Consumer Information Blog

Lights out for fake utility bill collectors

The caller sounds convincing: If you don’t pay your utility bills immediately, your gas, electricity or water will be shut off. They ask you to pay using a specific — and unusual — method.

Be warned: The call probably is a trick to steal your money.

Snap. Chat. Delete?

Come on, admit it: Ever since you saw Mission: Impossible, you’ve wished you could send messages that self-destruct. Then Snapchat came along, and suddenly the impossible seemed easy. Adding a twist to photo- and video-sharing, Snapchat allows users to snap a picture, send it to a friend, and choose how long it lasts, from 1 to 10 seconds after it has been viewed. Then, poof. It disappears. Or does it?

Find Friends

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

Read the truth behind deceptive mortgage ads

Getting a low interest rate on your mortgage can make a big difference in your household finances, and the internet can be a good way to compare the rates offered by various lenders. The FTC’s case against GoLoansOnline.com shows the value of shopping around and checking multiple sources of information.

Blog Topics: 
Homes & Mortgages

Happy Mother’s Day from the FTC

Last Mother’s Day, my kids “helped” serve me breakfast in bed. No sooner had the word “surprise” left their lips than they were scrambling onto the bed to see what they could eat. After all, moms are always going on about sharing, right?

Why not show off some of your own sharing skills this Mother’s Day when you talk to the kids in your life? Net Cetera: Chatting with Kids About Being Online is a free guide from the FTC that has some important information and terrific tips to share with your kids, grandkids, nieces, and nephews.

flowers

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

Don’t get nailed by a home improvement scam

Spring has sprung, the grass is green, just watch out for scammers selling home improvement dreams.

Blog Topics: 
Homes & Mortgages

FTC’s Complaint Assistant: we’re going mobile

If a business doesn’t deliver on its promises or someone cheats you out of your money, the Federal Trade Commission wants to hear about it. Our new Mobile Complaint Assistant at ftcca.gov makes it possible to file a complaint using your smartphone or tablet.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Privacy Awareness Week 2014

Mobilize Your Privacy. That’s the timely theme for Privacy Awareness Week 2014, an initiative of the Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities (APPA) Forum that began Sunday, May 4. Check out the initiative’s website for tips that can help you protect your privacy when using mobile devices and resources to help spread the word in your community. 

How can you participate in Privacy Awareness Week? Visit OnGuardOnline.gov, the U.S. government’s website to help you stay safe, secure, and responsible online.

Privacy Awareness Week Logo

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

Callers target timeshare owners for a second scam

In June 2013, the FTC sued several companies that scammed timeshare owners. The companies claimed they had interested buyers for timeshare properties. In fact, if timeshare owners paid, they found out there was no buyer — and they couldn’t get a refund.

Now, somebody is trying to rip off those timeshare owners again. Several people who previously paid Resort Solution Trust have reported to the FTC that someone recently called them claiming to be an attorney working on a case against the company. The caller said the timeshare owner was eligible for a refund, generally $1,000-$4,000 — if they first paid a “bond” or “fee,” around $800.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Wise giving after a weather emergency

The recent outbreak of tornadoes and other violent weather that took lives and pulverized homes and businesses from the Midwest to the Deep South is a sad reminder that extreme weather can occur with little warning.

As we know, when a disaster strikes, bogus charities aren’t far behind. The FTC urges you to be on guard against scam artists who try to take advantage of someone else’s tragedy.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Checking up on consumer generated health information

Whether it’s a website where people diagnosed with the same medical condition can share their stories or an app to find out how long it will take in the gym to burn off a Macadamia Mania Ripple sundae, consumers are taking their health in their own hands — and generating a massive amount of digital data in the process.

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