Unfortunately we can't stop people from impersonating your friends, family, clergy, etc.; but we can certainly try to help you stay alert and informed!
Here are some tips and resources:
If you're not sure what's going on, (or how to block a phone number/email address) please don't be afraid to ask for help!
If you recieve an email claiming to be from someone you know but they are contacting you from a new email or phone number without giving you prior confirmation or notice it may be a scam. If you're not sure, you can try asking an identifying question but to be safe contact them the same way you always have. If they cannot get back to you right away just be paitient until they can or call a mutual friend and confirm with them that the information has or hasn't changed.
Scammers are getting craftier and may even use AI voice cloning to impersonate your loved ones. They may even claim to be a police officer informing you someone you know or care about is in jail and need you to post their bail. Click here to read an extreme article about it.
Never share your bank information. Ever!
Do not send money to anyone, especially if you've never met them in person! Ask for someone else's help to verify their identity.
The IRS, Social Security or the FTC ( and government agencies in general) will never call you. You may even be email scammed by someone impersonating the EDD, always check the email address that you are to reply to.
If you recieve a voicemail from someone claiming you owe money or that you may be sued, arrested, brought up on criminal charges (or some other worrying ultimatum) if you do not pay them immediately, they are trying to scare you in to being scammed.
Do not take the call, make the call & inquire through the official channels. For instance, you might be called by someone claiming to be your credit card provider or debt handler. Hang up and call your provider through the main number of the company instead of engaging through ones scammers may call from or give you to call back.
Let it go to voicemail. A lot of scammers won't try to leave a voicemail. However, if they do, you can always try to verify their legitimacy by searching their information in quotes on google. The quotes around the information in the search is important so don't forget them. It's best to let a potential scammer go to voicemail because if they catch you and you answer them they will keep calling you back know that they know you will answer and engage.
Be careful about tech support emails from entities like Geek Squad. They are one of the most impersonated services next to American Express. Do not open these emails.
If it's too good to be true -- it is. Do not trust calls claiming you've won money, or the lottery. Do not trust strangers on social media asking for money or offering money unsolicited, even if they've been working on gaining your trust for months.
Here's a couple videos we found that we hope you may find helpful:
Click here to view: Scams and Frauds - Protection and Prevention by The Senior Source
Click here to view: Top 5 Tips to Avoid Senior Scams by SeniorLiving.org
What to do if you think you may have been scammed or are concerned about someone you know being scammed:
Try not to feel ashamed or exacerbate someone elses shame. It happens to lots of people of all ages every day.
Report it. a. Click here to be redirected to the IC3 (Internet Crime Complaint Center) b. Click here if you're not sure where to report it c. Instead of opening the suspicious email, select it and forward it to the spoofing email that the company officially provides. The general email you can forward all phishing and spoofing messages to it REPORTPHISHING@APWG.ORG
Click here to view our growing list of phishing email addresses where you can foward these suspicious messages to specifically.
Be proactive. We know it can be hard to remember passwords especially if you need to change them regularly! We encourage that you do though, especially when your friends have alerted you to suspicious activity they recieved from your account. We've even had people who have been hacked and the hacker created an auto response that their email was changing but it was all a ruse. If you're not sure how to protect yourself or how to change your information please don't hesitate to ask for help.