Consumer Information Blog

Dreams Deferred

When Langston Hughes wrote about a dream deferred (and asked whether it dries up like a raisin in the sun), he wasn’t necessarily thinking of scams. But many Spanish speakers found their immigration dreams deferred (if not ended) and their money taken by a Baltimore-based couple who promised help with immigration services.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Now’s the time to start a savings plan

April is financial literacy month, and what a better way to celebrate than starting a savings plan.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

“Pending FTC complaint” emails are fakes

Have you gotten an email with the subject line “Pending consumer complaint” that looks like it came from the FTC? The email warns that a complaint against you has been filed with the FTC. It asks you to click on a link or attachment for more information or to contact the FTC.

These emails pull out all the stops to look official: They have an FTC seal, references to the “Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA)” and a “formal investigation,” and what look like real FTC links. The truth is that they’re fakes.

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

Background check, mate?

If you’re applying for a job or trying to rent an apartment, the employer or landlord might conduct a background check. They may hire a company to provide information like your employment history, your driving record, any criminal records, and your credit report. The information in the background report could make the difference in whether you get the job or apartment, so it’s important it be accurate.

Two companies that each made millions of dollars selling background reports, but didn’t take reasonable steps to make the reports completely accurate, recently settled Federal Trade Commission charges that they violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act and FTC Act.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

Getting jerked around

Do people think you’re a jerk? What if a search of your name turned up a site that seemingly answered that question for anyone to see? Meet Jerk.com.

Today the FTC charged Jerk — a supposed social networking site and reputation service — with allegedly tricking people into paying for site memberships to dispute profiles.

graphic of a person with jerk and not a jerk buttons below it

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

Fake IRS collectors are calling

This time of year is often taxing for many consumers. Scams aimed at stealing taxpayers’ money make the season more stressful.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Financing a car? Ask about pre-payment penalties.

If you’re in the market for a new or used car, you may be considering financing options. For example, you might get a loan from a bank or use dealership financing. In either case, you’ll have to sign a contract that specifies the terms, including how much money you owe and what your payments are.

row of cars

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

No Foolin’ — The clock is ticking for students seeking financial aid

If you’re a college student seeking financial aid, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as you can. Yes, I know, the deadline for submitting the FAFSA is June 30th, but many states and schools allocate funds on a first-come, first-served basis. What’s more, some states have deadlines for filing the FAFSA to be eligible for certain kinds of aid.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

It’s not your day in court

“Hereby you are notified that you have been scheduled to appear for your hearing that will take place in the court of Tallahassee in April 02, 2014 at 09:00 am.” Signed, the Clerk to the Court.

Sound official? Like the fake funeral notices we wrote about recently, emails like this have been going around trying to convince concerned — or curious — people to click on the supposed “court notice.”

Don’t do it.

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

FTC shuts down multi-million dollar phone scam

What do you say to a group of thieves that steal more than $20 million from tens of thousands of older consumers? The FTC says, “Gotcha!”

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

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