The FTC’s recently released top frauds of 2022 have impersonation scams at #1 position, again. So, how can you and your friends, family, and neighbors spot and avoid these impersonation scams?

These scams are designed to be hard to spot: they often look like an email from your bank, logo and all. Or a call with the right caller ID. But logos are easily recreated, and technology makes phone numbers easy to fake. Here are some ways to know what’s real and what’s fake:

What did they ask you for?

Your bank has your account (and Social Security) number – it’ll not call or email you to get that information. Nobody legitimate will ever get in touch to demand access to your computer. No matter who they say they are, anyone who demands information or access like this is a scammer.

Did they tell you to pay?

The government doesn’t demand money by email, text, phone call, or message on social media. Honest businesses don’t, either. If someone does, you know it’s a scam.

How did they tell you to pay?

Nobody legitimate – really, nobody – will ever demand you pay with cryptocurrency, by wiring money through a company like MoneyGram or Western Union, or by putting money on a gift card. Who will? Scammers.

Did they threaten you?

Honest businesses won’t say you’ll be arrested, deported, or lose your license unless you pay. Neither will the government. If someone does, you know it’s a scammer.

Both research and experience say talking about scams is one of the best ways to avoid them. So, ask yourself these questions when you get that out-of-the-blue message. Tell someone about the scam you just spotted. And then tell the FTC: