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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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BBB Tip of the Week: FTC releases 2015 Consumer Sentinel Data Book

Veronica Craker

Imposter scams appear to be the biggest con targeting Washington residents. The information comes from data collected by the Federal Trade Commission in 2015.

Of the 45,000 FTC complaints collected in Washington, 22 percent were imposter scams.

Imposters work their magic by pretending to be someone from a trusted organization, a high profile company or government agency.

Here’s a look at the BBB’s most common imposter scams:

IRS Scam: The caller claims to be from the Internal Revenue Service and claims that you owe back taxes. They often threaten legal action or jail time if you don’t agree to pay up.

Grandma Scam: In this scenario scammers call or email a senior pretending to be a relative who is hurt or in trouble. They say they are outside the country and are in need of financial help.

Computer Scam: This occurs when you receive a pop-up, email or phone call from someone claiming to be a Microsoft employee. They tell you there is a virus on your computer and you need to pay up in order to have the proper safety software uploaded. Once they have access to your computer it’s easy for them to steal your personal information.

To avoid getting caught up in these types of scams remember to never give out personal information over the phone. If someone is calling you claiming to be with the IRS, hang up. You can call the IRS at (800 829-1040 or visit irs.gov to verify if they’ve been trying to contact you. Also, do not download anything that pops up on your computer.

If you think you have a virus and need assistance setting up a firewall or anti-virus program, find a trusted computer repair company at bbb.org.

To learn more about the top scams plaguing Washington visit www.ftc.gov/sentinel.

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