Protecting Yourself From Scams & Fraud

If you were scammed or think you saw a scam please call our Scams hotline at (718) 556-7226 (SCAM) or contact us at: [email protected]

The Staten Island District Attorney’s Office is here to help you avoid scams and protect you from different types of fraud.

Our office’s Economic Crimes Bureau prosecutes a wide range of fraud and scam cases each year, but we know that prevention and education is key to combating this issue before it negatively impacts your life.

Scams are constantly changing, but you can protect yourself from falling victim to fraud by knowing what to look out for. RCDA's scams webpage provides educational tools and resources for Staten Islanders to learn more about how to avoid scams.

Submit a Scam Tip

Four Signs That It’s A Scam

Four Signs That It’s A Scam

number one with a blue circle around it

Scammers Pretend To Be From An Organization You Know.

Scammers often pretend to be contacting you on behalf of the government. They might use a real name, like the Social Security Administration, the IRS, or Medicare, or make up a name that sounds official. Some pretend to be from a business you know, like a utility company, a tech company, or even a charity asking for donations. They use technology to change the phone number that appears on your caller ID. So the name and number you see might not be real.

vector art hand holding a cell phone with a robot IRS incoming call
number 2

Scammers Say There’s A Problem Or A Prize.

They might say you’re in trouble with the government. Or you owe money. Or someone in your family had an emergency. Or that there’s a virus on your computer. Some scammers say there’s a problem with one of your accounts and that you need to verify some information. Others will lie and say you won money in a lottery or sweepstakes but have to pay a fee to get it.

laptop with hands coming out with money
number 3

Scammers Pressure You To Act Immediately.

Scammers want you to act before you have time to think. If you’re on the phone, they might tell you not to hang up so you can’t check out their story. They might threaten to arrest you, sue you, take away your driver’s or business license, or deport you. They might say your computer is about to be corrupted.

vector art laptop with files and a fishing hook
number 4

Scammers Tell You To Pay In A Specific Way.

They often insist that you pay by sending money through a money transfer company or by putting money on a gift card and then giving them the number on the back. Some will send you a check (that will later turn out to be fake), tell you to deposit it, and then send them money.
vector art two iphones next to each other with a payment transaction happening

Slam the scam!

Scams come in many different forms. Learn more about how to protect yourself and others with the helpful links below.

Slam the scam!

Scams come in many different forms. Learn more about how to protect yourself and others with the helpful links below.

What To Do If You Have Been Scammed

What To Do If You Have Been Scammed

If You Paid A Scammer

Scammers can be very convincing.

They call, email, and send us text messages trying to get our money or our sensitive personal information — like our Social Security number or account numbers. And they're good at what they do. Take these steps if you have paid someone you think is a scammer or gave them your personal information. Make sure to file a police report with your local precinct.

did you pay with a credit or debit card?

Contact the company or bank that issued the card. Tell them it was a fraudulent charge and ask them if they are able to reverse the charge.

Did a scammer make an unauthorized transfer from your bank account?

Contact your bank and tell them it was an unauthorized debit or withdrawal. Ask them to reverse the transaction and refund your money.

Did you pay with a gift card?

Contact the company that issued the gift card. Tell them it was used in a scam and ask if they can refund your money. Keep the gift card itself, and the gift card receipt.

Did you send a wire transfer through a company like Western Union or MoneyGram?

Contact your bank and report the fraudulent transfer. Ask if they can reverse the wire transfer and give you your money back.

Did you send money through a money transfer app?

Report the fraudulent transaction to the company behind the money transfer app (Cash App, Venmo, PayPal) and ask if they can reverse the payment. If you linked the app to a credit card or debit card, report the fraud to your credit card company or bank. Ask if they can reverse the charge.

If You Gave A Scammer Your Personal Information:

Go to IdentityTheft.gov to see what steps you should take, including how to monitor your credit.

Did You Give A Scammer Your Username And Password?

Create a new, strong password. If you use the same password anywhere else, change it there too.

If A Scammer Has Access To Your Computer Or Phone:

Update your computer’s security software, run a scan, and delete anything it identifies as a problem. Then take other steps to protect your personal information.