Consumer Information Blog

Fake calls about your SSN

The FTC is getting reports about people pretending to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA) who are trying to get your Social Security number and even your money. In one version of the scam, the caller says your Social Security number has been linked to a crime (often, he says it happened in Texas) involving drugs or sending money out of the country illegally. He then says your Social is blocked – but he might ask you for a fee to reactivate it, or to get a new number. And he will ask you to confirm your Social Security number.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Help avoid online order slow- or no-shows

Unless you enjoy the bustle of traditional holiday shopping, you’re probably thankful for being able to get what you need online. Unfortunately, the FTC has gotten reports from consumers who didn’t get their orders as expected – or never got them at all.

Here are tips to have a good online shopping experience:

Contact lens seller turns a blind eye to the law

Cosmetic contacts lenses – also known as costume or decorative contact lenses – can change the way your eye looks without correcting your vision. While they may seem like just another fashion accessory, the fact is all contacts require a prescription. Anyone who sells you lenses without getting a copy of your prescription or verifying your prescription information with your prescriber is selling them illegally.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

Buying an internet-connected smart toy? Read this.

Before giving in to your kid's plea for a new toy, you may want to collect some information about it. Why? Well, for one thing, that toy may want to collect information about your kid. I’m talking about internet-connected smart toys with cameras, microphones, and sensors. The ones that know your kids’ voices (and yours). Smart toys that silently collect data on each interaction, listen to conversations, and share their location while kids play.

FTC: No support for diabetes treatment claims

People spend billions of dollars a year on health products that are unproven and often useless. Case in point: The FTC has sued the sellers of “Nobetes” about their advertising claims for a pill that would supposedly treat diabetes – and maybe even replace the need for prescription diabetes medication, like insulin. According to the FTC, these claims were false or misleading, and the sellers had no reliable, scientific evidence to back them up.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

The Marriott data breach

Marriott International says that a breach of its Starwood guest reservation database exposed the personal information of up to 500 million people. If your information was exposed, there are steps you can take to help guard against its misuse.

Putting cash in the mail

We’ve been warning you about scammers asking you to pay with gift cards or by wiring money. Scammers love getting you to pay that way because they can get your money fast and disappear. It’s almost as good as getting you to send cold, hard cash. Which must have occurred to them, too, because some scammers are now going low-tech and asking people to send cash in the mail. Sometimes they even tell people to divide the cash between pages of a magazine.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

This giving season, make your donations count

The giving season has begun and many of us are thinking about gifts for family and friends, as well as giving to our favorite charitable causes. If you’re thinking about donating to charity, do some research first to make sure your money will really help the causes you care about. Here’s what you can do:

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Fake promises offer no sigh of (debt) relief

An offer of reduced monthly payments — or complete forgiveness — on your student loan may make you want to sign up…and exhale. Unfortunately, though, some of those programs wind up costing you hundreds or thousands of dollars for nothing in return. What’s more, you could’ve gotten real help for free.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Talking turkey

Whether it’s a spare can of cranberry sauce or an extra turkey platter, thoughtful Thanksgiving hosts make contingency plans for the holiday. This year, if the dinner discussion veers into controversial territory – like the pumpkin pie vs. pecan pie debate – here’s a suggested topic of conversation you can have at the ready.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

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