It’s often said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but the FTCS is not flattered at all by a scam website designed to look like a Federal Trade Commission site and steal your money.
The imposter calls itself the US Trading Commission and uses the FTC’s seal and address. It claims it operates a “personal data protection fund” to compensate people whose personal information has been exposed on the web. The site says you can “instantly receive” a cash payment by clicking on some links and giving the site your personal data and bank account or electronic wallet information. Of course, if you do that, your money will be gone, you may download malware onto your device, and scammers can misuse your personal information to steal your identity.
The site pops up as a YouTube link and has used several different URLs. It promises that payment “is available to residents of all countries of the world.” People as far away as Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Latvia have reported the site to the FTC, and several have reported losing money.
Here’s what you need to know
The FTC does shut down scams and return money to people who lost it to dishonest or unfair business practices. But we will never ask for money, or for your bank account, credit card, or Social Security number so that you can get a refund. If the FTC needs to get money to you, we usually send a check through the mail. You can learn about our refund programs at FTC.gov/refunds.
If you’ve encountered this scam or any other, tell us at ReportFraud.ftc.gov so we can warn others. If you’ve given your personal information to someone you don’t know, you may be at risk for identity theft. Visit identitytheft.gov to learn what to do. And, to learn more about imposter scams of all sorts, visit ftc.gov/imposters.
By Seena Gressin
Attorney, Division of Consumer & Business Education, FTC