Consumer Information Blog

“Free” products weren’t really free

The story: a company says its product will help you lose weight without diet changes or exercise, and you can try it free — 100% satisfaction guaranteed.

The reality: the company can’t support — or deliver on — those weight loss claims. If you give your credit or debit account number, you get charged $60 to $210 every month — and it’s almost impossible to get a refund.

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Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

How to guard against Ebola-related charity scams

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the unprecedented Ebola epidemic in West Africa has taken the lives of more than 4,000 people. Many people are asking how they can help. If you’re looking for a way to give, the Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, urges you to do some research to ensure that your donation will go to a reputable organization that will use the money as promised.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Is that health insurance website for real?

Shopping for health insurance online? Before making your final purchase – read on. Health insurance scams have been preying on vulnerable consumers through websites selling medical discount plans.

Beware of mystery shopper scams

I confess… I once was a mystery shopper. Decades ago, I shopped at stores to see what they were charging for certain products and visited restaurant chains to evaluate the food and service. I wrote up a report, sent it in, and received a check for my work. Nothing I could make a living from, but it helped fill the gas tank.

Back then, it didn’t occur to me that responding to a mystery or secret shopper ad could set me up for a scam. Now I know – if you’re looking to make extra money as a mystery shopper, it pays to do some homework to make sure the job is real.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

Avoid a vacation property rental scam

Ready to start booking your next vacation? Maybe you’re thinking about renting a house or condo. These days it’s easy to connect directly with property owners who advertise their vacation homes online, and you’ve probably heard wonderful stories from people who rent vacation properties. We have, too. But we’ve also heard from people who’ve fallen for vacation rental scams.

Blog Topics: 
Homes & Mortgages

A lesson for WordSmart: Tell the truth

If you’re a parent, you want to see your child succeed in school. So it may seem like a wise investment when a company claims that its products will improve your kids’ grades, test scores, IQ, reading speed and comprehension and even offers a money-back guarantee. The problem? The FTC found that a company making these claims, WordSmart Corporation, allegedly had no substantiation to support them and relied on outright lies to generate business.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Scammers bank on Ebola fears

One thing we’ve learned at the Federal Trade Commission is that scams often follow the news – especially when there’s a health scare in the headlines.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

AT&T’s $105 million “cramming” settlement leads to refunds

Ongoing efforts by the FTC and its federal and state partners to stop mobile cramming have resulted in a whopping $105 million dollar settlement with AT&T — the biggest to date with a prominent mobile phone carrier. Even better news for affected AT&T customers? They might be eligible for a refund.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Be smart about your phone

You just bought the latest smartphone. You loaded all your favorite apps — online banking, GPS, even an app to track your health. 

But now your phone is full of information about you — how much money you have, where you are and whether you’ve gained a little weight. Your information can cause problems if it’s in the wrong hands. Want to protect it? These tips are for you.

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Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

FTC: Telemarketing scam stole money from older consumers

How low can scammers go? As low as stealing from older consumers to line their own pockets. The FTC says some scammers claimed to be calling on behalf of the government to verify information for a new Medicare card or Medicare-related package. In fact, it was a ruse to get people’s bank account information to make unauthorized withdrawals from their accounts.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

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