Assistant Director, Consumer & Business Education, FTC
At the FTC, we’ve been warning people away from foreign lottery scams for years. So when one of our colleagues recently got an official-looking mailer from Canada, titled “RE: PRIZE WINNING NOTIFICATION,” we turned to our own advice to check it out.
As part of the Federal Trade Commission's ongoing efforts to stop scammers who target older people, the operator of a bogus precious metals telemarketing scheme that bilked millions of dollars from them is permanently banned from selling any investment opportunity under a settlement with the agency.
Here’s a tip that’s worth repeating:
Don’t click on a link in a text message you get on your phone that says you’ve won a terrific prize or a gift card. Don’t reply either. It’s probably a scam.
The Federal Trade Commission settled charges with a group of marketers that were part of a scheme that sent millions of unsolicited spam text messages promoting supposedly free merchandise like $1,000 gift cards for Wal-Mart and Best Buy.
Ever thought about responding to an enticing email or ad saying you could make money working from home? Then you might be interested to hear about the FTC’s case against the Coaching Department and its related companies, which the FTC alleges strung people along in a three-part scam that raked in tens of millions of dollars. For out-of-work people who got caught up in this business opportunity scam, it was a problem that went from bad to worse.
Free grants for regular people? The chance at some string-free money might seem like a godsend. But promises of free grants are just another scam to get your money.
That was the case with Cash Grant Institute, the FTC says. In fact, the man behind the scam — Paul Navestad — was ordered to pay more than $20 million. But he didn’t. So today the FTC announced that a federal judge has ordered Navestad to be jailed until he pays up.
It sounds pretty good: you walk into a store like any other customer. Then 20 minutes later, you’re done, ready to write a report that will earn you $50. And then you can do it again.
If Shopper Systems and some companies like it were to be believed, mystery shopping jobs like this were not only widely available, but could generate “insane profit.” All for just $2.95 for training and a week’s trial, then $49.95 a month after that for an up-to-date list of interested retailers — and you’d be free to cancel any time.
You’ve heard it a million times: Don’t click on links in an email unless you know who sent it and what it is.
But sometimes the link in an email is just so darned convenient. For example, you ship a package to a friend, and then you get an email with a link to track the delivery. It’s safe to click that link, right?