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Fraud Squad Alert

RED FLAGS - How to Recognize a Scam

Imposter scams are on the rise again. The criminals trying to convince you they are someone they’re NOT can be very convincing. Covid vaccine appointment scams, Covid vaccine survey scams, and stimulus check scams are among the most common. If you become familiar with what to listen and look for (RED FLAGS), you can avoid becoming a victim.

Phone Red Flags

1. If you don’t recognize the phone number, it could be a scam. DON’T ANSWER!
2. If caller ID says, “Social Security, Internal Revenue, Medicare, UPMC, Duquesne Light,” it is most likely a scam. DON’T ANSWER!
3. If the caller asks for personal information, it’s a scam. DON’T GIVE IT.
4. If the caller threatens you, it’s a scam. HANG UP!
5. If the caller pressures you, they’re trying to take advantage of you. HANG UP!
6. If what the caller is offering is ‘too good to be true,’ IT IS!

Email Red Flags

1. If the sender’s email address includes a series of letters & numbers or doesn’t match the message, it’s probably a scam.
2. If there are misspellings, grammar errors, or other odd symbols in the message, it’s most likely a scam.
3. If message wants you to “CLICK HERE,” beware! There are often many places in scam messages to “CLICK HERE,” including ‘unsubscribe.’ DON’T click on any links unless you are absolutely sure that the message is not a scam.
4. If message asks for personal information, it’s a scam!
5. If the message is pushing an offer that sounds ‘too good to be true,’ IT IS!


1. DON’T ANSWER YOUR PHONE unless you recognize the phone number. Program important numbers (family, friends, medical professionals, etc.) into your phone. Let all unfamiliar calls go to voicemail. For emails, DON’T CLICK HERE!
2. Don’t trust your caller ID. Criminals can “spoof” the number to look any way they want.
3. Look up the number or email address before responding.
4. NEVER GIVE PERSONAL INFORMATION to caller, email sender or texter.
5. Report scam to the FTC. (Optional, but recommended) 1-877-382-4357 or
6. Call someone reliable if you’re not sure of what to do.

Questions? Contact one of your District Attorney’s SENIOR JUSTICE ADVOCATES:


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