Consumer Information Blog

Visit the FTC at the NCLR Annual Conference in Los Angeles

The FTC is going to sunny California!

If you are near Los Angeles July 19 – 22, visit the FTC booth at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) annual conference! I’ll be there, with other bilingual staffers, to answer your questions relating to frauds and scams, as well as how to file a complaint.

Playing with Fire

Ready for a discussion that’s likely to upset the whole family? First, explain these concepts to your four-year-old: online shopping accounts that are linked to your credit card, unlimited in-app charges, and store policies that state all sales final. Then, explain how the virtual coins your child uses in a game can cost real money charged instantly to your account. Sounds like fun, right?

The experience has been anything but fun for parents whose children racked up hundreds of dollars playing “free” games on the Kindle Fire.

kids playing on tablet

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Military consumers: Salutes to you!

Frequent relocation, separation from family and friends, the stresses of deployment and a steady paycheck from Uncle Sam can make military households an attractive target for scam artists. That’s why the Department of Defense, the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office of Servicemember Affairs, and Military Saves have joined to sponsor Military Consumer — a campaign to empower military and veteran communities with tips and tools to be informed consumers. 

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

A new kind of low

We’ve written about notarios and scams in the immigration process time and time and time again. The story is nearly always along these lines:

  • Person needs immigration help.
  • Person finds “help” from someone claiming to be qualified – a notario, for example.
  • Person loses a whole lot of money – and possibly the chance to immigrate – because the notario charged them but did nothing. Or charged them and did everything wrong.

Unfortunately, it’s a story we hear often from legal services, attorneys general, other federal agencies, and community partners across the country.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Hiding in plain sight?

Could your mobile carrier be hiding third-party charges on your phone bill that you never authorized? The FTC has alleged that T-Mobile has done just that.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Is that debt collector for real?

It’s stressful enough getting calls from debt collectors for bills you actually owe. But if you’ve ever been harassed and threatened for debts you’ve never even heard about, let alone accrued, it can be downright harrowing – and quite possibly illegal.

Today, the FTC announced that a U.S. district court has temporarily halted a Georgia-based operation from using deception and threats to collect millions in phantom payday loan “debts.”  The FTC says Williams, Scott & Associates and company president John Williams lied and threatened people to pay on debts they didn’t owe – or debts the company didn’t have the authority to collect.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

The hazards of hoteling

Booking a hotel stay for a summer vacation? Before you check in, check out how scammers try to take advantage of travelers.

Driving a deal on a used set of wheels

With the average price of a new car idling at over $31,000, you might be thinking about buying used. After all, the average price for a used car from a dealership is about $18,000. You can buy used cars through a variety of commercial outlets: franchise and independent dealers, rental car companies, leasing companies, used car superstores, and online. Of course, you can buy directly from an individual, too, but that route comes with limited consumer protections. Here are a few tips from the Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Cosmetics company crosses the line(s)

Check out ads for some skincare products and you might have to flip back to the cover to see if you’re reading a beauty magazine or a science text. A company may use technical terms and say its claims are “clinically proven,” but the Federal Trade Commission is concerned that’s not always the case.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

A scam-free vacation

Heading out of town? Make sure you come back with a nice post-vacation glow and not a case of identity theft. Here are some things you can do to lessen the chances you’ll be a victim.

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

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