We all see scams. Even if we don't buy into one, we all get the calls, emails, and letters. Why are there so many? Well, scammers see us all as targets, so they keep trying to get our money or Social Security number or account numbers.
And they're good at what they do. They know how to knock us off balance just long enough to take advantage. That's why we need a plan.
So if you think you've spotted a scam, what do you do? First, tell somebody. The call or email might seem urgent, but slow down.
Talk to a family member, friend, or neighbor. Tell them the story. Sometimes just saying it out loud helps. Maybe your friend got a similar message or knows someone who has. Or your story might just help your neighbor avoid that scam.
Then tell the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC sues scammers and works to shut them down. When you report a scam to the FTC, investigators use your information to build cases against scammers. Other law enforcement agencies can see the reports, too, and use them to further their own investigations.
Your story makes a difference. Every report is a piece of the puzzle that lets the FTC see the full picture of what scammers are doing and then stop them, because scammers don't scam just one person. But you could be the one person whose story tips the balance, stops someone from falling for the scam, or stops the scammer.
So tell your story. As soon as you think you see a scam, talk with someone, and then tell the FTC. Go to ftc.gov/complaint to file your report.