Consumer Information Blog

Sweepstakes scam uses FTC Commissioner’s name in vain

A couple of weeks ago, we told you about a sweepstakes scam using the FTC’s name to get people to send money. Now, there’s another sweepstakes-themed FTC imposter scam, and this one lays it on thick.

It starts with a letter from a lawyer in California. He says the FTC appointed him to notify you about a claim [spoiler: we didn’t], and includes a letter from FTC Commissioner Joshua Wright enlisting his help [spoiler: it’s fake].

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Preparing for spring weather emergencies

After a long, hard winter, aren’t you ready for spring? Baseball, bike rides, barbecuing…but spring also carries with it the risk of severe weather, including dangerous storms, flooding and tornadoes. Here are some tips to help you prepare for a spring weather emergency.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

The Highlights of the Highlights

Every spring, the FTC issues its Annual Highlights for the previous year. It’s like a corporate annual report, summarizing what we did and how we did it. Interested in our mission to protect consumers? Here are some of 2014’s highlights.

Annual Highlights Image

Stand up to fake debt collectors

The caller is irate, intimidating and — despite the foul language — sounds convincing. He says you must make good on a payday loan or your wages will be garnished. If you applied for a payday loan before, you might start questioning your memory: “Did I miss a payment? The caller has my information, so this must be legit…”

The last thing you need is a short paycheck — especially if you’re already in a bind. So you pay. Thing is, you don’t owe them a dime. It’s a scam.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

A scammer by any other name is still a scammer

When struggling homeowners paid thousands of dollars in upfront fees to Wealth Educators, Inc., they expected help avoiding foreclosure. Although the “law firm” was quick to take their money, it did little or nothing to help save their homes, according to the FTC. And the “law firm” bit was all an act.

Avoid Foreclosure Scam video

Blog Topics: 
Homes & Mortgages

Spring into action with Financial Literacy Month

April is financial literacy month. To help you make smart buying decisions and save more of what you earn, here are a few tips from the FTC.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Money back guarantee hid another fee

Starting a new business? That used to mean throwing a name on some brick and mortar. Nowadays, you need a website. Lots of companies sell domain names and web hosting services that let customers put up websites. It pays to go with one that spells out all the terms and conditions before you buy. But what if a company promises a refund as part of its 30-day money back guarantee — and then surprises you with a nonrefundable fee? That’s called deception.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Safe Harbor? Check if it’s certified

Some companies’ privacy policies say they participate in the “U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework.” But that doesn’t mean they have an accident-free shipyard. It has to do with U.S. companies reassuring European residents about the privacy and security of their personal information.

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

Unlocking the code

Identity thieves may already have a lot of information about you – like your credit card number, the card’s expiration date, and your name, address, and phone number. With all that information in his hands, why would he call you? He’s after one vital piece of information – the security code on your credit card.

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

Background check check-up

If you’re applying for a job — or trying to keep one — a background check may be in your future. So check out the FTC’s newly revised Background Checks brochure for answers to common questions.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

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