Consumer Information Blog

Bill Comes Due for Bogus Tax Relief Company

If you owe back taxes, you may be tempted to turn to companies that claim they can reduce or eliminate your tax debts and stop back-tax collection by applying for IRS hardship programs. The truth is that most people don’t qualify for the programs these fraudsters hawk, their companies don’t settle the tax debt, and in many cases they don’t even send the necessary paperwork to the IRS.

The FTC recently settled a case against American Tax Relief, which bilked consumers out of more than $100 million by falsely claiming it could reduce their tax debts. Under the settlement, the scammers are banned from telemarketing and selling debt relief services, and must surrender more than $15 million in cash and assets to settle charges that they violated federal law.

 

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

On the Wrong Path

Today, the FTC announced a settlement with Path — a social networking site that promoted itself as a different kind of social network. Primarily available to users through a mobile app, Path claimed that it “should be private by default. Forever. You should always be in control of your information and experience.”

That’s a nice sentiment, but the FTC charged that what Path told people it was doing with their personal information didn’t jibe with what was going on behind the scenes.

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

Robocall Challenge: Your Entries Are In!

Last October, the FTC challenged innovators to create solutions to block those annoying — and illegal — robocalls. We’re happy to announce that we received 744 eligible submissions before the FTC Robocall Challenge closed on January 17, 2013. You can check out a brief description of each entry in the Challenge submission gallery. Way to go, innovators!

 

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

When Home Insulation Claims Are Full of Hot Air

The FTC has announced that the owner of Energy Conservation Specialists (aka Thermalcool), a home insulation business, will pay up for telling people they could save 40 to 60% on their energy bills with his products — a claim he couldn’t prove — and for exaggerating the insulating power of his products.

Blog Topics: 
Homes & Mortgages

Car Payments Taking Their Toll?

Owning a car can be a big responsibility. And while you may have gotten up to speed on proper tire inflation and when to replace worn wiper blades, there are some other key things to know. 

For instance, if you took out a loan to buy your car, you don’t own the car until you pay off the loan. If you don’t pay, the lender can repossess the car. You might be tempted by companies that promise to lower your monthly car payments if you pay them a fee first.  They might even claim they can help you stop the repossession process.  Put on the brakes. Those promises usually are lies or half-truths from scammers who can’t possibly deliver.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Make Data Security Part of Your Routine

Yesterday was Data Privacy Day, and though it’s just one day a year, we hope you’ll make data security part of your regular routine.

 

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

FTC Commissioner Kicks Off Data Privacy Day

This morning, FTC Commissioner Maureen K. Ohlhausen spoke at a Data Privacy Day event at George Washington University in Washington, DC.

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

Pyramids of Fortune?

Thinking of joining a multilevel marketing program to make some extra money? Before diving in, make sure you’re not dealing with a pyramid scheme. They’re illegal, and for good reason.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

Gear up for a Great National Consumer Protection Week!

The 15th annual National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) is March 3 - 9. Government agencies, advocacy organizations, and private sector groups from coast to coast have come together here to share information that can help you make smart decisions about a slew of subjects, including privacy protection, money and debt management, and recognizing identity theft, frauds and scams.

Buying Jewelry for Valentine’s Day?

Nothing says “Be My Valentine” more than a box of chocolates, flowers, and a poetic love note.

Unless it’s a heart-thumping piece of jewelry!

If you’re thinking about buying jewelry for your sweetheart, there are a few things to know about platinum, gold and silver, and gemstones, diamonds and pearls.  A little knowledge can help you avoid buyers’ remorse.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

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