you can take.

Criminals and con artists use many scams to target unsuspecting people who have access to money. Consumer scams happen on the phone, through the mail, e-mail, or over the internet. They can occur in person, at home, or at a business.

Here are some tips to protect yourself from scams:

  • Don’t share numbers or passwords for accounts, credit cards, or
    Social Security.
  • Never pay up front for a promised prize. It’s a scam if you are told that you must pay fees or taxes to receive a prize or other financial windfall.
  • After hearing a sales pitch, take time to compare prices. Ask for information in writing and read it carefully.
  • Too good to be true? Ask yourself why someone is trying so hard to give you a “great deal. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Watch out for deals that are only “good today” and that pressure you to act quickly. Walk away from high-pressure sales tactics that don’t allow you time to read a contract or get legal advice before signing. Also, don’t fall for the sales pitch that says you need to pay immediately, for example by wiring the money or sending it by courier.
  • Put your number on the National Do Not Call Registry. Go to www.donotcall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222.
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The content on this page provides general consumer information. It is not legal advice or regulatory guidance. The CFPB updates this information periodically. This information may include links or references to third-party resources or content. We do not endorse the third-party or guarantee the accuracy of this third-party information. There may be other resources that also serve your needs.

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