Imagine this: it’s the hottest day of the year. (Or, since we’re getting into Fall, the coldest.) Someone from your utility company calls to say they’re about to cut off your power. You check the caller ID, and it looks like the right number – at least, it’s in your area code. You know you’ve paid your bill, and you can’t imagine what happened – but you also know you can’t afford to lose power. So what do you do?
Con artists are trying to steal money from people by falsely claiming they are associated with the federal courts, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The imposters tell people they are entitled to refunds as part of cases brought by the FTC against companies that engaged in timeshare resale fraud. People are told they must pay several hundred dollars in “court costs,” “processing fees” or “filing fees” to get their refunds. The scammers may use an actual FTC case number to lend some legitimacy to their pitch. DO NOT GIVE THESE IMPOSTERS MONEY. THIS IS A SCAM.
According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, almost 9 out of 10 Latino teens have access to the internet. And with tablets and smartphones, they could be online away from your home and your watchful eyes—even the ones in the back of your head.
As a parent, there’s a lot you can do to protect your kids online. And you don’t have to be tech savvy to do it. Research shows that the best way to protect your kids online is to talk to them. So where can you start? This video helps you talk to your kids about being safe online.
Do you sometimes find it hard to tell ads from surrounding content when you’re online or using a mobile app? Have you ever wondered whether the article you selected is actually an ad? If your answer is yes, you may be interested in an upcoming FTC workshop.
September is National Preparedness Month and a good time to prepare your family, pets, and property for extreme weather situations. The FTC has information to help you prepare for, deal with, and recover from different aspects of a weather emergency.
Starting October 1, people will have new ways to buy health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. As opening day approaches, the media will no doubt carry more stories about the Health Insurance Marketplace, how to enroll, and where to get legitimate help. Now that’s the kind of news you can use.
One other piece of news that’s useful: federal and state agencies are working together to encourage consumers to report scammers who use the Health Insurance Marketplace as bait.
Yet another text message. Who’s this one from? Seriously? A debt collector?
Getting texts from debt collectors might be annoying, but it’s not illegal. What is illegal is an incomplete disclosure and a harassing or deceptive attempt to collect money. For example, it’s against the law for debt collectors to pretend to be attorneys or falsely threaten to sue you, regardless of how they communicate — through texts, through letters, or through phone calls.
Assistant Director, Division of Privacy & Identity Protection, FTC
To some scammers, older Americans are an attractive target — over a lifetime of saving, they may have built up a nest egg for retirement or equity in their home. Like Willie Sutton, scammers go where the money is. So banks and other financial institutions play a key role in protecting their customers from abuse and exploitation. Financial institutions are often in the best position to recognize suspicious activity relating to an account.
Attorney, Division of Consumer & Business Education, FTC
Whether you’re setting out on your own or teaching people about financial issues like making and saving money, using credit, or managing debt, it pays to have some everyday strategies.
Managing your finances takes time and effort—and can raise lots of questions. That’s why we’re hosting a Hispanic Heritage Month Twitter chat in Spanish this Thursday, September 26, at 1 p.m. Eastern/10 a.m. Pacific. FTC staff will be ready to take your questions – in Spanish.