BOSTON (CBS) – The Federal Trade Commission has some guidelines when dealing with a possible scammer on the phone.

But before we even review their list my advice would be to simply just hang up, or better still if you don’t recognize a number on caller ID let it go to voice mail. Then you can just ignore the call and not have to hang up.

  • Resist pressure to make a decision immediately.
  • Keep your credit card, checking account and Social Security numbers to yourself. Don’t give them out to callers you don’t know — even if they ask you to “confirm” this information. That’s a trick that is often used not only by callers but in phishing e-mails as well.
  • Don’t pay for something just because you’ll get a “free gift.”
  • Get all information in writing before you agree to buy.
  • Check out a charity before you give money. Ask how much of your donation actually goes to the charity. Ask the caller to send you written informa­tion so you can make an informed decision without being pressured into giving immediately. Don’t be fooled by names of charities that are similar to legitimate charities.
  • Don’t send cash by messenger, overnight mail, or money transfer. The money will be gone.
  • Don’t agree to any offer for which you have to pay a “registration”, “tax” or “shipping fee” to get a prize or a gift.
  • Research offers with Massachusetts Consumer Protection Agency or the Attorney General’s office before you agree to send money.
  • If the offer is an investment, check with the state securities regulator to see if the offer was properly registered. Most brokers don’t make cold calls selling investments.
  • Beware of offers to “help” you recover money you have already lost. Callers that say they are law enforcement officers who will help you get your money back “for a fee” are scammers who prey on seniors who have already been scammed once.

How to file a complaint with FTC:  https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1 or Call 1-877-FTC-HELP