The FTC is warning people to be suspicious if they get a phone call that claims to be a relative or friend of a relative, asking for money to help with an emergency. It could be for bail, medical treatment, or travel expenses.
Customer Alert – Beware of Family Emergency Scams
Family emergency scams like this try to scare people into sending money to help a loved one in trouble. The fraud can play out in many ways, but the hustle is the same: The caller lies, tries to scare you, and rushes you to pay so you don't have time to think twice or check things out before you send money. And once you do that, you'll never get the money back.
To avoid becoming a victim of a family emergency scam:
If you're contacted by a scammer with a family emergency message, or experience any other type of scam, report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
- Resist the urge to act immediately — no matter how dramatic the story is.
- Call or message your loved one who (supposedly) contacted you, even though the caller says not to do this. But use a number you know is correct and not the one the caller gives you.
- Never send cash, gift cards, cryptocurrency, or money transfers. Once the scammer gets the money, it's gone!
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