Counsel, FTC's Division of Consumer & Business Education
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.
Thinking about using a company, product, or service based on online reviews? You’re probably interested in getting the best service – and price – for your money. You might have read what other customers have written to help with your decision. But can you always trust those online reviews? Just how credible are they?
You may have seen — and been concerned by — news stories about Superfish software on Lenovo notebooks. Lenovo began pre-installing Superfish on certain notebooks in September 2014. But, the software makes it easier for hackers to access your personal information, even when you’re visiting a website, like a bank’s website, that uses HTTPS to encrypt the transmission of sensitive information.
Although Lenovo has announced that they have discontinued pre-installing Superfish on its notebooks, some Lenovo notebooks sold today may still have Superfish pre-installed. So, if you purchased a Lenovo notebook any time since September 2014, your computer may be vulnerable to security threats. Here are some steps you can take.
When National Consumer Protection Week starts on Sunday, it will mark the 17th year of a growing partnership. NCPW now includes 89 federal, state and local agencies and non-profits working together to connect people with the best consumer education resources.
At NCPW.gov, you’ll find resources to help you manage your money, handle credit and debt, stay safe online, avoid identity theft, and more. Read the latest news from consumer protection experts on our blog; share videos, articles, audio tips, and blog posts; order free resources; or file a complaint when you spot a scam. You’ll also get ideas on how to get involved so you can help us spread the word about consumer protection.
On the heels of their victory against National Check Registry, the FTC and the New York Attorney General teamed up again to announce two complaints against debt collectors that allegedly used a slew of abusive and deceptive tactics to pressure consumers into making payments on questionable debts.
Associate Director, Division of Marketing Practices, FTC
For years, we’ve been hearing about lottery scams: the imposter who convinces you that you’ve won the lottery (you didn’t) – and all you have to do is pay some fees to collect your millions (you won’t). And for years, we’ve been hearing about lottery scams that originate in Jamaica, where telemarketing lottery scams became a cottage industry in some parts of the island.
Many people who take out payday loans have trouble paying them off quickly. A recent FTC case shows how dishonest companies can take advantage of people who can’t make their payments, while fees and interest costs grow.
Apps can provide hours of entertainment, keep you organized, and help you learn something new. Indeed, apps can be helpful, as long as they provide accurate information. But if you’re trying to analyze a serious medical condition with an app — like whether that mole on your back might be a sign of melanoma — talk with your doctor or another reliable medical professional first. As recent FTC cases show, some health apps make claims they can’t back up.