If you are asked to wire money IT IS A SCAM. If you receive a check for over the amount IT IS A SCAM. NEVER WIRE MONEY to anyone you don't personally know for any reason. If you didn't enter, you cannot win.

  • If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • If it comes from Canada, Europe, Aftrica, or Asia, it is probably a scam.
  • If you didn't enter, how can you win? It's also illegal to enter out of country lotteries - you can be arrested!
  • English, grammar, and spelling are usually very bad. If the pitch comes in the form of a telephone call, the scammer may have a foreign accent.
  • Even if you are given a telephone number and address, the telephone is probably a throw away cell phone untraceable) and the address is probably non-existent.
  • Remember, these people always want you to WIRE them money, not mail a check.

Never provide any personal information, such as social security number, credit card or bank account information over the phone or internet to someone who has contacted you. Contact your bank, credit card company or other business and ask if they have requested this information over the internet or phone. Remember, they already your information—they don’t need to ask for it again.

These people are smooth. If you receive a phone call, they will try to be your best friend and pretend they are working in your best interest. If you decline their offer, they may turn pushy and threatening; just hang up.

Following are some common scams but beware, criminals are constantly adapting and it may be a variation of one of these themes (click on any tab to view more information):

You receive a phone call from someone claiming to be a Microsoft technician saying there is a problem with your computer. They will tell you to go to your computer and talk you through how to provide shared access. They then take over your computer and will put in colored warnings making you believe that something is wrong with your computer.

They will tell you that, before they can fix the problem, you will need to buy an expensive extended warranty.

Microsoft will NEVER call you and tell you there is something wrong with your computer and request access to it. 

A call is received, either live or a voice mail, claiming that you owe the IRS for back taxes; if it’s by voice mail, they will leave a spoofed phone number for you to call. The scammer claims that you have ignored their previous warnings and a lawsuit has now been filed against you and that your “local” law enforcement is going to come arrest you if you do not pay. The IRS scammer will ask you to verify your name and SSN – if it was truly the IRS they would have that information. The scammer will then tell you that to avoid any lawsuit or arrest, you will need to wire, via Western Union or MoneyGram, usually within the hour, a rather large sum of money. One scammer told a local resident that she also had to pay Washington taxes (even though Washington does not have a state tax).

If you receive such a call, just hang up. They may be persistent and call a couple of times before they get the hint. They may become verbally abuse if you stay on the line with them. Law enforcement is not going to come knocking at your door to arrest you. The IRS is not going to call you – they always send a letter out. For more information, go to or if you do get a call, go to (Treasury Dept) and complete the only form.

A scammer acquires just enough information about a friend or family member to be able to impersonate them during a brief phone call or in an email or text message. They then claim to be a victim of theft, legal problems or travel arrangements gone wrong, state that they are stranded and need you to wire them money as soon as possible.

If you receive such a call or message, find out as much information as you can then contact a direct relative to find out if the person really is on vacation or possibly in trouble. You could also ask the caller a specific question that requires more than basic knowledge about the family, that only the real friend or relative would know. For example ask "What is your mom's name? What is your favorite pet's name? Where were you born?" Ask for a phone number.

For more information on how to protect yourself from the the Grandparent Scam visit AARP.

If you did not buy a lottery ticket, you cannot win a lottery. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS. If you receive a check for a lottery you did not enter, it is counterfeit. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS.

If you receive a letter, email or phone call telling you that you have won millions in an overseas lottery but you just need to wire a few hundred dollars to cover the taxes - IT IS A SCAM. Payments will only lead to requests for more money.

Also referred to as "catphishing".

Millions of Americans use dating sites, social networking sites, and chat rooms to meet people. And many forge successful relationships. But scammers also use these sites to meet potential victims. They create fake profiles to build online relationships, and eventually convince people to send money in the name of love. Some even make wedding plans before disappearing with the money.


Please visit for information on how to recognize a dating scam artist and what you can do about it.

You receive a call or an email from what seems to be a company you do business with (bank, credit card company or even the IRS). The caller or email will ask for senstive information such as your account number or password. If it were really a company you did business with, they would already have this information and would never ask for this information in this manner. When in doubt, hang up.

BEWARE: Do not trust your caller ID as scammers have found ways to mask their true identity!

Advertisers offer kits that enable you to make money stuffing envelopes, craft assembly, data entry, mystery shopper, medical billing, posting links on the internet, or other tasks that you will be paid for. All you need to do is pay for the kit, materials, software and you're on your way to making money from the comfort of your own home. Do not send money. Legitimate employers will not request money to hire you or ask you to pay for materials to get started.

If part of the process of getting a job requires sending money, it is probably a scam. Check references, research the company, check with the Better Business Bureau.