Consumer Information Blog

When is debt collection illegal?

If you’re behind on your bills, you’ll probably get calls from debt collectors. Their job is to get you to pay or make arrangements to pay. But any debt collector who harasses or threatens you is breaking the law. The Federal Trade Commission’s cases against Credit Smart and Regional Adjustment Bureau highlight the facts of life every consumer facing debt collection should know.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Relief from tax relief

The FTC is mailing refund checks totaling more than $16 million to 18,571 people who paid American Tax Relief, a company that claimed it could reduce their tax debts. Under the settlement, the defendants turned over millions of dollars in assets, and are banned from telemarketing and selling debt relief services.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Credit scores: The higher, the better

The World Cup may be over, but it’s still important to know the score…your credit score, that is.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Deploying Servicemembers: Consider an active duty alert

If you’re a servicemember getting ready to deploy, you most likely have a “To Do” list. FTC staff suggest your list include placing an active duty alert on your credit reports to help minimize your risk of identity theft.

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

FTC sues scammer’s little helper

What do you call a company that helps scammers drain people’s accounts without authorization? At the FTC, we call them “Defendants.” Badum bum.

In fact, the Commission just charged three companies and four individuals with helping a fraudulent internet operation withdraw $26 million without the permission of the account holders.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Is your shopping buddy app-y?

A good shopping buddy has a sharp eye, knows the lay of the land, and can find the best deals on the products you want. A great shopping buddy might even share coupons with you.

Millions of people have found new shopping buddies — their smartphones. Shopping apps for use in brick-and-mortar stores have been downloaded millions of times.

mobile shopping apps report cover

Lost your wallet? Here’s what to do

With vacation season in full swing, it’s easier than ever to lose track of a wallet in a winding airport security line, or on a crowded, sunbaked beach. Rather than spiraling into a panic about your wallet taking a vacation of its own, here are some steps to take right away.

Image of credit and debit cards

Court tells tech support scammers to pay up

A U.S. District Court recently ordered the operators of several international tech support scams to pay more than $5.1 million for convincing people that their computers were riddled with viruses and then charging for bogus support services.

We’ve written before about tech support scammers. They call and claim to work for well-known companies like Microsoft, Norton or McAfee. They say your computer is infected with malware and then ask for remote access so they can “fix” it. Or they place ads in online search results to trick you into calling them.

computer and phone

Did you get a call from area code (876)?

Ring, ring… you get a call from a number starting with area code (876). They call to say you’ve won the “Mega Millions” Jamaican lottery, and you could even win a car! All you have to do is pay a few thousand bucks in taxes or fees, and the big jackpot is yours. That’s great news, right? Wrong.

Don’t send money to anyone who claims to have a prize for you. Odds are good that it’s a scam. And just so you know, playing a foreign lottery is against federal law.

Image of phone
 

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

How to say scram to crammed charges on your mobile bill

If you are budget-conscious, you’re probably great at tracking where your money goes every month. You pore over receipts, take advantage of sales, and even research prices on big-ticket items to save the most. So how often do you review your mobile phone bill for fraudulent charges that could be draining your wallet?

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