Tips on Scams

10 Things Every Consumer Should Know

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10 Worst Everyday Scams and How to Avoid Them

DCA warns New Yorkers about 10 Worst Everyday Scams and How to Avoid Them


Avoid charity scams by doing research on the organization before you donate. Get more tips from DCA.

Credit and Debit Card Fraud at ATM and Credit Card Machines

Learn how to protect yourself from card skimmers

Credit Repair Scams

Learn how to spot a credit repair scam


February 24, 2017: DCA is advising any New Yorker that receives a communication from “” or any other email address claiming to be from DCA that does not end in “” to delete it immediately. Learn more about fraudulent complaint notices.

Don't click on links in an email unless you know who sent it. Beware of ransomware, a malware that prevents you from using your computer until you pay money to the scammer. Learn more from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

False Advertising

The New York City Consumer Protection Law prohibits deceptive trade practices. Learn how to spot it and what you can do about it (in PDF)

Identity Theft Prevention Tips

Protect your identity. Download tips (in PDF) in different languages:

Internet Scam Guide

Beware of attractive online ads such as free trial offers to work-at-home opportunities that could be scams to steal your money and identity. Download the guide (in PDF).

NYC Tourists: Visiting NYC?

Read our consumer tips for tourists
Obtener consejos para turistas (Spanish)

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Pet Scams

Seen an ad for a free puppy but then turns out you need to wire money to ship it? It could be a scam! Get tips from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on scammers pretending to sell real pets.

Predatory Lending

Predatory lending is a growing concern in New York City and nationally, one that is disproportionally affecting immigrant New Yorkers and those with low incomes who are already struggling to make ends meet. Combating predatory lending, beginning with the used car industry, is a strategic priority of DCA. Learn how DCA can help you avoid a bad deal at a used car dealership.

Secret Sister Gift Exchange

One scam this holiday season is the Secret Sister Gift Exchange, which is posted on social media and encourages you to mail $10 to the person on the top of the list and, in exchange, you’ll get presents from other participants. This is an illegal chain letter—don’t fall for it.

Targeting Seniors

Grandparent scams can cost seniors an average of $30,000. Don't become a victim, get tips from Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) on Money Smart for Older Adults (in PDF).

Older adults face unique consumer challenges. Read Consumer Protection Tips for Older Adults

Targeting September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF)

Callers were pretending to be with the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) and spoofing their caller ID to make it seem like they are calling from a New York area code. These callers ask questions about the status of a VCF claim, state that you may be entitled to money, and/or ask for personal information (e.g., Social Security Number) in order to mail a claim package or file a claim on your behalf. If you suspect the caller is not VCF staff, HANG UP and call the VCF Helpline directly at 1-855-885-1555 or visit

Note: You can file a complaint about imposter/scam calls to the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP or online at

Tax Scams

March 21, 2018: IRS wraps up ‘Dirty Dozen’ list of tax scams for 2018; Encourages taxpayers to remain vigilant.
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March 6, 2018: Phone Scams Pose Serious Threat; Remain on IRS ‘Dirty Dozen’ List of Tax Scams
Read press release

January 4, 2017: Department of Consumer Affairs and New York City Taxpayer Advocate Warn New Yorkers about Tax Refund Delays and Paid Preparers Who Promise "Express" or "Anticipation" Refunds.
Read press release

March 8, 2016: DCA warns New Yorkers about predatory tax preparer tactics, including overcharging, hidden fees and filing without permission. As part of the City’s annual tax preparer inspections, DCA conducted more than 350 targeted inspections citywide and issued violations to two in every five income tax preparers inspected.
Read press release
Get tips consumer tips regarding tax preparers

March 14, 2016: Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remain a major threat to taxpayers, but now the IRS is receiving new reports of scammers calling under the guise of verifying tax return information over the phone. Read consumer alert from the IRS website


Scammers are manipulating caller ID to show they are calling from a utility company or government agency and demanding money or personal information (e.g., Social Security Number). Don't fall for it!

If you encounter an imposter caller or scam call, hang up and report the call to the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP or online at


Planning a vacation? Beware of travel scams that can lead to a vacation nightmare. Get tips from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

United States Postal Service (USPS) Delivery Alert Scam

Missed USPS package delivery? Beware of bogus email virus messages. Read warning from U.S. Postal Inspection Service (in PDF).