FAKE “Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation” emails making the rounds again.
December 28, 2016
by: Ari Lazarus
Consumer Education Specialist, FTC
Scams are like weeds: they crop up, are treated and disappear, only to find a way to pop up again. Such is the case with a scam we’ve written about before. In this scam, the fraudster pretends to be from the FTC and emails people, telling them they’re under investigation and to click on a link for more information.
If you get one of these emails, stop. Do not click the link. The federal government doesn’t tell people they are under investigation by email. Sometimes, the emails are phishing scams designed to collect personal information, including your email and IP addresses – information that could be used to commit identity theft. Other times, the links are used to install malware on your computer, which can make your device crash, or let the scammer monitor and control your online activity, steal your personal information, send spam, and commit fraud.
Bottom line: If you get an email saying you’re under investigation by the FTC, or required as a witness, the email is fake. You can forward the phony email to firstname.lastname@example.org, the FTC’s email address for spam. This database helps the FTC bring cases involving scams promoted via email. But, most importantly, delete the email.
For more information on how to spot an imposter scam, check out our Imposter Scam page.