January 2013

Robocall Challenge: Your Entries Are In!

Last October, the FTC challenged innovators to create solutions to block those annoying — and illegal — robocalls. We’re happy to announce that we received 744 eligible submissions before the FTC Robocall Challenge closed on January 17, 2013. You can check out a brief description of each entry in the Challenge submission gallery. Way to go, innovators!

 

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

When Home Insulation Claims Are Full of Hot Air

The FTC has announced that the owner of Energy Conservation Specialists (aka Thermalcool), a home insulation business, will pay up for telling people they could save 40 to 60% on their energy bills with his products — a claim he couldn’t prove — and for exaggerating the insulating power of his products.

Blog Topics: 
Homes & Mortgages

Car Payments Taking Their Toll?

Owning a car can be a big responsibility. And while you may have gotten up to speed on proper tire inflation and when to replace worn wiper blades, there are some other key things to know. 

For instance, if you took out a loan to buy your car, you don’t own the car until you pay off the loan. If you don’t pay, the lender can repossess the car. You might be tempted by companies that promise to lower your monthly car payments if you pay them a fee first.  They might even claim they can help you stop the repossession process.  Put on the brakes. Those promises usually are lies or half-truths from scammers who can’t possibly deliver.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Make Data Security Part of Your Routine

Yesterday was Data Privacy Day, and though it’s just one day a year, we hope you’ll make data security part of your regular routine.

 

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

FTC Commissioner Kicks Off Data Privacy Day

This morning, FTC Commissioner Maureen K. Ohlhausen spoke at a Data Privacy Day event at George Washington University in Washington, DC.

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

Pyramids of Fortune?

Thinking of joining a multilevel marketing program to make some extra money? Before diving in, make sure you’re not dealing with a pyramid scheme. They’re illegal, and for good reason.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

Gear up for a Great National Consumer Protection Week!

The 15th annual National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) is March 3 - 9. Government agencies, advocacy organizations, and private sector groups from coast to coast have come together here to share information that can help you make smart decisions about a slew of subjects, including privacy protection, money and debt management, and recognizing identity theft, frauds and scams.

Buying Jewelry for Valentine’s Day?

Nothing says “Be My Valentine” more than a box of chocolates, flowers, and a poetic love note.

Unless it’s a heart-thumping piece of jewelry!

If you’re thinking about buying jewelry for your sweetheart, there are a few things to know about platinum, gold and silver, and gemstones, diamonds and pearls.  A little knowledge can help you avoid buyers’ remorse.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Data Privacy Day Is January 28th

Data privacy is so important, there’s a day dedicated to it. The National Cyber Security Alliance is kicking off Data Privacy Day with an event on January 28, 2013, at the George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C. Panelists will explore data stewardship and privacy innovation, as well as the implications for personal information in an on-demand mobile environment.  FTC Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen will keynote the event.

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Winter’s here, and boy, does your utility bill show it! If you’ve got a minute, take a listen to some tips from the FTC on how to cut your energy costs. 

Audio Tips

Blog Topics: 
Homes & Mortgages

FTC to Debt Collectors: Play by the Rules!

If you’re behind in paying your bills, you may be contacted by a debt collector — someone who regularly collects debts owed to others. This includes collection agencies, lawyers who collect debts on a regular basis, and companies that buy delinquent debts and then try to collect them.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Beware of Business Coaching Scams

Have you seen websites or ads, or gotten telephone calls that say a home-based internet business could be your ticket to making easy cash? Some claim a business coaching program will help you get going. Before you respond to an offer for business coaching services, keep your money in your wallet and your eye on a recent case brought by the FTC.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

The Clock Is Ticking for Students Seeking Financial Aid

It’s that time of year again. If you’re a college student seeking financial aid, you should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as you can. While the deadline for submitting the FAFSA is June 30th, many states and schools allocate funds on a first-come, first-served basis, and some states have deadlines for filing the FAFSA to be eligible for certain kinds of aid.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Scammers Target Businesses with Fake Emails

A favorite trick for rip-off artists is to pretend to represent a trust-worthy and respected organization. Today – and we mean that literally -- we’re hearing from businesses that have received email exploiting the good name of the Federal Trade Commission. We don’t want you to lose money or valuable information to a scam artist sending a phony message claiming you’re a target of the FTC.

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

Finding Qualified Help with Immigration

Immigration can be a complicated process. It’s reasonable to want help navigating it. And it’s vital to find qualified help. But it’s equally important to be careful about who helps you. Friends and relatives may offer advice, or a business owner or notario may promise good results for a low fee. Here at the Federal Trade Commission, we hear from people who have gotten bad advice from trusted friends and relatives or who have lost their money to unscrupulous notarios. In the worst cases, they’ve lost their chance to immigrate.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

New Year’s Resolution: Don’t Buy into Diet Ads

Let me guess… one of your resolutions is to lose weight this year. And, sure, there are products that claim they can help you shed the weight. But an FTC case reveals some weight-loss claims are hard to swallow.

Got a minute? Get the skinny on diet ads and weight-loss products from the FTC’s new audio tip.

Diet Ads

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

A Healthy Dose of Skepticism

New products that make big claims about health benefits seem to pop up all the time — like ads for dietary supplements that claim they can help you lose weight, get allergies under control, or prevent the common cold. But how do you know if those claims are true?

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

Have You Been Bamboozled?

Bamboo: it’s not just for tiki huts anymore. In fact, because it grows quickly and with little or no pesticide, it has become popular in products that range from flooring to furniture.

But according to recent FTC lawsuits against Amazon.com, Leon Max, Macy’s, and Sears, when it comes to soft textiles, like shirts or sheets, items that are advertised as bamboo are really rayon. What’s worse? Some bamboo wannabes were promoted as environmentally friendly, but manufacturing rayon — even when it’s made from bamboo — is far from a “green” process.
 

Make Computer Security One of Your New Year’s Resolutions

Exercise more. Floss daily. Remember anniversary this year. Something’s missing… computer security! Your list of resolutions isn’t complete until you add “update my security software” and “protect my passwords” to the mix. Don’t worry, it’s not time consuming. Protecting yourself from scammers, hackers, and identity thieves is definitely something you’ll want to do this year.

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity