Skip to main content
Español

Six Scams to Be Wary of in 2020

Date: February 12, 2020
Image illustration of online scams

If you’re convinced that scams only affect a particular group of people, think again. Sadly, millions of Americans are targeted by scammers every year. More than three million people reported fraud to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2019. 

The most common, imposter scams, involve individuals pretending to be someone of trust to get money or personal information from a victim. This includes personal information like your Social Security number or access to your finances. The top frauds reported last year were from people pretending to be from the government, a well-known business, or a romantic interest in need of help.  

A large portion of imposter scams are those pretending to be from the U.S. government. A few of the more common ones are: 

  • IRS Scams: These scammers send a notice through email, mail, or phone calls in an attempt to gain access to your tax or banking information to steal your identity and money. Learn how to report these scammers if you’ve been affected. 

  • Social Security Scams: Individuals pose as benefits investigators claiming a problem with your Social Security account. At times, they will tell you your number has been suspended and give a false number to call in order to “resolve” the issue. If you or a loved one has received one of these threatening calls, you can report them directly to the Social Security Administration. 

  • Telephone Scams: Scammers try to steal money and personal information through phone calls, text messages or robocalls. They can convince you that you are getting free products or opportunities to invest your money or even get more. These fraudsters often make threats of jail or lawsuits if a fee isn’t paid. Fight these by reporting them to the appropriate authorities.

  • Charity Scams: Charity scammers take advantage of disasters and tragedies by pretending to be legitimate. Imposters create fake organizations mimicking real ones to entice the generosity of those affected emotionally. Learn who to report them to

  • Romance Scams: Finding love online can be a double-edged sword if you’re not careful. It can be someone who lives near you or someone posing as a doctor or military officer stationed far away. Be aware that people can create fake profiles on dating and social media sites in an attempt to find a match and convince you to help financially. Understand the signs of these situations and what to do if you’ve been affected by one

  • Investment Scams: These scammers ask you to invest money to earn higher returns without financial risk. Companies then request you to bring more people in to do the same. They often need a constant flow of new people investing in order to make money. Ponzi and pyramid schemes are great examples of investment scams. Contact the Securities and Exchange Commission or your state's securities regulator to get help.

Most Americans have been targeted or even lost money or personal information as a result of scams. Lessen your chances of it happening. Look out for common elements and follow these 10 tips to help prevent becoming a victim in the future

Visit USA.gov/Stop-Scams-Fraud for more information on scams, how to prevent them and how to report them.

Have Questions About Scams? Join Our Twitter Chat on March 5

Join the upcoming live Twitter chat on Thursday, March 5, 2020, at 11 AM ET for tips, important resources, and answers to your questions about scams and fraud. Follow along on @USAGov or use the hashtag #SlamTheScamChat to monitor the conversation.

Interested in this information in Spanish? Join @USAGovespanol on March 5 at 1 PM ET to ask questions and follow the expert discussion.

You might also like …

  • Understand Government Benefits for Different Stages of Life

    Every phase of life has unique challenges that can change at any time. As you experience big transitions like retiring from a long career or losing your home, understand what government services can help along the way. Search through the latest guide to navigate through any event life throws your way.

  • Six Tips for the 2022 Tax Season

    As the federal tax deadline approaches soon, you may still have questions about filing your federal, state and business taxes in 2022. Use USAGov’s tax season guide to understand steps you need to take to successfully file by the April 18 deadline.

  • Protect Yourself From the Ways Love Can Go Wrong

    Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to show the people in your life love, care and what they mean to you. Unfortunately, the excitement and romance of it all can have a bad side. If you or a loved one is looking for love online or experiencing domestic violence, know how to stay safe from the ways love can go wrong.

  • USAGov’s Tips to Jump-Start Your 2022

    As the days unfold into the new year, it can be hard to prioritize the things that need to be done first. If you’re unsure of where to begin, USAGov has reminders of what government programs and information to add to the top of your list.

  • USAGov’s Guide to Navigating Travel to the U.S.

    Are you planning an international trip in the next few months? USAGov, your official guide to government information, can help you navigate the latest changes in travel requirements.

Share This Page:
Top