The FTC Phone Scam | H&R Block

Have you heard of the FTC phone scam? If not, learn about this recent phone scam that has affected tens of thousands of Americans.

What Is It?

People are receiving calls from scammers posing as the Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, who are requesting remote access to your personal computer. The scammers reference the FTC’s Advanced Tech Support refund program and pressure innocent victims into thinking that the FTC owes you money. To get the money, they attempt to connect to your computer.

More On Tech Support Scams

A tech support scam, such as the FTC scam, is when scammers attempt to obtain remote access to your computer. They attempt to trick you in an effort to seize your hard-earned money, by trying some of the following tactics:

  • Installing malware on your computer
  • Selling you software that is worthless
  • Directing you to websites in attempt to retrieve your credit card number and other personal information
  • Getting you to buy gift cards or prepaid debit cards for payment of fines or fees

What Can You Do?

Thankfully, reports of this particular scam have dwindled, but it is important to remain vigilant.  Phone scams are at an all-time high and scammers are adjusting their tactics regularly.

Similar to the IRS, the FTC will never request remote access to your computer or smartphone device or ask you for immediate payment over the phone.

Important Rules to Follow

Unfortunately, you are never fully protected from future tech support, phone, or identity theft scams. If you receive a scam call in the future, take the following actions:

  • Hang up without giving any personal information
  • Never allow anyone who calls you to connect to your computer remotely
  • If anyone requests payment through prepaid gift cards, they are not a legitimate company.
  • Report it to the FTC via https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/ (The website will also update you on other scams and allow you to register your number in the Do Not Call Registry)
  • Block the number in your phone and consider using a robocall blocking service. Many wireless carriers now offer these.
  • Enable all features of your Tax Identity Shield® account, including the BlackMarket Internet Scan, a service that provides daily monitoring of the dark web where personal information is being bought and sold.

Learn more about the features of Tax Identity Shield®. For more information about other tax scams, visit the H&R Block Tax Information Center.

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