How to avoid becoming the victim of a scam
The FTC recovered $232 million from scammers last year
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The Federal Trade Commission received more than 3 million reports, over the phone, through the web and elsewhere, last year about scammers trying to fraud consumers.
Commission officials said they recovered roughly $232 million in refunds for people who lost money.
And with the economic impact brought by the coronavirus pandemic, which has shuttered businesses across the country, many Americans are thinking about protecting their money.
It can help to know what to look out for.
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Imposter scams, in which a person pretends to be calling from the government or a business, or a family member with an emergency, was the No. 1 fraud reported in 2019, according to the FTC. People reported losing more than $667 million.
Social Security imposters were the top government scam reported, with a whopping 166,190 incidents and a median loss of $1,500 per victim.
While web phishing scams were also prevalent last year, the FTC said phone calls were the top way scammers contacted people. And while most people hung up on those calls, per the agency, the median loss per person was $1,000.
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Cameron F. Kerry, a visiting fellow of governance studies at the Brookings Institution, told FOX Business that whether the scam attempt comes through the phone or web, people should be aware of what personal information they share.
“Be selective and consider whether you have a reason to think a given provider will protect your privacy and security. Only share data necessary for the service, like location data for ride-sharing … and keep software updates current to protect security.”
When it comes to coronavirus scams specifically, the FTC suggests not responding to texts, emails or calls about checks from the government and to ignore ads for vaccinations.