Consumer Protection Week: Avoid the No. 1 scam & know these basic safeguards

It is National Consumer Protection Week, and the No. 1 type of scam is an imposter scam.

More than $2.5 billion were lost to impersonator scams last year. Impersonation scams are when criminals act like someone else, whether it’s your bank, an electrical company, or even a government to steal your information and money.

They typically use legit logos or titles and will even spoof a legit company’s phone number to look like the message is from the company itself.

Because scammers are so smart, the Federal Trade Commission recommends you ask yourself a few questions before handing over money or information:

  • Think about what the person asked for, because no legitimate company will ever call or email you to get your bank account information, social security number or access to our computer.
  • Also, did they tell you to pay? The government doesn’t demand money by email, text, phone call, or social media. Honest businesses don’t, either.
  • How did they tell you to pay? No one legitimate will ever demand that you pay with cryptocurrency, by wiring money, or by putting money on a gift card.
  • Finally, did they threaten you? Honest businesses won’t say you’ll be arrested, deported, or lose your license unless you pay. Neither will the government.

If you spot a scam, tell the FTC by visiting

The Better Business Bureau is partnering with the Federal Trade Commission to help fight scams.

BBB has released a list of basic safeguards that can help you avoid crooks:

  • When someone you have not met asks you to send them money, don’t do it. Especially if they ask for the money by wire transfer, prepaid debit card or gift card.
  • Never click on links or attachments in unsolicited emails or texts. That’s how crooks put malware on your devices.
  • Don’t trust the legitimacy of something by its looks. Emails and websites are easy to fake with copied logos and graphics.
  • Don’t trust your Caller ID. It can be faked to read any way a crook wants it to read.

About the Authors:

Jennifer, who anchors The Morning Shows and is part of the I-TEAM, loves working in her hometown of Jacksonville.

This Emmy Award-winning television, radio and newspaper journalist has anchored The Morning Show for 18 years.