Do you ever look for products or information online by typing a word into a search engine? I do too. By now, I bet we both know there’s no guarantee that the first result will be the best one. Anyone can set up shop online with almost any name. You may get links to pages that are out-of-date, off-topic, or stocked with low-quality products. Here are some tips for your next search.
Friends and family are getting emails or messages you didn’t send. Or your social media accounts have posts you didn’t make. What can you do when it looks like someone’s taken over your account? Here are the steps you can follow if you get hacked.
TXT MSG: U won a FREE gift card!! Go 2 TXMSGSPAM, enter code $$$ to claim card within 24 hrs.
RU getting the MSG? Recently, the FTC moved to shut down a network of scammers who sent spam texts that promised “free” gifts, prizes, electronics, or gift cards. The catch? Clicking on the links in the texts sent recipients on a wild goose chase: a confusing and elaborate process that required them to pay for subscription services, apply for credit, or enter sensitive personal information – including their phone numbers. There were no free gifts or gift cards, but there were plenty of follow-up illegal robocalls.
Earlier this week, more than 50 legal services practitioners joined together with staff from the FTC, USCIS, DOJ, the CFTC, the CFPB, and the SEC to talk about scams against the immigrant community – present and future.
The results of the half-day forum were illuminating for all of us. We found out about all sorts of creative scams targeting immigrants – more about that in a minute. But, just as important, we heard about the hard work and creative solutions that advocates are undertaking to help protect immigrant communities.
The latest in unwelcome, illegal, prerecorded sales calls are from scammers pitching a safety alert system for older adults.
The callers spoof a phone number so it looks like a local call on caller ID. If you pick up, you’ll hear a message saying you’re eligible for an alert system, or system upgrade, or that someone bought a system for you. The message asks you to “press one” on your phone to talk to a live operator, who will quickly ask for a bank account, credit card, or Medicare number, and maybe an address, to “expedite shipping and handling.”
Attorney, Division of Consumer & Business Education, FTC
A new variation of the fake check scam is making the rounds. It works like this: scammers place ads on the internet or send mass emails to attract people looking for extra money. They claim they will pay to shrink-wrap your car with an advertisement of a popular company. All you have to do is drive your car as you normally would.
Health insurance is changing under the Affordable Care Act. Starting on October 1, 2013, people who are uninsured or who buy their own coverage can sign up for health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Why write about this now, if enrollment doesn’t start until October? Because we’ve already heard from consumers and other federal agencies that scammers are trying to convince people to act, and give up money or personal information. Scammers want to get to you before you have time to think.
Associate Director, Division of Marketing Practices, FTC
Do you trust people more if they’re like you, or a part of your community? Scammers bet that you do. Every day, they take advantage of that unconscious trust.
It’s called “affinity fraud” — when someone in a group uses their membership in that group to scam another member. Think religious, ethnic, or professional groups. Might you be willing to hear more about a deal if a member of your church asks you to? Or take advice from someone who speaks your same language? Through the FTC’s Legal Services Collaboration, we’ve heard of cases just like that.
Today the FTC and federal, state, and international law enforcement partners announced 191 recent actions against companies scamming travelers and timeshare property owners. Many of the cases — including the FTC’s — involved timeshare resale scams.