The Federal Trade Commission is one of the agencies consumers are supposed to turn to when they’ve been defrauded by scam phone calls, so it — sadly — makes sense that some fraudsters have decided that the best way to con victims is to pretend they are calling from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center.
In a new blog post, the FTC say it’s received reports of scammers spoofing the Center’s toll-free number (877-382-4357) in order to trick people into thinking the call is coming from a trustworthy source.
But if you get a call from that number, don’t answer it. And if you do answer it, just hang up. Because even though the FTC does sometimes call consumers who have submitted a report or request to the Response Center, it doesn’t use that 877 number to make outgoing calls.
In addition, the FTC will never ask for money or for sensitive information such as Social Security number, date of birth, or bank account information.
“But don’t let that stop you from reporting scammers — it’s still safe to call the Consumer Response Center” at that number, the FTC points out. You can also report scammers online.
The agency also offers up a few helpful tips to help folks spot phone scams:
• If you get a strange call from a government phone number, hang up. Visit the official (.gov) website for correct contact information.
• Don’t give out — or confirm — your personal or financial information to someone who calls.
• Don’t wire money or send money using a reloadable card. To that end, you should never pay someone who calls unexpectedly, despite what the caller ID says.
• Feeling pressured to act immediately? Hang up.
• If you’ve gotten a call from a scammer report it to the FTC.