Scammers PRETEND to be from an organization you know.
Scammers often pretend to be contacting you on behalf of the government. They might use a real name, like Medicare, or make up a name that sounds official. Some pretend to be from a business you know, like a utility company.
They use technology to change the phone number that appears on your caller ID. So the name and number you see might not be real.
Scammers say there's a PROBLEM or a PRIZE.
They might say you are in trouble with the government or you owe money. Or someone in your family had an emergency.
Others will lie and say you won money in a lottery or sweepstakes but have to pay a fee to get it.
Scammers PRESSURE you to act immediately.
Scammers want you to act before you have time to think. If you're on the phone, they might tell you not to hang up so you can't check out their story.
Scammers tell you to PAY in a specific way.
They often insist that you pay by sending money through a money transfer company or by putting money on a gift card and then giving them the number on the back. Some will send you a check, tell you to deposit it and then send them money.
Gift Card Scams
What gift card scams look like:
The caller says it's urgent - you have to pay right away or something awful will happen.
The caller tells you which gift card to buy or sends you to a specific store. The caller might stay on the phone with you while you go to the store and load money on to the card.
The caller asks you for the gift card number and PIN. This lets the scammer get the money you loaded on to the card right away.