Consumer Information Blog

Today’s news, tomorrow’s scam

When the headlines change, scammers follow: Natural disaster? Charity scams will follow. Medicare open season? Health care scams will follow. So we know from experience that, when immigration is in the headlines, scams will follow.

Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re in the immigration process – or would like to be – regardless of what’s in the news.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Get ready for National Consumer Protection Week!

It’s about that time again. Are you ready?

Every year, National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), encourages people and businesses to learn more about avoiding scams and understanding consumer rights. This year, NCPW takes place March 1-7, 2015. NCPW highlights free resources from government agencies and consumer organizations to help people make smarter buying decisions and spot rip-offs.

FTC racks up charges against unscrupulous debt collector

If you’re behind in paying your bills, you may be contacted by a debt collector, but that doesn’t mean a collector can treat you unfairly. Under federal law, debt collectors — including collection agencies, lawyers who collect debts on a regular basis, and companies that buy delinquent debts and then try to collect them — can’t use abusive, deceptive or unfair practices to collect from you. But not all debt collectors play by the rules.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

A story in Spanish about debt collection rights

When it comes to dealing with debt collectors, you have rights. That’s why the FTC created a new publication called Cobradores de Deuda. This Spanish-language graphic novel tells people about the rules for debt collectors, and what to do if a debt collector doesn’t follow the rules.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Kids’ game claims to boost brain power, draws FTC’s attention

Imagine if you could permanently improve your child’s attention, memory, school performance, and behavior. Well, that’s just what Focus Education claimed its Jungle Rangers computer game could do - with as little as 12 hours of play.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

Warranties and service contracts 101

Ever wonder about the difference between a warranty and a service contract? Well, wonder no more.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Don’t let tax scammers get away with it

Tax season is getting close — and for some people, so is an experience with tax identity theft or IRS imposters. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job. You usually find out something’s wrong after you file your tax return.

Also, IRS imposters work year-round — posing as the IRS when they call and say you owe taxes. They even threaten to arrest you if you don’t put money on a prepaid debit card and tell them the card number. They might know all or part of your Social Security number, and can fake caller ID information to make it look like it really is the IRS calling. But it’s not. Ever.

tax identity theft awareness week logo

 

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

Shutting down an income scam

We began 2014 by announcing that a court ordered Oro Marketing to temporarily shut down operations for bogus business practices. This phone fraud targeted Spanish-speaking Latinos, promising them packages of high-end goods that they could – supposedly – re-sell to make extra money. The company charged between $400 and $490 for the packages, but only delivered low-quality, off-brand products that were impossible to sell. According to the FTC, no one made any money – except the defendants, who misled people to steal their money.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

Fake checks: The nanny or caregiver scam

Do you offer your professional services as a babysitter, nanny, or other kind of caregiver? You may have used websites that can match you up with potential clients – sites like Care.com or Sittercity.com. These sites can be a convenient and efficient way to drum up business. But scammers may misuse these sites. FTC staff has seen hundreds of complaints about con artists cheating caregivers with a counterfeit check scheme that asks you to send payment to a third party. Details may vary, but, in general, the scam works like this:

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

Ads for kids’ supplements didn’t speak the truth

When ads for products don’t tell the truth, you can bet the FTC will take notice.

Today, the FTC brought a case against NourishLife, a company that allegedly made unsupported and false claims about its Speak line of children’s supplements. According to the complaint, the company advertised that Speak products were clinically proven to support “normal and healthy speech development” for kids — including kids with verbal apraxia or those with autism spectrum disorder. The truth, the FTC says, is that the company didn’t have the proper scientific evidence to back up its claims.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

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