Consumer Information Blog

Kids under 13 can’t Yelp it

If you have children under 13, do you know about COPPA — the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act? Websites and services covered by COPPA must get your consent before they collect personal information from your child, and they must honor your choices about how that information is used.

That’s why Yelp — the online review service — is getting less than five stars from the FTC.

COPPA logo

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

Let’s talk about online safety

The new school year is in full swing and National Cyber Security Awareness Month is around the corner. What better time to talk to the kids in your life about online safety. Many of our readers are doing just that — and using Net Cetera: Chatting with Kids About Being Online as the basis for the conversation.

Over 1 million copies of the new Net Cetera have been distributed throughout the U.S. since January 2014. Time and time again, our readers have told us they think Net Cetera is a valuable tool.  

Image of mother and child using a mobile device
 

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

These health care plans were scams

Before you sign up and pay any money for health insurance or discount plans, check out all the available options — and any claims they make about coverage. Some people who call you up promoting a way for you to save could be pitching a scam.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

No fooling: mortgage ads must tell the truth

If you’ve ever shopped for a mortgage, you know it takes time to sort through competing ads. If an online ad claimed you could “save up to $2,000 a year,” lower your mortgage payment with “no credit check” or refinance your mortgage for free with “no hidden fees,” you might think it looked pretty good and submit your personal information.

Blog Topics: 
Homes & Mortgages

Preventing fraud in everyone’s community

What defines “community”? Is it where you live? Your racial or ethnic identity? Your age? Your income? Whether you’ve served in the military? The concept of community can be very personal.

Regardless of how you define your community, the FTC cares about stopping scams you deal with, and preventing others from taking root. The FTC is hosting a workshop on October 29, 2014, called “Fraud Affects Every Community.”

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Hispanic Heritage Month Begins

The FTC joins with other federal agencies to celebrate Hispanic heritage from Sept. 15 – Oct. 15 during our nation’s official Hispanic Heritage Month. But the FTC uses enforcement and education every day, all year long, as part of its mission to protect all consumers from unfair and deceptive practices in the marketplace, online and off. We use our enforcement authority to stop scams that target Spanish speakers, whether they involve fraudulent marketing practices, illegal debt collection practices, false advertising claims, or identity theft. 

We deliver free information in Spanish on a wide range of consumer issues, in a variety of formats. Our resources in Spanish help Latino consumers recognize government imposters, protect their computers from malware and their personal information from phishing attempts, and avoid income scams.

These weight loss pills won’t make you “High School Skinny”

Many companies have tag lines designed to catch your attention; many are true and backed up by good, solid evidence. Others… not so much. They may be downright deceptive.

Have you heard this one? “Get High School Skinny!” That’s what marketers of Healthe Trim promised people who bought their line of weight loss supplements. However, according to a settlement announced by the FTC, the company had no scientific evidence that these products actually worked.

Image of Healthe Trim product bottle
 

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

Data breaches, credit freezes, and identity theft… oh my!

News reports of large-scale data breaches — like this week’s announcement from Home Depot — have prompted some of our readers to ask about a credit freeze. Also known as a security freeze, this tool lets you limit access to your credit report, which makes it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name.

Company promised fake FTC refunds

You got a robocall from someone working with the FTC with a message that promised to help you get a refund from the agency. If you ever lost money to a scam, it might have been a tough call to ignore. Turns out ignoring the call would have been the right call because — you guessed it: it was a scam.

A new narrative

As the centenarian agency in the consumer protection world, the FTC knows that changes in the marketplace almost always affect trends in fraud – and that fraudsters follow the headlines. And we listen when the US Census Bureau tells us that more Americans are 65 and older now than at any other time in US history. So we anticipate that fraud targeting older citizens will increase in the next few years.

That’s just one reason the FTC launched a fraud education campaign aimed at active older people, a group with life experience and social networks.

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