May 30, 2024

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) warned the public about scammers claiming to work for the CFPB. These criminals have even used the names of actual employees to sell their deception.

The agency has had several people informing them about video calls or phone calls received from scammers. According to the CFPB, the scams might include the following:

  • “A phone or video call or an email from an imposter claiming to be a CFPB or other U.S. government official
  • Messages or calls notifying you of an opportunity to participate in a class-action lawsuit or that you’ve won a lawsuit or owe money you didn’t expect.
  • Claiming that you must first pay taxes or another upfront fee to collect the money. They may continue to find “reasons” for you to pay more fees or taxes. It is all part of the scam.”

The CFPB emphasized that it never contacts anyone to ask for sensitive information or demand money. The agency also reassured the public that it would never inform anyone of “[winning] a lottery, sweepstakes, or class-action lawsuit.” Furthermore, the agency listed how the scammers have reached out to the public: email, phone, text message/SMS, messaging apps, social media, and mail.

Other means of contact include approaching in person, business, or home. The CFPB provided some typical signs of a scam, including:

  • “Told you’ve won a sweepstakes or lottery you didn’t enter or that you’re owed money from a class-action lawsuit.
  • Asked to pay upfront taxes or fees – either foreign or domestic.
  • Pressured to act now; scammers don’t want you to take the time to do research or to think too carefully before parting with your money.
  • A ‘government official’ contacts you to confirm your windfall. The emails sent may even appear to be from real government email addresses; if you look further, the email is not from a ‘.gov’ email.”

Scammers always try to steal personal information or money from the public. As such, the CFPB urges consumers to never share their personal information with strangers. The agency stressed the importance of safeguarding sensitive information, such as one’s Social Security Number, credit card numbers, and financial account numbers.

They also warned against paying upfront to receive a prize. If someone claims one must pay ahead of time to obtain it, the prize is likely a scam. The CFPB explained that one should report stolen identities to the law enforcement and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC will develop a plan to help individuals recover from identity theft.

Anyone suspecting identity theft should consider running a self-background check. Self-checks allow them to review their credit and criminal history. These reports will reveal whether someone has opened new accounts or committed crimes with the stolen identity.

You can stay one step ahead of hackers and identity thieves by running a quick self background check. Click here to get started.