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March 14, 2023

When you feel rushed to act with finances, pause and think through the situation.

Is this a true emergency? Does it make sense?

How the Scam Works

Scammers recycle the same approach. They will…
  • Impersonate family members or authority figures, often collecting information available online or using an authoritative tone so you believe them. Do you know this person and can you verify their identity?
  • Use urgency, throwing your body into an adrenaline rush and clouding your judgment. You will feel pressured, threatened, rushed, and/or worried.
  • Ask you to lie and keep it a secret, claiming they are there to help.

Impersonation or Emergency Scam Examples

  • An “FBI Agent” calls you to claim inappropriate or illegal content was found on your computer, threatening you with legal action.
  • Your “niece” with whom you haven’t spoken in years calls because she was arrested and needs bail money.
  • A “support technician” claims they refunded you for a subscription but gave you too much money.
  • Your “grandchild” has been kidnapped and needs money to be released.
  • Border patrol” found an abandoned vehicle at the border tied to your personal information.

If You Suspect a Scam

  • Resist pressure. Do not send money. Do not share information. Hang up.
  • Verify. Call your family member directly or another trusted family member to verify the emergency. Confirm their location and if they are safe.
  • Call a trusted source for a second opinion, especially if you are asked to keep it a secret. This could be a family member, the police, or your bank.

infographic for scammy snapshotAdditional Resources from the Federal Trade Commission: