Library Blog

No Scams Allowed During National Consumer Protection Week!

National Consumer Protection Week fraud government call

National Consumer Protection Week runs from February 28th through March 6th this year. This consumer education initiative was first launched by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 1999 to focus attention on “Credit Fraud – Know the Rules, Use the Tools” and to help consumers protect themselves. Although consumers have become more educated in the 22 years since, those trying to defraud us have also learned a trick or two.  

We are especially vulnerable to scams this year due to the pandemic and the accompanying issues of social isolationunemployment and the wait for vaccinesIn 2020, the FTC received 2.2 million fraud reports, with losses of nearly $3.3 billion, which you can read about in this FTC blog on the top frauds of 2020. 

Top Scams of 2020  

Imposter Scams 

Scammers impersonated government officials, known businesses or charities, or family members to get your personal information or to persuade you to send them money. Remember, no government agency will ever contact you asking for money or for your Social Security, bank account, or credit card number. Companies or utilities that you do business with will already have your account numbers and personal information.  

Online Shopping Scams 

Online orders skyrocketed during the pandemic, along with scammers taking your money without delivering the goods. Toilet paper, anyone?  

Phone and Text Scams 

Did you get calls or texts about stimulus relief checks, no-wait vaccines, loans for personal or business use, or packages that were just delivered?   

Avoiding Scams 

Take the following advice from the FTC to avoid being scammed:  

  • Block unwanted calls and text messages. Don’t answer unless you know the person and never click on a link sent by text or email without checking with the sender. 
  • Don’t provide your personal or financial information in response to a request that you didn’t expect. Check out the story by contacting the company or agency directly on their official website or by calling the number you know is correct rather than a number given to you or taken from Caller ID. 
  • Resist the pressure to act immediately. There is no rush or deadline! 
  • Know how scammers tell you to pay: gift cards, money transfers, or depositing a check and sending the money back to someone. 
  • Stop and talk to someone you trust. Call the Library! You can also check out the links on our Consumer Information page.

 Reporting Scams 

Scammers know your fears and desires, so they will tell you that they can get you a vaccine without waiting (they can’t), that you have won a prize or lottery (you haven’t), your computer needs fixed (it doesn’t) or that they felt an instant attraction to you (but only want your money.) Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it’s not true! 

Michele Mellor

Michele Mellor is a Reference Librarian based at Main Library, where she has been striving to bring order to the universe of knowledge for over 30 years. She loves helping people, so ask her those reference questions! She enjoys reading microhistories and books that expand her horizons leavened by brain-candy romance novels.