Foley Police Department Scam artists use clever schemes to defraud millions of people around the globe each year. Being on guard online can help you maximize the benefits of the internet and minimize your chance of being defrauded. Learn how to recognize common scams and what you can do to avoid them. What Not To Do: Don’t send money to someone you don’t know Don’t agree to deposit a check and wire money back Do not reply to messages asking for personal or financial information Don’t play a foreign lottery Report Online Scams If you think you may have been scammed: File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. If you get unsolicited email offers or spam, send the messages to firstname.lastname@example.org If your personal information is stolen, four steps to take: It is important to protect your personal information, and to take certain steps quickly to minimize the potential damage from identity theft if your information is accidentally disclosed or deliberately stolen: Place a "Fraud Alert" on your credit reports, and review those reports carefully. Notifying one of the three nationwide consumer-reporting companies is sufficient. Contact your bank or other financial institution(s) and close any accounts that have been tampered with or established fraudulently. File a police report with local law enforcement officials. This is an essential step for protecting your rights. Report your theft to the Federal Trade Commission, online, by phone, or by mail Crooks use clever schemes to defraud millions of people around the globe every year. They often combine sophisticated technology with age-old tricks to get people to send money or give out personal information. Many scammers insist that you wire money, or pressure you to make an important decision on the spot. Do not fall for such tactics. Use these tips to help you avoid common scams: Con artists often insist that people wire money, especially overseas, because it is nearly impossible to reverse the transaction or trace the money. Do not wire money to strangers, to sellers who insist on wire transfers for payment, or to anyone who claims to be a relative or family friend in an emergency who wants to keep the request a secret. If someone contacts you with low-risk, high-return investment opportunities, stay away. When you hear pitches that insist you act now, that guarantee big profits, that promise little or no financial risk, or that demand that you send cash immediately, report them at ftc.gov.