Scam Alert: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Does Not Email Regarding Pending Investigations

The scam tries to get people to click on a link in the email for more information

Scam Alert: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Does Not Email Regarding Pending Investigations
Image: NCCC
December 28, 2016

Have you received an email from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) asking you to click on a link to get more information about an investigation? Don't panic and don't click the link. It's a scam.

Consumerist reports that this scam is based on the same principle as IRS tax scams. Because most people are afraid of the consequences of government investigation or enforcement, they might be convinced to click on a link that they normally wouldn't or to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars in iTunes gift cards.

According to the FTC, the email that one person received went something like this:

"This notification has been automatically sent to you because we have received a consumer complaint, claiming that your company is violating the CCPA (Consumer Credit Protection Act).

According to our policy, we have initiated a formal investigation before taking legal action. You can download the document containing the complaint and the plaintiff contact information, from…"

The point of the scam is to get people to click the "download" link. This link may collect the user's personal information or deliver malware that could make your computer a "zombie spam-sending machine," as Consumerist put it, or lock away your files until you pay a ransom to get them back.

Remember, the real FTC does not email news about pending investigations, and you should never click on a link in any unexpected email.