Behind the Screen

Choose whether you think each scenario is safe or a scam.

And keep in mind, these kinds of conversations can happen anywhere—on the phone, by text, or online.

Question 1 of 5
Hey there. I know this is forward but could you help me out with something? I need it rather urgently.
Oh no, what happened?
My son just had an accident and I need money to pay his bills.
I hate to ask but can you send us EnormoMart GIFT CARDS of $100 or $200 face value?
What do you think?

Correct!
It's a scam!
Whoops, it’s a scam.

You’re right, someone asking for gift cards and demanding money fast is trying to scam you. Though it might look like a friend is suffering, someone asking for gift cards fast is surely trying to scam you.

Question 2 of 5
We’ve got great news for you. You’ve won a contest for a free trip to Hawaii!
Wow, really? I don’t remember entering, but I’d sure love to go!
Yes, congratulations! Now, the flight and hotel are all paid for, you just need to pay the taxes and fees. Do you have a credit card handy?
What do you think?

Correct!
It's a scam!
Darn! This is a scam.

This news was way too good to be true. You’re right to be suspicious of things happening out of the blue. Surprise dreams of going to the beach will leave you high and dry. Sadly, this good news out of the blue is just too good to be true.

Question 3 of 5
Hello, this is the Social Security Administration. We are ready to wire you your increased benefits but we need more information from you. First, please verify your full name.
My name is Mary Doe.
Next, we need to verify your Social Security number. For security purposes we cannot read it to you, we need you to tell us so we can double-check against our records.
What do you think?

Nice! You spotted this scammer. Oh no! This is a scam.

Government agencies simply don’t call out of the blue to ask you to provide your full Social Security number. Way to see through their fake “security purposes!” Government agencies simply don’t call out of the blue to ask you to provide your full Social Security number. This person is tricking you into giving out sensitive information.

Question 4 of 5
Hello, this is your local electric utility calling with a special offer. Are you interested in having your house be 100% solar- and wind-powered?
Sure, sounds like a nice way to help the planet. How much does it cost?
It won’t cost you anything at all. This is part of a statewide initiative to move to renewable energy sources. We will need to send a representative out to walk you through it. What day works best for you?
What do you think?

Correct! This is a safe conversation. Actually, this one’s fine.

They’re not asking for money or any personal details, so you’re in the clear to go green. They’re not asking for money or any personal details, so you’re in the clear to go green.

Question 5 of 5
Hi, honey. Can you believe we’ve been chatting for two months? I’d love to meet up sometime soon.
Oh, my dear, in fact I was planning a surprise visit, but my car just broke down!
I need a $200 gift card to buy the parts to repair it. Could you send it to me? I’ll take you to the fanciest place in town to repay you once I can drive again.
What do you think?

Correct! It's a scam. Uh-oh. This is a scam.

Scammers often build trust and then eventually ask for gift cards to get your money. Way to spot this fraudulent flirt! The hallmark of a romance scammer is building up trust before making up a reason for you to send a gift card.

You got out of !
That’s pretty scam smart! That’s not too bad! Oops! You didn't spot many scams.

You’re a sharp scam spotter! Up for another try? Care for a refresher?
See the tips
See the tips
Did you know gift card scams were responsible for $1 billion in reported losses to the FTC last year? Source Did you know in 2019 gift cards were the #1 means for scammers to take money from older adults? Source 74% of scams start on the phone. Source In 2019, there were 1.7 million fraud reports to the FTC. Source Regardless of the type of scam, no legitimate sale or transaction will require you to pay specifically with gift cards. Source Did you know romance scams reap higher losses than any other scam reported to the FTC? Consumers reported losing a staggering $201 million to romance scams in 2019. Source