Scam Protection Information and Services
Ensure that you and your family are protected from scammers working to confuse, mislead, or steal your personal and financial information. Below are some resources on the most common scams being used today and what you can do to protect yourself.
As always if you have any questions you can reach out to on of my three offices for help. Please also subscribe to Rep. Jacobs newsletter and follow him on Twitter and Facebook to ensure you have the most updated information.
FTC Consumer Response Center:
FTC Identity Theft Hotline:
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is a non-investigative federal agency that collects information about ongoing scams to share with law enforcement.
FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center:
To report internet fraud, file a complaint, or read the latest warnings.
U.S. Postal Inspection Service:
To report ID theft that involves the U.S. mail.
U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Admin. on Aging:
For information on elder services and assistance in your area.
Social Security Administration Fraud Hotline:
To report theft or fraudulent use of your Social Security Number.
Office of the New York Attorney General - Consumer Protection Division:
COVID-19 SCAMS: Scammers are taking advantage of people’s fear and the unknowns surrounding COVID-19. Follow these guidelines to stay safe and protect your information.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF:
- Learn how to tell the difference between a real contact tracer and a scammer. Legitimate tracers need health information, not money or personal financial information.
- Ignore offers for vaccinations and miracle treatments or cures. Scammers are selling products to treat or prevent COVID-19 without proof that they work.
- Be wary of ads for test kits. Most test kits being advertised have not been approved by the FDA, and aren’t necessarily accurate.
- Hang up on robocalls. Scammers are using illegal robocalls to pitch everything from low-priced health insurance to work-at-home schemes.
- Watch for emails claiming to be from the CDC or WHO. Use sites like ccoronavirus.gov and usa.gov/coronavirus to get the latest information. And don’t click on links from sources you don’t know.
- Do your homework when it comes to donations. Never donate in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money.
MEDICARE SCAMS: This is one of the many scams involving someone pretending to represent a government agency, a business or a loved one in your family in a convincing way to steal your money. The Medicare scam involves a caller pretending to work for Medicare. The caller says they need to verify your bank account number to continue or to provide additional benefits, to deposit funds into your account, or to send you a new Medicare or prescription card. As with ALL of the scams listed below, it might sound convincing, and they will say it is an urgent matter. The truth is that it is a scam to steal your money and your identity. Note that Medicare will never call you and ask for your bank account information.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF:
Keep your personal information safe. Don’t give your information out over the phone, the internet, or to anyone who comes to your home (or calls you) uninvited. Give personal information only to doctors or other Medicare-approved providers. To see if a provider is Medicare approved, call 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227).
THE GRANDPARENT SCAM: In this scam, the caller will often begin by saying something along the lines of: “Hi Grandma/ Grandpa, do you know who this is?” When the unsuspecting grandparent guesses the name of a grandchild the scammer most sounds like, the scammer has established a fake identity because the victim gave them the information. The scammer will then usually ask for money to solve some unexpected financial problem (overdue rent, car repairs, bail money, a lost wallet or purse, or an accident). They often beg that you “please don’t tell my parents, or go to the authorities.” The scammer usually asks to be paid via Western Union, MoneyGram, or by reading the numbers off the back of gift cards they ask you to purchase at a local store.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF:
Never offer information to the caller. If they prompt you with a question like, “Do you know who this is?” simply say no and have them tell you their name. Ask the caller personal questions that your real grandchild could answer but an impostor could not. After you hang up, verify the story by calling the parents or other relatives of the “grandchild.” Never wire money, buy gift cards, or share personal/bank account information or credit card numbers with someone under uncertain conditions.
THE FAKE ACCIDENT SCAM: Similar to the grandparent scam, a con artist calls and claims that your grandchild, child, or another relative is in the hospital and needs money immediately.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF: Treat this scam the same as you would the grandparent scam—never offer information to the caller. After you hang up, verify the story by calling other relatives. Never wire money, buy gift cards, or share personal or financial information or credit card numbers with someone under uncertain conditions.
CHARITY SCAMS: In this scheme, donations are solicited for fake charities—often after major natural disasters. Scammers succeed by tugging at your heart strings and taking advantage of your desire to help those in need.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF: Never make donations over the phone, no matter how nicely the caller may ask or how tempting the reward. No charity will run a phone-only fundraiser, so ask the caller to send you more information. If it’s a legitimate organization, this won’t be a problem.
IRS PHONE SCAM: Phone calls from criminals impersonating IRS agents remain an ongoing threat to all taxpayers. Scam artists call and threaten taxpayers with arrest, deportation and license revocation, among other things if they don’t provide them payment over the phone.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF: The IRS, or any other federal agency, will never call to demand payment over the phone. If they do, hang up and call the IRS Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration Hotline Number: 1-800-589-3718. The IRS will also never call you to discuss a tax situation or ask for personal information without first having mailed you a notice/bill. Question if the caller is really with the IRS and record the employee’s name and badge number. Then, hang up and call the IRS at 1-800-366-4484 to verify if the caller is an IRS employee with a legitimate need to contact you.
PHISHING/VISHING SCAMS: In this scam, victims receive a call or email telling them to call a customer service telephone number, or visit a webpage, to “fix a problem” with their bank or credit card account. The phone number and webpage are both fake. When victims call the number, or visit the webpage, they are prompted to enter their account numbers, personal identification numbers (PINs), or passwords to update or verify their accounts. Scammers then use this information to gain access to the victims’ accounts and steal funds.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF: Do not respond to any emails, phone calls, or voicemails that request personal or financial information, especially ones that use pressure tactics or prey on fear. If you have reason to believe that a financial institution actually does need personal information from you, call the company yourself—using a number in your files or in the phone book—not one the email or phone message provides. Also, do not click on a link in an email or social media message supposedly sent by a financial institution. Fraudsters have been known to create fake webpages to trick their victims. Even though the linked webpage looks real, never click the link.