How to Avoid Getting Scammed

If it sounds like a scam, it probably is. Here are a few tips to help you recognize and avoid a scam:

Phone Calls

If you receive a call that:

  • Someone you know (grandchild, family member, or friend) has been arrested or otherwise detained by law enforcement.
  • You owe back taxes to the IRS.
  • You’ve missed jury duty and are going to be arrested.
  • You’ve won! All you need to do is purchase a prepaid card of their choice to cover taxes, fees, etc.
  • You will be receiving a check in the mail OR a check shows up without warning in the mail.
  • Your computer is at risk and the person calling can fix it remotely.
  • You are the beneficiary of a large amount of money from a distant relative.
  • You are going to be arrested or are in danger unless you pay the person calling via Green Dot cards, iTunes cards, Moneygram cards, or any other prepaid card.

There’s only one thing to do: hang up! Do not give them any information! Do not deposit/cash the check! These are all scams.

If you receive a call:

  • That is alleging to collect money for a charity you may or may not be familiar with and they want your credit card number as payment.
  • That Medicare needs your Medicare number to issue you a new card (or some other reason).
  • From the 1-800 number on the back of your credit card from the fraud department, saying they need your card number due to alleged suspicious activity.
  • From the Social Security Administration (SSA), saying that they don’t have all your information (particularly your Social Security Number).

Do not give them your Medicare number, your credit card information, or your Social Security Number. These are all scams. Hang up!

To further confirm that there is no suspicious activity involving your credit card, call the number on the back of your card and ask for the fraud department.


If you receive an email:

  • That you owe money to the IRS.

Do NOT click on the link in the email. By clinking on the link, malicious software may be installed on your computer and scammers may have access to everything on your computer.

If you do not owe taxes, visit the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration website and fill out an “IRS Impersonation Scam” form OR call TIGTA at 1-800-366-4484. Also, you may file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments in the complaint.

Social Media & Websites

If you meet someone through an online dating site or app:

  • And they live in a distant state or country and need you to send them various amounts of money after a relationship has been established.

Do not send them any money. They may say that they want to meet you, care about you, and want to even move closer to you, but this is a scam. Do NOT send any money.

In Person Meetings

If someone shows up at your door and offers home repair, roof repair, tree trimming services, or any other service that would involve your property:

  • Review the company before hiring them. Do not allow them in your home. Investigate their quality of work and make sure they’re insured before allowing them to do any work on your property. If you do hire them, never pay them upfront; you may never see them or your money again.

list of current scams