Here at the FTC, we’re known for getting things done on behalf of regular people. Unfortunately, sometimes scammers try to take advantage of our good reputation.
The latest example: Some people have gotten an email that claims to be from Maureen Ohlhausen, the FTC’s Acting Chairman. But it’s not. 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. And it’s just 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 email@example.com.
The FTC is involved in a $586 million settlement with Western Union, but the U.S. Department of Justice will run the refunds process. And it hasn’t started yet.
This email is a good reminder that scammers are skilled liars. 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.
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, 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, we usually send a check through the mail.
Got a question? We’ve got more information about our current refund programs and our procedures for refunding money at FTC.gov/refunds.
Want to stay ahead of the latest scams? Sign up for our free scam alerts by email.
by Nat Wood
Associate Director, Consumer & Business Education, FTC