Consumer Information Blog

A new kind of low

We’ve written about notarios and scams in the immigration process time and time and time again. The story is nearly always along these lines:

  • Person needs immigration help.
  • Person finds “help” from someone claiming to be qualified – a notario, for example.
  • Person loses a whole lot of money – and possibly the chance to immigrate – because the notario charged them but did nothing. Or charged them and did everything wrong.

Unfortunately, it’s a story we hear often from legal services, attorneys general, other federal agencies, and community partners across the country.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Hiding in plain sight?

Could your mobile carrier be hiding third-party charges on your phone bill that you never authorized? The FTC has alleged that T-Mobile has done just that.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Is that debt collector for real?

It’s stressful enough getting calls from debt collectors for bills you actually owe. But if you’ve ever been harassed and threatened for debts you’ve never even heard about, let alone accrued, it can be downright harrowing – and quite possibly illegal.

Today, the FTC announced that a U.S. district court has temporarily halted a Georgia-based operation from using deception and threats to collect millions in phantom payday loan “debts.”  The FTC says Williams, Scott & Associates and company president John Williams lied and threatened people to pay on debts they didn’t owe – or debts the company didn’t have the authority to collect.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

The hazards of hoteling

Booking a hotel stay for a summer vacation? Before you check in, check out how scammers try to take advantage of travelers.

Driving a deal on a used set of wheels

With the average price of a new car idling at over $31,000, you might be thinking about buying used. After all, the average price for a used car from a dealership is about $18,000. You can buy used cars through a variety of commercial outlets: franchise and independent dealers, rental car companies, leasing companies, used car superstores, and online. Of course, you can buy directly from an individual, too, but that route comes with limited consumer protections. Here are a few tips from the Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Cosmetics company crosses the line(s)

Check out ads for some skincare products and you might have to flip back to the cover to see if you’re reading a beauty magazine or a science text. A company may use technical terms and say its claims are “clinically proven,” but the Federal Trade Commission is concerned that’s not always the case.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

A scam-free vacation

Heading out of town? Make sure you come back with a nice post-vacation glow and not a case of identity theft. Here are some things you can do to lessen the chances you’ll be a victim.

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

A call to collect, loaded with lies

The law is clear: debt collectors can’t use abusive, deceptive or unfair practices. Debt collectors who cross that line will end up in trouble with the FTC. That’s what happened to RTB Enterprises, Inc., a Houston company that collected debt as “Allied Data Corporation.” Collectors for Allied called people and pretended to be lawyers, made false threats to sue, and told lies to get people to pay unnecessary fees. Now Allied and its owner are the ones in court.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Librarians gather in Vegas, and the FTC is there

Next week, the city known for high-rolling gamblers, world famous entertainers, and The Mob Museum will host another fascinating and diverse group of people – librarians. Librarians serving students, scientists, historians, the military and communities across the country will be at the American Library Association’s 2014 Annual Conference at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

A “work at home” scheme that didn’t work

Claims you can “Make Big Money Working From Home!” can show up online, on utility poles in the neighborhood, even on your phone. Some promotions that sound promising are cover-ups for a con, like the sham payment processing business that took more than $5.4 million from people in less than a year. The FTC stopped the operation, and has reached a settlement with two individuals and six of the companies involved

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

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