Cooperative Extension: Don’t Get Scammed

What is a scam? A scam is a deceitful attempt to gain something of value from you, such as your personal information or funds. Scammers often pose as a genuine business or acquaintance. Scam attempts are made over the phone, texts, in person, or through email. Scams target individuals of all ages, backgrounds, and income levels. Though seniors have traditionally been targets of scams, all of us are vulnerable. 

It is important to protect ourselves by recognizing the signs of scams. These signs can help keep ourselves, our loved ones, and our money safe. 

The Consumer Financial Protection Board (CFPB) has lots of resources to help you identify and stop these scams at 

Here are Some Basic Signs of a Scam:

• Scammers often pretend to be a person/place you recognize, to win your trust.

• Scammers often tell you that there is a problem, or you have won a prize.

• Scammers often pressure you to take action immediately (time limited)

• Scammers often request that you to pay in a specific way (store gift card or cash apps).

Tips to Protect Yourself from Scams and Identity Theft:

• Don’t share passwords or account numbers. Especially your Social Security number

• Change your passwords frequently, make them complex and store all passwords in a safe location.

• Do not open suspicious texts or click on links or attachments in an email – delete them! 

• Don’t ever pay ahead of time for a guaranteed prize. If they request payment for taxes or other fees before you can receive a prize or prize money, it most likely a scam.  

• Keep your personal information safe. Lock your mailbox and shred your bills and other important documents, before throwing them in the trash.

• Does it sound too good to be true?  If you are skeptical, and it doesn’t feel right, it probably is a scam. 

• Be skeptical of deals that are “good for only today”. If you are pressured to act immediately or else, it probably is a scam. 

• Make sure to register your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry at or call (888) 382-1222.

Do You Think You’ve Been the Victim of a Scam? Now What?

Report the Scam. Reporting scams can help protect others. Agencies can utilize the information gathered to record patterns of behaviors that can lead to criminal charges.

Contact Your Local Law Enforcement: Consumers can report scams to their local law enforcement office, particularly if your money or identity has been stolen.

Florida’s Attorney General:  Florida citizens who have been victims of a scam can contact the Florida Attorney General’s Office of Citizen Services at 1-866-966-7226 or file a report on their website at

The Federal Bureau of Investigations site offers some personal safety resources:

For more information on Cooperative Extension or any upcoming programs, please contact the Gadsden County Extension Office at 850-875-7255 or stop by our office on Highway 90 at 2140 W. Jefferson Street, Quincy, FL. You can also stay up to date by following us on Facebook at UF IFAS Extension Gadsden County!

Laurie Osgood is a Family and Consumer Sciences Agent for UF/IFAS Extension Gadsden County.


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