Consumer Information Blog

Checks in the mail

Once upon a time, a long time ago, a company called Lane Labs marketed products made out of shark cartilage, claiming they could treat and cure cancer.  Only, not so much. The FTC sued the company in 2000, they settled, and paid a hefty sum. The court also barred them from making claims about the health benefits of a product unless they had scientific evidence to support those claims.

It’s the IRS calling…or is it?

Here at the FTC, we think about scams all day long. What are the scammers’ new angles? How can we keep ahead of them? We hear from people about the scams they see, and we turn that into tips people use to spot and avoid scams.

But scammers find FTC staff, just as they find the rest of America. In fact, someone claiming to work for the IRS called my house just last week.

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

Free TV – but what’s the catch?

You’ve seen the attention-grabbing ads. Get DIRECTV’s satellite TV packages for as little as $19.99 a month for a year! Throw in HBO and Showtime – “free for 3 months.” It’s enough to make you “ditch cable now” and head straight into orbit with satellite TV. But before you pop the corn and head to the couch, listen to this. The FTC says DIRECTV didn’t give consumers the whole scoop and their viewers got stuck with charges they didn’t know about or approve.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Your top 5 questions about unwanted calls and the National Do Not Call Registry

1. How can I make it stop?

You signed up for the Do Not Call Registry ages ago, but you’re suddenly getting a bunch of unwanted calls. What can you do?

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

Cleaning up without getting cleaned out

I don’t know about you, but I’m about ready to say “uncle” to Old Man Winter. This year’s record-breaking snowfalls, downed trees, roof collapses, mudslides, flooding and frozen pipes are leaving overwhelming clean-up and recovery in their wake. If you’re thinking about hiring someone to help you dig out, keep these tips in mind.

Blog Topics: 
Homes & Mortgages

There is no Bureau of Defaulters

The email says it’s a court notice from the Bureau of Defaulters Agency-FTC with your arrest warrant record attached. It says you’ve ignored their efforts to contact you, so now your Social Security Number is on hold by the federal government, you’ll be prosecuted for fraud, and you’ll owe all kinds of money when you’re found guilty. You’ve got just 24 hours to respond.

It’s not true. There is no Bureau of Defaulters, and the FTC doesn’t send emails like this to people.

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

Double the fun: The FTC announces two new robocall contests

The Empire Strikes Back, Aliens, Terminator 2… Don’t you just love a good sequel? The FTC does, too, and that’s why the agency is returning to DEF CON with a new robocall challenge.

 Humanity Strikes Back

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

A billion illegal robocalls

We all know that robocalls can be annoying. They can also be illegal. It’s against the rules for companies to try to sell you something under the guise of a political or charity-related robocall. But we’ve found that not everyone plays by the rules.

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

Looking for a place to rent?

How many hours have you spent looking at ads for apartments or houses to rent? Or asking people you know for leads on a good place?

Finding the right apartment or house might not be easy. Besides finding a place that meets your needs or wants, in an area that works, you might have questions like:

  •     Can I afford the rent and any other costs?
  •     What documents and information do I need to apply to rent a place?
  •     Will I still be able to rent if I have a bad credit history?

screen shot of rental video

Blog Topics: 
Homes & Mortgages

The Grate Pretenders

We’re done with the Golden Globes and the Oscars but an entirely different kind of actor is still lurking around: scammers who pretend to be someone they’re not. Sometimes it seems we’re afloat in a sea of imposters who are trying to cheat you by pretending to be from legitimate organizations. Imposter scams play on your emotions. The scammers work hard to make you believe that you’ve won something or you have an unexpected problem. They say that, for a small fee, they’ll send you lots of money or make your troubles disappear. They might encourage you to pay them with a reloadable card or they may ask for your personal information. Here are the top ten imposter scams you told us about last year.

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

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