The Federal Trade Commission warns consumers not to be taken in by a phony agency or shaken by their threatening email messages.
Some Americans are receiving emails from the “Bureau of Defaulters Agency – FTC” that threaten legal action for alleged debt and claim to put their Social Security number “on hold” until the issue is resolved. Here’s the thing: the Bureau of Defaulters is a phony agency made up by scammers.
The Federal Trade Commission, which the fraudsters claim to be affiliated with, is the federal agency charged with protecting U.S. consumers against scams. As the FTC points out in its alert about this scam, “the FTC doesn’t send emails like this to people.”
Here’s one variation of the phony message, which the recipient posted on the web site Complaints Board:
This is to inform you, that you are going to be legally prosecuted in the Court House within a couple of days. … It seems apparent that you have chosen to ignore all our efforts to contact you in order to resolve your debt with the Bureau of Defaulters Agency. At this point you have made your intentions clear and have left us no choice but to protect our interest in this matter. …
Now, FTC is pressing charges against you regarding 3 serious allegations:
1. Violation of federal banking regulation act 1983(C)
2. Collateral check fraud
3. Theft by deception (ACC ACT 21A)
If we do not hear from you within 48 hours of the date on this letter, we will be compelled to seek legal representation from our company Attorney.
If you do receive an email like this, the FTC says to follow these steps:
- Pass it along. Forward the email to [email protected].
- Delete it. Don’t click on attachments or links, the FTC warns. If you do, malware may infect your computer.
- Already clicked on something (like an attachment)? The FTC said you can follow these steps to get rid of malware.
- Report it. You can file a complaint with the FTC by clicking here.
As the FTC points out, Government Imposter Scams are pretty common and take a variety of forms, so it may help consumers to keep in mind a general principle:
“Federal government agencies and federal employees don’t ask people to send money for prizes or unpaid loans. Nor are they permitted to ask you to wire money or add money to a prepaid debit card to pay for anything.”
Have you received an email like this or been a victim of another email scam? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.