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FTC warns of email scams

Commission urges people not to respond to emails asking for personal information

October 14, 2020 Washington — The Federal Trade Commission issued a warning Oct. 2, urging people to be on the lookout for scammers.

“If you saw an email from FTC Chairman Joseph Simons, it wasn’t. From him, that is. Scammers pretending to be him are emailing, though,” according to an agency press release. “They’re trying to trick you into turning over personal information, like your birth date and home address, which could help them scam you. So: if you get an email from the chairman of the Federal Trade Commission about getting money because of an inheritance or relief funds related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic — or anything else — do not respond. Do not give out your personal information. But do hit delete.”

FTC went on to explain that scammers often try to pass themselves off as working for the government by using “official-sounding language and images” that impersonate federal agencies and attempt to trick or scare recipients into responding.

“Rest assured, these emails are not from Chairman Simons or anyone else at the FTC. They’re a scam,” the release stated. “The FTC will never send you an email asking you for information like your bank account, credit card or Social Security number. We don’t ask for your date of birth or cell phone number. And we’ll never, ever call, text, email or send a letter asking you to pay anything.”

The release concluded by urging people who receive emails they suspect are scams to report them to FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.