Junk Mail and Unsolicited Calls Common Scams

You probably get junk mail, spam email and other unsolicited (unwanted) offers. Some of these are scams that can cause you to lose money or suffer other harm. Here is information on common scams, how to avoid being fooled by them, and additional resources. If you want to get fewer unsolicited offers, or to report an unsolicited offer, please see the Leave Me Alone page.

Email Spam

    Common Scams

    • Product advertising—Email spam to get you to buy a product.
      • Never buy anything advertised in spam.
    • Phishing or brand spoofing—Identity thieves trying to trick you into giving them your personal information.
      • Examples of phishing email messages:
        • “We suspect an unauthorized transaction on your account. To ensure that your account is not compromised, please click the link below and confirm your identity.”
        • "Please click here to update and verify your information.”
        • "Our records indicate that your account was overcharged. You must call us within 7 days to receive your refund.”
        • Emails pretending to be from organizations such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). For more information on IRS scams, see https://www.irs.gov/uac/tax-scams-consumer-alerts.
        • Emails that seem to be from your email service saying that your email box is full so that emails are not getting through unless you log on through a specified link. They are really trying to get access to your email account.
      • Do not click on links in the email.
      • Do not send personal information (such as credit card numbers, Social Security Number, or passwords) if you do not know the recipient.
      • Do not call any phone numbers listed in the email.
      • Do not open or download attachments in the email.
      • If you are unsure, you can look up the website and/or contact information for the company or organization that contacted you. Ask them if the email is really from them.
    • For more information regarding email scams, see https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/scam-alerts.

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Text Spam

    Common Scams

    • Prize offers—Texts saying you won a gift card or other free prize.
      • Do not click on links in the text. Do not give your information. You may end up paying fees or get even more spam.
      • Common signs of prize scams are listed at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0199-prize-scams. If you are unsure, you can look up the website and/or contact information for the company or organization that contacted you. Ask them if the mail is really from them.
    • Product advertising—Texts to get you to buy something, like cheap mortgages, credit cards, or debt relief services.
      • Never buy anything advertised in spam. Do not click on links in the text.

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Junk Faxes

    Common Scams

    • Fax back scams—Faxes such as contests, job offers, deals, etc. to try to get you to fax something back.
      • Do not fax back anything in return. You may be charged a high fee for doing so.
    • Phony business opportunities or requests for you to send money—Faxes that claim they want to send or get your money for various reasons such as a product or investment opportunity.
      • Do not send your money or give out your information.

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Junk Mails

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Unsolicited Calls

    Common Telemarketing Scams

    • Call from a number similar to yours—You are getting calls from a number with the same area code and maybe even the same first few digits as your own number.
      • Do not answer the phone. Do not give out your information.
    • Credit cards and loans—Offers for loans, payday loans, credit card protection, and to lower your credit card interest rates.
      • Do not send your money or give out your information.
    • Charitable causes—Urgent requests for charitable gifts, especially after a recent natural disaster.
      • Do not send your money or give out your information. If you want to donate, you can directly contact the charity.
    • For descriptions of more phone scams, see the FTC’s Phone Scams page, the FTC’s Phone Fraud Scam Alerts, and the United States federal government’s list of common telephone scams and frauds.

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