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Scam alert: Fraudsters sending emails saying they’re from the FTC

Western Union

Some people have gotten an email that claims to be from Maureen Ohlhausen, the Federal Trade Commission’s acting chair. It’s a fake.

The email asks you to give your bank account information – so, it says, you can get money from the government’s settlement with Western Union.

The email is a scam to steal your financial information. It’s the latest variation of an imposter scam. In 2016, consumers reported more complaints about imposter scams to the FTC than any other fraud.

If you get an email like this, don’t respond or click on any links. You can forward it to the FTC at spam@uce.gov.

The FTC is involved in a $586 million settlement with Western Union, but the U.S. Department of Justice is in charge of the refunds process, which hasn’t started yet.

Scammers are skilled liars, said Nat Wood, associate director for Consumer and Business Education at the FTC.

“They’ll say anything or claim to be anyone to get your financial information – then they’ll use it to steal from your financial accounts or commit other crimes,” said Wood.

The FTC does shut down scams and return money to people who lost it to dishonest or unfair business practices. However, the agency will never ask for money, your Social Security number, or any banking information so you can apply for a refund or cash a check. If the FTC needs to get money to you, it usually sends a check through the mail.

Copyright 2017, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

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