Attorney, FTC's Division of Consumer & Business Education
If you serve – or have served – in the military, chances are you feel a pretty tight bond with your brothers- and sisters-in-arms. If you share a common experience with someone, it only makes sense that you trust them, want to associate with them, or even do business with them.
But here’s something to bear in mind: scammers count on your trust in fellow servicemembers – and use it against you. A con artist might have actual service experience or they might be lying about it. Either way, they’re highly skilled at exploiting a military connection to get in good with you. Once they have your trust, they use it to deflect any questions and to throw you off track while they cheat you. It’s known as affinity fraud – when someone uses their membership in a group to scam another member. It could be someone claiming you can trust them because of the shared experience of serving in the military.
Your social media feed is abuzz with stories of people making serious money selling an energy drink. Not one to miss out an opportunity, you do a quick search and come across a viral video. The guy making the pitch insists you can make thousands of dollars a month. “Forget working 9 to 5. Join the Young People Revolution!” he says. You think to yourself, “I’m young people! And I can totally get on board with a revolution.”
Slow your roll, my friend. Before you shell out a wad of cash and start making pitches to your friends, you should know that the FTC just filed a complaint against the company behind the pitch.
Online scammers are recruiting. They’re looking for people to help them transfer money and stolen goods. Of course, they don’t come right out and say that’s what they want. Instead, they claim to offer work at home jobs or pretend to be your romantic partner and ask you for a ‘favor.’ The scammers’ goal: to use your bank account, personal information and address to help them steal money.
Rachel and her cohorts — Anne, Tiffany, Michael, Heather and others — from “Card Services” have been annoying people for years with their illegal robocalls. And the FTC is working hard to stop them — both bringing cases and hosting competitions to develop robocall-blocking technology. So, what’s the deal with these calls, and why won’t they stop? We’ve got answers to your top 3 questions.
Salmonella, E. Coli, H1N1, MRSA. Yuck. If you’re looking to kill some germs, there’s no shortage of products out there to help you do the job. But do all of the products work like their ads say they will?
In the case of Angel Sales and Zadro Health Solutions, two companies that claimed their ultraviolet (UV) light devices could kill nearly all viruses and bacteria, the FTC says there wasn’t enough proof.
Want to work from home? How about a job helping small businesses get loans or cash advances?
For people recruited by Money Now Funding (aka Nationwide Lending, among other names), it seemed like a great opportunity. In reality, it was a con. People were left loaded with debt — sometimes tens of thousands of dollars of debt — and no income. Today the FTC announced that the companies behind the scheme have been shut down.
For the second year in a row, the FTC traveled to DEF CON, an annual hacker conference, to enlist tech gurus to help fight robocalls. This year, the FTC hosted Robocalls: Humanity Strikes Back, which challenged contestants to create tools people could use to block and forward robocalls automatically. Forwarded calls go to a honeypot — a data collection system that researchers and investigators can use to study the calls.
Contest Winners Ethan Garr and Bryan Moyles at DEF CON 23