Phantom debts – sounds a little like a ghostly Halloween prank. Unfortunately, it’s no joke. Some fake debt collectors may try deception and threats to pressure you to pay debts that you don’t owe. The FTC recently obtained a temporary restraining order in a case against debt collectors, Pinnacle Payment Services, Lisa Jeter, her partners and related companies about just these kinds of practices. The court order shuts down the operation, pending trial.
Imagine getting a phone message like this:
This is the Civil Investigations Unit. We are contacting you in regards to a complaint being filed against you, pursuant to claim and affidavit number D00D-2932, where you have been named a respondent in a court action and must appear… Please forward this information to your attorney in that the order to show cause contains a restraining order. You or your attorney will have 24 to 48 hours to oppose this matter… Call 757-555-1234.
Who wouldn’t be spooked? The FTC has gotten almost 3,000 complaints about messages like this.
Every now and then, many of us get the strange feeling someone’s watching us. Given how easy it is these days for companies to gather information about where we are, what we’re doing, and how we’re doing it, this may well be more than a feeling.
There’s a good reason why President Abraham Lincoln was nicknamed “Honest Abe”. He was honest about everything he did. Fast forward a few hundred years: It’s not hard to imagine what Lincoln might have thought about the honesty of American companies touting a “Made in the USA” label on products that aren’t.
Attorney, Division of Consumer & Business Education, FTC
Some people have no scruples. They take advantage of any situation to defraud others and steal their money. You can help stop them. If you or anyone you know is going through the immigration process, be alert to unauthorized immigration service providers.
Imagine this: it’s the hottest day of the year. (Or, since we’re getting into Fall, the coldest.) Someone from your utility company calls to say they’re about to cut off your power. You check the caller ID, and it looks like the right number – at least, it’s in your area code. You know you’ve paid your bill, and you can’t imagine what happened – but you also know you can’t afford to lose power. So what do you do?
Con artists are trying to steal money from people by falsely claiming they are associated with the federal courts, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The imposters tell people they are entitled to refunds as part of cases brought by the FTC against companies that engaged in timeshare resale fraud. People are told they must pay several hundred dollars in “court costs,” “processing fees” or “filing fees” to get their refunds. The scammers may use an actual FTC case number to lend some legitimacy to their pitch. DO NOT GIVE THESE IMPOSTERS MONEY. THIS IS A SCAM.
According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, almost 9 out of 10 Latino teens have access to the internet. And with tablets and smartphones, they could be online away from your home and your watchful eyes—even the ones in the back of your head.
As a parent, there’s a lot you can do to protect your kids online. And you don’t have to be tech savvy to do it. Research shows that the best way to protect your kids online is to talk to them. So where can you start? This video helps you talk to your kids about being safe online.
Do you sometimes find it hard to tell ads from surrounding content when you’re online or using a mobile app? Have you ever wondered whether the article you selected is actually an ad? If your answer is yes, you may be interested in an upcoming FTC workshop.
September is National Preparedness Month and a good time to prepare your family, pets, and property for extreme weather situations. The FTC has information to help you prepare for, deal with, and recover from different aspects of a weather emergency.