National Consumer Protection Week: More From The FTC

BOSTON (CBS) – This is National Consumers Protection week. This is a national campaign to help consumers make better-informed decisions and avoid being scammed.

More from the Federal Trade Commission.

Don’t play a foreign lottery. It’s illegal to play a foreign lottery. Federal law prohibits the cross-border sale or purchase of lottery tickets by phone or mail. And yet messages that tout your chances of winning a foreign lottery, or messages that claim you’ve already won, can be tempting. If you must send money to collect the lottery winnings, you haven’t won anything. And if you send any money, you will lose it. You won’t get any money back, either, regardless of promises or guarantees.

Understand that wiring money is like sending cash. Con artists often insist that people wire money, especially overseas, because it’s nearly impossible to reverse the transaction or trace the money. Don’t wire money to strangers, to sellers who insist on wire transfers for payment, or to anyone who claims to be a relative or friend in an emergency and wants to keep the request a secret.

Check your credit card statements several times a month. Scammers steal account information and then run up charges or commit crimes in your name. Dishonest merchants bill you for monthly “membership fees” and other goods or services without your authorization. If you see charges you don’t recognize or didn’t okay, contact your bank, card issuer, or other creditor immediately.

Know your Charity. In the aftermath of a disaster, give to an established charity, rather than one that has sprung up overnight. Pop-up charities probably don’t have the infrastructure to get help to the affected areas or people, and they could be collecting the money to finance illegal activity.

Remember there’s no sure thing in investing. If someone contacts you saying they have a 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, walk away and report them to the FTC.

One more thing: Report Scams

If you think you may have been scammed: File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

Visit ftc.gov/idtheft, where you’ll find out how to minimize your risk of identity theft.

Report scams to the State Attorney General.

If you get unsolicited email offers or spam, send the messages to spam@uce.gov.

If you get what looks like lottery material from a foreign country through the postal mail, take it to your local postmaster.

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You can hear Dee Lee’s expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m., 3:55 p.m., and 7:55 p.m.

Subscribe to Dee’s Money Matters newsletter here.

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