Credit card offer mailings piled and disorganized.

Avoiding Fraud

Fraud is as old as money. The Internet has simply made cyberfraud easier for the criminals to distribute.

They are combining all of the old tricks with new technology for the purpose of getting you to send them money or to share your personal information. Here are some tips to help you stay ahead of the cyberfraudsters:

  • Be skeptical of any offer that you receive. This is especially true for anyone that is asking you to pay upfront for a good or a service. Common fraud schemes include loan offers, jobs, debt relief, found cash, or even prizes that you may have won. The fraudster will often ask for an upfront fee or tax payment before they can "release" the offer.
  • Verify the promises of any offer that you receive. You can check online verifiers like the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) scam alerts page, the FBI’s page on scams and fraud,, Better Business Bureau, Internal Revenue Service, and others to see what these reviewers have to say about this offer. In fact, some of these services like the FTC and the FBI’s Internet Fraud Alert systems will let you sign up for free scam alerts. You can also pick your favorite search engine and search for combinations of the offer, provider, and words like "complaint" or "scam". 
  • Try to pay with your credit card when you possible. Credit cards have significant fraud protection accompanying their terms of service. Other payment methods like debit cards, wire services, like Western Union or MoneyGram, or reloadable cards, like MoneyPak, do not. In these cases, getting your money back is practically impossible.
  • Just hang up on telemarketing calls. Most of them are robot calls and even if the voice on the other end sounds like a real person (“Oh sorry, I dropped my headset. Thank you for waiting."), it probably isn’t. Don’t even wait to tell them to take you off their contact list. Simply hang up on them.
  • Don’t agree to anything right now. Most scammers attempt to pressure you into making a quick decision with special offers that are only available during the phone call or by responding to the email immediately. This is a strong indicator of a scam. Take your time. Talk it over with someone else to get another point-of-view. Just don’t buy now.
  • If you do think that it’s a scam, don’t be afraid to complain about it. You can share your story with the FTC and help prevent someone else from falling victim to the same type of scam at

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