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Some easy general giveaways for a potential scam are:

  • Multiple calls from a certain phone number, but hangs up once you pick up the phone + no voicemail
  • Asks you to "connect to their secure server" via a remote application such as (logmein or
  • Requests you to purchase "iTunes gift cards" or "Google Play" Cards
  • Randomly giving you "badge ID" or "employee numbers"
  • Threatens you with arrest, lawsuits, sending officers to your house
  • A thick accent but very common American first and last names
  • Calling from a similar number as your own: Scammers often use software to "mask" where they are really calling from. If your phone number is "312-838-3290", a scammer might call with a number like "312-838-XXXX"


  • Register to FTC's do not call list here
  • Formally file a report to the FTC here.
  • Formally file a report to the BBB (if valid company) here.

IRS Scams

This con is still going strong. "It's our number one reported fraud right now," says Amy Nofziger with AARP Foundation and Fraud Watch Network, "and I think it'll get more sophisticated." Here's how it works: Someone claiming to be from the IRS either phones or leaves a voice message saying you owe back taxes and threatening that, unless funds are wired immediately, legal action will be taken or you'll be arrested. (Or they may say you have a refund waiting but need to verify personal info before sending.)

"They're very convincing," says Nofziger, "and they often use aggressive language." And let's be honest, beyond the intimidation factor, who doesn't feel guilty about fudging something on a 1040 at some point? Plus, scammers are getting more devious: Sometimes "IRS" shows up on caller ID, the con artists supply their "badge numbers" and they know the last four digits of your Social Security number.

Do not return a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS. The real IRS opens communications with a taxpayer only via the U.S. Postal Service. If you're ever in doubt about an IRS matter, call the agency directly at 800-829-1040

Tech Support Scams

This just might be the biggest consumer scam in the U.S. right now. According to Microsoft, in 2015 an estimated 3.3 million people — many of them seniors — were victimized by a tech-support con, at a total cost of $1.5 billion. That's one American duped out of an average $454 nearly every 10 seconds.

Here's how the scam typically unfolds: You get an unsolicited call from someone claiming to be with Microsoft or Windows tech support, who says viruses have been detected on your computer. In order to protect your data, you are told to immediately call up a certain website and follow its instructions. A dummy screen may appear that shows viruses being detected and eliminated, but in reality malware is being installed that allows the scammer to steal your usernames and passwords, hold your data for ransom or even use the webcam to spy on you.

Hang up the phone. "Neither Microsoft nor our partners make unsolicited phone calls," says Courtney Gregoire, senior attorney at the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit. Also, don't click any links in unsolicited emails from "Microsoft" or in pop-up ads promising to speed up your computer. "And if you haven't downloaded Windows 10 or the latest version of OS X, do it," says William Woodworth with Best Buy's Geek Squad. "Each update is free and has lots of new security built in." Ditto for any other software programs you're running.

This is also currently very popular with Apple support, and Google services. Phone calls and emails may entail things like “you need to re-verify your apple identity” or “your google account storage limit has maxed out”. Do not EVER provide this information over the phone, or on websites that do not look authentic.

Fake pop up - tech supportFake apple login

License Key Scam

“This is an emergency call that the license key of your Microsoft Windows is expired. To renew license key, call 1-800-290-1836,” a bland voice says.

Better Business Bureau® serving Central & Eastern Kentucky heard from a Lexington senior citizen who fell for the scam.  The woman followed instructions from the caller allowing him access to her Windows laptop. He told her to go to a nearby retailer to buy iTunes cards in the amount of $300 to cover a “3 year license fee.” She did so, and read the numbers off the back of the cards to the caller.  When the con artist asked for additional money, she suspected a scam and hung up.

Grant Scams

How the Scam Works: Scammers contact you through phone calls, emails, or posts on social media. The government is awarding "free grants" and you are told your application is guaranteed to be accepted, and you will never have to repay the money.

Tips to Spot This Scam:

* Free money doesn’t come easy. Obtaining a government grant is an involved process. If someone is actively soliciting you to give you money, that’s a red flag that you are dealing with an imposter.

* Do not pay any money for a "free" government grant. A real government agency will not ask you to pay an advanced processing fee.

* Check for look-alikes. A caller may say he is from the “Federal Grants Administration” – which does not exist. Be sure to do your research and see if an agency or organization actually exists.

* Be careful with unsolicited calls asking for your banking information. Scammers will cold call, asking basic questions to see if you qualify for a grant, and then ask for your banking information saying they need to collect a one-time processing fee and directly deposit your money.

Credit Card Scams

Telephone fraudsters know that Americans are fed up with high interest rates on their credit card balances and have for years been trying to cash in on that frustration by tricking consumers into paying them as much as several thousand dollars for bogus rate reduction programs.

How it works: This con, often initiated by pre-recorded robocallers like “Rachel,” has been going on for years. And despite numerous enforcement actions by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), it just won’t go away.

Bikram Bandy, coordinator of the FTC’s Do Not Call Program, says he is concerned that many people are falling for the scam – and losing money – when offered the “too-good-to-be true” promise of unrealistically low interest rates.

Like most telemarketing frauds these days, this scam typically starts with a recorded message from “credit services” or “card member services,” often in the voice of “Rachel” but also from others, saying you qualify for a special interest rate reduction program that will help you pay off your balance sooner.

Emergency Scams

This scam is a variation on the Emergency scam. The victim is contacted by an individual pretending to be a grandchild in distress, or a person of authority such as a medical professional, law enforcement officer, or attorney. The fraudster describes an urgent situation or emergency (bail, medical expenses, emergency travel funds) involving the grandchild that requires a money transfer to be sent immediately. No emergency has occurred, and the victim who sent money to help their grandchild has lost their money.

For more tips and insights on how to avoid this, please visit the link below:'grandparent_scam'_6.13.16.pdf

Advanced Fee

The advanced-fee fraud scam has many variations, and may claim that you are a beneficiary of some estate money, have won the lottery, or have an old bank account you’ve forgotten about.

A scam requesting a nominal fee of $82 in return for a supposed sum of $7.5 million. Whatever the subject, the email is requesting that you send a fee in advance before you can receive whatever is promised

Romance Scams

Most romance scams start with fake profiles on online dating sites or social media created by stealing photos and text from real accounts.

"Scammers often claim to be in the military or working overseas to explain why they can't meet you in person. Over a short period of time, the scammer builds a fake relationship with you, exchanging photos and romantic messages, even talking on the phone or through a webcam," Barr explained.

"Just when the relationship seems to be getting serious, your new sweetheart has a health issue or family emergency, or wants to plan a visit. No matter the story, the request is the same: they need money. But after you send money, there's another request, and then another. Or the scammer stops communicating altogether. You may also hear some romance schemes referred to as 'catfishing,'" Barr continued.

BBB offers these red flags to look out for when online dating:

  • Too good to be true: Scammers offer up good-looking photos and tales of financial success. If they seem "too perfect," your alarm bells should ring.
  • Be wary if the person you're talking to is in a hurry to get off the site: Catfishers will try very quickly to get you to move to communicating through email, messenger, or phone, as many online dating sites monitor for these scams.
  • Watch for a relationship that seems to be moving fast: A catfisher will begin speaking of a future together and tell you they love you quickly. They often say they've never felt this way before. They are aiming to build up your trust and mess with your emotions quickly, so that they can request money sooner rather than later.

Fake Pop Ups

Fake pop ups and phishing emails attempting to steal your identity are all over the net these days. Stay extra cautious when opening any links requesting you to confirm your information, update your password, or for any “free promotions”.

If you do click on the link, make sure that the website address, is pointing to the correct destination. Every, character, matters. Some hackers might attempt to steal your apple information by creating a fake website with the domain “” – This may look legitimate from a quick glance, but after a further look you can see the discrepancy. Here are a few known fake pop ups and phishing emails floating around the web today.

Netflix Phishamazon phishingbank of america phishing

Social Security Scam

11/5 - This is the newest scam we have been seeing. Calls are coming in to US residents claiming their identity has been stolen, and the social security administration has "blocked" their SSN. The fraudsters are requesting for information such as your name, zip code, and full social security number. 

A popular script has also included lines such as "federal police have stopped a car in Texas that was rented in your name and have found cocaine and blood". Be aware of these scare tactics. The Social Security Administration will never contact you asking to confirm your personal information. Please note: Some of these calls are coming in from masked numbers (showing up in your caller ID as an actual number from a US federal agency).


We will be constantly updating this wiki as we discover new tactics and scripts used by attackers. Below are the references we have used to help compile this list, which you may visit for more info!

The Fraudski Project 2018

[email protected]