scam

Might Your Search Yield a Scam?

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 You may get links to pages that are out-of-date, off-topic, or stocked with low-quality products.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.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Ackk — My Email’s Been Hacked

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.

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

Can the Spam Texts (And Robocalls)

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. 

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

Everything Is Illuminated

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.

Robocall Scams Push Medical Alert Systems

 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.”

A-partment Hunting We Will Go

Apartment hunting for the perfect place to live? As you scan rental ads in newspapers, or on websites or listservs, remember that some ads may not be legit.

Blog Topics: 
Homes & Mortgages

The Rap on Car Wrap Scams

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.

Changes in Health Insurance: Where to Learn More

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.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

A Strange Affinity

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.

Vacation Nation

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.

Here’s how the scam plays out:

Timeshare Resale Scams Infographic

Blog Topics: 
Homes & Mortgages

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