Action13

Scammers targeting agency that targets them

Friday, December 14, 2012

Scammers are targeting the very agency that is supposed to protect consumers, and people in Houston are getting caught up in it.

Your cell phone is the weapon of choice for scam artists who are now even mimicking the Federal Trade Commission in an effort to get your personal information.

"It had the little light on there and saw that I had a voice mail," Catherine Bond said.

Bond's brush with scammers started with a voice mail message left on her cell phone.

"The phone number that was from my cell phone was the Federal Trade Commission's," she said.

Bond tells us the message said she had a refund coming from the Federal Trade Commission, and to claim it she needed to go to the website "FTCrefund.com."

Bond says that sent up a red flag because government websites end with ".gov," but she worries others may not be so savvy.

"I have older neighbors that are innocent and don't know computers and would not know a .com from a .gov if you hit them with it," she said.

Bond says she did not fall for the scam and instead called the real FTC.

Investigators told her scammers pretending to be the agency are calling phone numbers in the 281 area code right now. The scammers claim refunds are waiting, but their website is not set up to give out cash.

"When you go to the website, they require the consumer to enter the personal and financial information," said Leah Napoliello with the Houston Better Business Bureau .

Napoliello says the information would be enough to clean out a victim's bank account. She adds several people have been getting the phone calls.

"That's why we are especially concerned that if you have been the victim, that you contact the FTC and make sure they are aware," Napoliello said.

If you have gotten one of those calls, the FTC wants to hear from you.

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