Protecting Every Community: An update on the FTC’s work to combat fraud targeting Latinos

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At the Federal Trade Commission, when we say we protect the nation’s consumers, we mean that the agency protects every community in the nation from fraud and scams. This includes African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, immigrants, older consumers, lower-income communities, and veterans and service members.

As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, it’s a good time to look back on how the FTC has worked to protect the Latino community, in particular, in the past year. Here are some highlights:

  • Income scams: At the FTC’s request, a federal court temporarily shut down Oro Marketing, Inc., which falsely promised Latino consumers they would make money by reselling high-end goods. The FTC said the company charged consumers $400 or more for shoddy products and threatened some customers who refused to pay for the merchandise. The agency also reached a settlement with the operators of Fortune Hi Tech Marketing, Inc., a pyramid scheme that targeted Spanish-speaking and immigrant communities and enrolled more than 350,000 consumers as “sales representatives.” The FTC said the company deceptively claimed people would earn significant income as representatives, but 98 percent of the people who paid start-up costs and monthly fees lost more money than they made. The company must surrender assets worth at least $7.75 million, which will be returned to consumers.
  • Auto sales scams: Two cases from the agency’s sweep of auto cases involved ads from dealers in a mix of English and Spanish: Casino Auto Sales of La Puente, Calif., and Rainbow Auto Sales, of South Gate, Calif., allegedly violated the FTC Act by deceptively advertising that consumers could purchase vehicles at specific low prices when, in fact, the price was $5,000 higher.
  • Immigration services scams: The court ordered the owners of Loma International Business Group, Inc. to pay up to $616,000 in consumer refunds, and banned them from providing or promoting immigration services. In 2011, the FTC brought the case against Loma’s owners. The FTC said the owners misled immigrants, convincing them that Loma was authorized to provide immigration services, and deceiving them into paying for immigration services the owners weren’t qualified or authorized to provide.
  • Illegal debt collection practices: At the FTC’s request, a court shut down Rincon Management Services LLC, a debt collection business whose employees falsely told Spanish-speaking consumers that they would be sued or arrested if they didn’t pay. The Commission also obtained a federal court order to stop debt collector RTB Enterprises, Inc. from bullying Spanish-speakers into paying debts and unnecessary fees. The companies will surrender $3.3 million and $100,000, respectively, to be used for consumer refunds.
  • Unordered merchandise scams: A federal judge temporarily halted and froze the assets of Hispanic Global Way Corporation at the FTC’s request. The company swindled Spanish-speakers by routinely sending unordered or defective products, and making it difficult or impossible for them to get refunds. The FTC seeks to permanently stop the illegal practices and make the defendants return victims’ money.
  • Fotonovelas: Based on the complaints received from Spanish-speakers about scams that target the Latino community, the FTC is releasing a series of fotonovelas: the first on government imposters, and the second about income scams, with more to follow.

In the coming weeks, we will host a roundtable on debt collection in the Latino community, and a workshop on how fraud affects different communities. Those will be opportunities to hear from people in many communities, but we also want to hear from you. When you see frauds and scams, please tell us – online or by phone at 1-877-FTC-HELP. Every complaint makes a difference.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

Cool

nice,,,

But Pro-Tech-t... anyone.. as a member of big Human's Family from another (not-understanding (maybe while he is haven't enough experience of living free...)(or from crazies who cant understand what they do, but practically its not possible to prognose, and this is infrequent) he is haven't enough experience of living free... but "protect any comunity is a so not-definable thing" and this can turn to the Panic or Hysteria and endless claims for many-many-many things. Protect youself from ANYTHING your want - and try to co-operate with ANYONE as you BOTH - one-to-another-"can-wish"

I totally confatubalate with what Frederick said.

When you become a Victim to Scams, Fraud, and Taken to the Cleaners, you have Recourse! If you know the Other Party , Sue Them! If you Do Not know them, The FTC can Always give Guidance On Stopping the Bad Guy's from entering your Life! Any tips from the Peanut Gallery!

So what protect's Business to Business scams, I have been a victim of the same deception acts for regular consumers but was told i'm a business these laws don't apply ?

Businesses and business people are protected by laws against scams.

You can contact your state and local consumer protection agencies to report a scam and ask for assitance. Please report to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The information you give goes into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

The FTC has information for business people. Go to business.ftc.gov to view the plain language guidance and this publication about small business scams.

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