Federal government websites often end in. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site. This site is secure. Equifax, one of the three major credit reporting agencies in the U. Equifax has launched a tool that will let you know if you were affected by the breach. You will need to provide your last name and the last six numbers of your Social Security number. You will be given a date when you can return to the site to enroll.
Equifax will not send you a reminder to enroll. Mark that date on your calendar, so you can start monitoring your credit as soon as possible. If you detect suspicious activity on your credit report due to the breach, learn how to report it immediately. The FTC also offers more information to protect yourself after a data breach.
Learn how to report and recover from identity theft at IdentityTheft. Telephone scammers try to trick you out of money or get access to your personal information. Scams may come through phone calls from real people, robocalls, or text messages. The callers often make false promises, such as opportunities to buy products, invest your money, or receive free product trials.
They may also offer you money through free grants and lotteries. Reporting scams to federal agencies helps them collect evidence for lawsuits against people committing these scams. Report telephone scams to the Federal Trade Commission , either online or by phone at This is the primary government agency that collect scam complaints. Report all robocalls and unwanted telemarketing calls to the Do Not Call Registry. Report caller ID spoofing to the Federal Communications Commission either online or by phone at Also report the scam to your state consumer protection office.
Some consumer protection offices help residents resolve consumer problems. You may register online or by calling Be cautious of caller ID. Scammers can change the phone number that shows up on your caller ID screen. Research business opportunities, charities, or travel packages separately from the information the caller has provided. They tell you to deposit it in your bank account, and wire a portion of the money back to them. Unsolicited check fraud - A scammer sends you a check for no reason.
Automatic withdrawals - A company sets up an automatic debit from your bank account, as part of a free trial or to collect lottery winnings. Phishing - You receive an email message that asks you to verify your bank account or debit card number. Report counterfeit checks to the Federal Trade Commission , either online or by phone at Contact your bank to report and stop unauthorized automatic withdrawals from your account. Forward phishing email to the Federal Trade Commission at spam uce.
Scammers can make them look legitimate and official. The imposter may contact you by phone, email, postal mail, or even a text message. There are two common types of scams:. Tax collection - You receive a phone call or letter, claiming that you owe taxes.
They will demand that you pay the amount immediately, often with a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. Verification - You receive an email or text message that requires you to verify your personal information. Report IRS imposter scams online or by calling Forward email messages that claim to be from the IRS to phishing irs.
Beware if someone calls, claiming to be from the IRS. The IRS will always contact you by mail before calling you about unpaid taxes. Ask a caller to provide their name and badge number, and callback number.
If the person legitimately is from the IRS, call them back. Otherwise report it to the IRS. Become familiar with what fraudulent IRS email messages look like.
Review a sample IRS phishing email. Verify the number of the letter, form, or notice on the IRS website. Be suspicious of threats. Be especially suspicious of demands to wire money or pay with a prepaid debit card.
Your state consumer protection office can accept and investigate consumer complaints. While the FTC does not resolve individual matters, it tracks charity fraud claims and sues companies on the behalf of consumers.
If the suspected fraud is related to a natural disaster, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud. Follow these tips to help you detect common charity scam tactics:. Check out the charity with your state consumer protection office or the Better Business Bureau before you give.
Ticket selling scams often happen when tickets for popular concerts, plays, special venues, and sporting events sell out quickly but there is a still a very high demand for tickets. Scammers including individuals and fake resale ticket sellers will take advantage of the situation by:. Prize scammers try to get your money or personal information through fake lotteries, sweepstakes, or other contests.
State and local laws govern legitimate lotteries and sweepstakes. Virgin Islands sponsor lotteries to raise money for the state's programs. Contact the Federal Trade Commission online or by phone at Contact a postal inspector if the scam uses U.
Report robocalls and unwanted telemarketing calls to the Do Not Call Registry. Federal agencies investigate scams and pursue criminal charges against the scammers. State consumer protection offices do sometimes pursue individual cases as well as investigate scams. Check the postage on a mailed prize notice. Try to remember if you entered a particular contest. Contact the actual company to verify a prize notice from an organization known to run a real sweepstakes.
Report spam text messages to your mobile carrier, then delete them. Pyramid schemes are scams that require a constant flow of new participants to keep them going. They masquerade as multi-level marketing programs or other types of legitimate businesses. Pyramid schemes collapse when they run short of new recruits needed to pay earlier investors. Your state attorney general. Be wary of "business opportunities" that require you to recruit more participants to increase your profit, or recoup your initial investment.
Be wary if the company sells non-tangible products or technical services, rather than physical items. Independently verify the legitimacy of any business with the Better Business Bureau , your state attorney general , or any licensing agencies. Ask to see documents, such as financial statements audited by a certified public accountant CPA , showing that the company generates revenue from selling its products or services to people outside the program.
Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job. You may not be aware of the problem until you E-file your tax return and find out that another return has already been filed using your Social Security number. Keep in mind, the IRS will never start contact with you by sending an email, text, or social media message that asks for personal or financial information. If you suspect you have become a victim of tax ID theft—or the IRS sends you a letter or notice indicating a problem—take these steps:.
Check with your state tax agency to see what steps to take at the state level. Make sure to report anything suspicious to the IRS. Investment scams prey on your hope to earn high returns on a regular basis, without financial risk. Report investment scams by companies that are licensed in your state to your state's securities administrator. The SEC may forward your complaint to the investment company and request that the company reply. The FTC will not research your individual case of investment fraud.
Research investment opportunities and investment professionals with your state securities regulator and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Learn where the investment and the investment professional are registered, whether in your state or with other regulators. Census Bureau is the federal agency responsible for collecting data about the people and economy of the United States.
It must collect some personal and demographic information from people and businesses to do this research. Some scam artists may act as if they work for the U. Census Bureau to collect personal information about you to use for fraud, including stealing your identity. These scam artists may send you letters that seem like official letters from the U. Census Bureau, or they may come to your home to try to collect information about you.
The badge should have the photograph of field representative, a Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date. Here are some other ways to identify a legitimate census worker.More...