Federal Trade Commission

08/05/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 08/05/2020 19:06

Scammers and “customer service” — another imposter scam

Share this page

August 5, 2020
Jabari Cook
Intern, Division of Consumer & Business Education, FTC

If you want to contact a company's customer service department, you can do a quick search online and often find what looks like its phone number or email. But is the information at the top of your search results actually correct?

Based on reports the FTC has gotten, sometimes the answer to that question is: no. Some scammers are creating fake customer service information for popular companies and paying for it to show up in your search results. When you contact them, they'll offer to 'resolve' the problem you may have - if you wire money to them or send gift cards. They might also ask for your personal information, or to get remote access to your computer.

Business imposter scams have the same end goal - getting your money or information. Here are some ways to stay safe:

  • Check the product packaging. If you still have it, the packaging, manual, or other print material for your product is a good source of real customer service information.
  • Visit the company's official website for contact information. Type the company's website address directly into your browser. That will get you to the company's website to look for customer service contact information -maybe a phone number, email address, or a way to submit a message directly through their website. If you use a search engine to find the company, though, double check the URL to be sure you've found the company's official site, not a scammer's site.
  • Never wire money, send gift cards, or give your account password in exchange for customer service help. No legitimate company will ask you to send gift cards or wire money, or give your password in exchange for customer service help.Hang up on anyone who does.

Have you spotted fake customer 'service'? Report it to the FTC at

If you gave personal information to a business imposter, head to for a free, personal recovery plan and advice on how to protect your wallet.

Tagged with: customer service, imposter, scam
Blog Topics:
Money & Credit
  • Add new comment


Our business wa...| August 5, 2020
  • reply

Thank you for this blog. I cannot tell you how sophisticated these scammers really are. I consider myself to be intelligent with healthy skepticism, but fell victim to a fake site in my due diligence. Please share more like this as well as deeper intel on how to report, engage, and get real assistance. Reporting only goes so far.

Luna| August 5, 2020
  • reply

My tech-challenged neighbor fell for this scam when trying to contact HP. Allowed them remote access. On the advice of many of us, he changed all his passwords and got security software. They did have access and he had his tax info on it, so he could suffer ID theft. He's hopefully checking credit reports frequently

TerryMC| August 5, 2020
  • reply

Many times nowadays companies do not furnish much if any manual or instructions for their products so you are indirectly coerced to go online for help. That can be a problem.

Leave a Comment

Read Our Privacy Act Statement

It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC's computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC's Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.

Comment Policy

This is a moderated blog; we review all comments before they are posted. We expect participants to treat each other and the bloggers with respect. We will not post comments that do not comply with our commenting policy. We may edit comments to remove links to commercial websites or personal information before posting them.

We won't post:

  • spam or off-topic comments
  • comments that contain vulgar language, personal attacks, or offensive terms that target specific groups
  • sales pitches or promotions
  • comments that contain clearly misleading or false information
  • comments that contain personal information, like home addresses

Comments submitted to this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personal information. Also, do not use this blog to report fraud; instead, file a complaint.