Stop the scam

Scams and fraud cost Vermonters hundreds of thousands of dollars every year. Scammers use every tool available to steal money and information from consumers. Since most scams originate overseas and use sophisticated technology, we can't stop them with traditional law enforcement means alone. To stop the scams, we need to work together to protect Vermonters from losses to scams and fraud. Here's how:

Get informed

Knowledge is power. Sign up to receive instant alerts by text, voice or e-mail message from the Attorney General about new scams as they hit Vermont. Find information on common scams on this website, our Facebook page, or the FTC Scam Alerts site. Stay informed to protect yourself and others!

Spread the word

Share what you know with others so they can protect themselves from loss. Whether it's around the dinner table, out with friends, visiting with relatives or chatting with co-workers, make sure those around you stay informed and aware!

Stop the scam

If you or someone you know are being targeted by scammers, take action to prevent loss. There are a few simple steps you can take:

  • Hang up! Scammers will try to keep you on the phone. The best way to avoid getting scammed is to hang up the phone. Don't try to talk with them, just end the call. If the conversation is online or by text/e-mail, stop responding, or block the sender. 
  • Call us! Whether you need help for yourself or someone else, we want to talk with you. If it is outside of our normal business hours, you can send us an e-mail or leave a voice message. If you need immediate assistance, contact your local law enforcement agency or call 2-1-1 for information and referrals to other helping agencies.
  • Stop payment! If money has been sent (by wire transfer, mail, gift card, or any other means), contact the bank or institution you sent it through right away to stop the money before it is picked up. Usually the funds are picked up quickly by scammers, but it's worth trying!

Want to learn more? Keep reading to get informed about common scams affecting Vermonters.

The "IRS" Scam

The IRS scam commonly involves a telephone call (sometimes with an automated message) saying you owe “back taxes” or outstanding payments to the government. The callers claim to be federal agents with the "Internal Revenue Service”, “IRS”, or “US Treasury and Legal Affairs.” Don’t respond to these callers. If you think you may actually owe back taxes, hang up and contact the IRS directly at 1 (800) 829-1040.

The "Tech Support" Scam

You might get a call or pop-up message on your computer claiming to be from Microsoft/Windows or another tech company claiming there is a virus or other serious problem with your computer. They will try to persuade you to give remote access to your computer. Never allow remote access to your computer or click links in a strange e-mail or pop-up message! Turn off your computer! Don't give your credit card number to someone who calls you!

The "Grandparent" Scam

Scammers call, claiming to be a grandchild, friend/relative or romantic interest reportedly in distress and needing money to be wired or transmitted with a reloadable card, gift card (like iTunes), PayPal account payment, cash or check/money order.  Victims of this scam often say the caller sounded just like the friend or loved one being impersonated. Never wire or otherwise send funds. Hang up, and call back on a number you know is valid to be sure!

Medical Products and Supplies, Insurance and Prescription Scams

Callers claim to be with Medicare or Medicaid, seeking personal information or claiming they are the authorized provider of medical supplies, prescriptions or other services. Verify any such call with your insurance provider separately, or with your physician. Never give out your personal information to a caller!

Craigslist/Online Listings

These on-line scams involve fake rental listings and requests to cash a fake check and send money to a shipper/agent in order to complete an online transaction. Be cautions when dealing online. Never give out personal information before seeing a rental listing in person. Be suspicious when someone wants to pay you more for something than what it is worth; make arrangements to pay in cash and in person whenever possible!

Unclaimed Funds- Grants, Rebates and Settlements

Calls, mailings and e-mail messages claiming that you are eligible for a government grant, and unclaimed rebate or settlement, or other unclaimed funds. No legitimate grant will require you to pay a fee for processing, and you can find out if there are unclaimed funds in your name by contacting the Vermont Treasurer's Office.

Business-Targeted Scams

Vermont businesses were also on the receiving end of scams, including utility disconnection threats, unsolicited/fake invoices, fake orders of goods or services, imposters of business personnel, and IRS debt collection scams. The imposter of business personnel scam was particularly concerning as the businesses are contacted by someone that claims to be their CEO, or other internal business representative, which can be easily fabricated.  Once connected, the imposter CEO or other employee requests a large bank wire transfer, which is typically irretrievable. It is important that businesses establish internal processes to ensure payments are being sent to valid sources!