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Even if you haven’t fallen for a scam, we’ve all encountered them – on the phone, online, and sometimes even in person.

Nevada is the third most fraudulent state after Florida and Georgia, according to a 2018 report by the Federal Trade Commission.

Attorney General Aaron Ford said part of the reason for that is Nevada's pro-business climate.

"In our state, it is very easy to create a business here," he said. "We're very business friendly ... That creates other opportunities for nefarious activities as well."

Ford also said our tourism industry makes it easy for scammers to find victims and the transient nature of the state allows for more fraud.

He said one of the best things people can do to fight fraud in the state is to come forward with complaints if they or someone they love has been targeted.

Laura Tucker is the senior deputy attorney general for the Bureau of Consumer Protection. She said a current scam going around targets young people who play the popular game Fortnite.

In the game, players use V-Bucks to buy new weaponry, costumes for characters — referred to as "skins" — and dances for their characters.

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Scammers are creating fake websites that offer "free" V-Bucks in exchange for credit card numbers and personal information.

Tucker said the only legitimate to get the V-Bucks is through the Fortnite game. 

However, when buying from that game or anything else only, she said it is important to use a credit card and not a debit card.

"A debit card is tied to your bank account, and you have a finite amount of money in there," she said. "... If someone gets a hold of your debit card, then they are able to completely drain the actual money that you've got in your account."

Also, when you file a dispute with a credit card company about charges, they'll credit back your account while the case is investigated. Banks do not have to do that. 

The attorney general also warned about social media scams, where fraudsters mimic a real identity on Facebook or LinkedIn and then try to get personal information from a real person's friends.

Among seniors, scammers will use social media to contact someone who has recently lost a spouse and try to get money from them by pretending to be a friend or a romantic partner.

They also said that robocalls continue to be a problem. While the national Do-not-call list stops legitimate businesses, Tucker said scammers do not care and will call people on the list.

She suggests blocking calls on your smartphone or using an app that will block telemarketing and scam calls.

Ford and attorneys general across the country sent a letter this week to Congress asking that more teeth be put into laws designed to stop robocalls. 

10 Things You Can Do to Avoid Fraud from the Federal Trade Commission

Spot imposters. Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust, like a government officiala family membera charity, or a company you do business with. Don’t send money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected request — whether it comes as a text, a phone call, or an email.  

Do online searches. Type a company or product name into your favorite search engine with words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.” Or search for a phrase that describes your situation, like “IRS call.” You can even search for phone numbers to see if other people have reported them as scams.

Don’t believe your caller ID. Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID information, so the name and number you see aren’t always real. If someone calls asking for money or personal information, hang up. If you think the caller might be telling the truth, call back to a number you know is genuine.

Don’t pay upfront for a promise. Someone might ask you to pay in advance for things like debt relief, credit and loan offers, mortgage assistance, or a job. They might even say you’ve won a prize, but first you have to pay taxes or fees. If you do, they will probably take the money and disappear. 

Consider how you pay. Credit cards have significant fraud protection built in, but some payment methods don’t. Wiring money through services like Western Union or MoneyGram is risky because it’s nearly impossible to get your money back. That’s also true for reloadable cards (like MoneyPak or Reloadit) and gift cards (like iTunes or Google Play). Government offices and honest companies won’t require you to use these payment methods.

Talk to someone. Before you give up your money or personal information, talk to someone you trust. Con artists want you to make decisions in a hurry. They might even threaten you. Slow down, check out the story, do an online search, consult an expert — or just tell a friend.

Hang up on robocalls. If you answer the phone and hear a recorded sales pitch, hang up and report it to the FTC. These calls are illegal, and often the products are bogus. Don’t press 1 to speak to a person or to be taken off the list. That could lead to more calls.

Be skeptical about free trial offers. Some companies use free trials to sign you up for products and bill you every month until you cancel. Before you agree to a free trial, research the company and read the cancellation policy. And always review your monthly statements for charges you don’t recognize.

Don’t deposit a check and wire money back. By law, banks must make funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a fake check can take weeks. If a check you deposit turns out to be a fake, you’re responsible for repaying the bank.

Sign up for free scam alerts from the FTC at ftc.gov/scamsGet the latest tips and advice about scams sent right to your inbox.

 

RESOURCES

Contact the Attorney General

Nevada Fight Fraud

Consumer Protection Hotline 

Hotline in Nevada (702) 486-3132
Toll-Free (888-434-9989)
 

Advice from Nevada Consumer Affairs:

If you suspect a scam:

  • Hang up the phone
  • Shred the mail solicitation
  • Don't open the door if you don't know who it is
  • Delete the email
  • Terminate your visit to the website

Better Business Bureau

Consumer Financial Protect Bureau

Scam Alerts - Federal Trade Commission

Scam, Fraud Alerts - AARP

Guests

Aaron Ford, Nevada Attorney General; Laura Tucker, senior deputy attorney general

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