PLEASE READ! If you are receiving persistent fraudulent, abusive or threatening calls or texts and you are concerned for your safety we strongly urge you to contact your local law enforcement agency.

Don’t talk to scammers. Do not engage a scammer in any way. If you suspect a call is fraudulent, don’t say anything and hang up immediately.

Unknown numbers. When in doubt, do not answer a phone call or text message from an unknown number.

Personal/financial information. Never give out sensitive personal or financial information over the phone unless it is to a known and trusted entity. Doctor’s offices, banks and other service providers do not call to ask for your account information.

Sextortion. Be cautious when sharing intimate photographs. Scammers will solicit these photos or otherwise obtain them and then threaten to make them public unless you pay to have them destroyed.

Children and teenagers. Talk to children and teenagers about the dangers related to the use of their phone or social media accounts. Child predators and “sextortion” scammers will commonly use text messages and social media to lure children or solicit sensitive photographs or videos.

Elder abuse. The elderly are often the preferred targets of scammers. Pay close attention to what’s going on with older parents, grandparents or aunts, uncles and friends. Try to inform them about scams and scammers and intervene immediately if you believe they might be the victim of a scam.

Random communications. Do not respond to pop-up messages or text messages asking for your bank or financial institution information. This also applies to random, unsolicited alerts, emails or text messages seeking access to your computer to “fix” a problem or which include an unexpected invoice for something you didn’t purchase.

Romance scams. Do not send money to someone you do not know or cannot verify. Be especially cautious sending large sums of money to people you meet through online dating sites.

Device security. Update your social media settings, smartphone settings and passwords often. Do not use simple passwords.

Robo-calls. To decrease the number of telemarketing calls you receive, make sure to add your residential and cell phone numbers to the National Do Not Call Registry, which was established to assist consumers stop unwanted marketing calls and requires telemarketing companies to abide by the Do Not Call Rules.

Published business numbers. Please note, generally business numbers are not covered under the Do Not Call Registry.

IRS, SSA and utility company scams. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, Social Security Administration or a utility company who instructs you to make a payment, hang up immediately. If you are concerned that you might owe money to one of these agencies, contact them directly using the number provided on a verified bill or direct communication from the agency.

Caller ID spoofing. Be aware that scammers can fake caller ID names. See the most recent FTC Scam Alerts.

Sweepstakes. Do not ever pay to collect a prize relating to a sweepstakes or promotion. Requiring a payment to collect a prize is a violation of federal law.

Callback numbers. If you receive a message containing a callback number, verify the number against a known source such as the back of your bank card before returning the call.

Call blockers. Research solutions for call blockers for your mobile phone, which will notify you of a potential spam call.

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