Consumer Information Blog - for 2018-January

That’s not your neighbor calling

When your phone rings and it looks like a local call, you may be more likely to answer. Scammers count on this and can easily fake caller ID numbers. They even can match the first six digits of your own number, which is called “neighbor spoofing.”

The Secretary of State is not emailing you

There are many scammers who pretend to be government officials – from the IRS, Social Security, and even the FTC. The latest twist is an email from – supposedly – the Secretary of State. In the email, someone pretending to be Secretary Tillerson says you’re owed a payment – which he knows about because of an investigation by the FBI and CIA. The email goes on to say that you’ll get an ATM card with $1.85 million on it – and it even gives you the PIN code. But, to get the ATM card, you have to send in $320 and a bunch of information about you.

Paying off holiday credit card debt

You’ve opened all your gifts, and now it’s time to open those post-holiday credit card statements. If you were a little too jolly with your holiday spending, here are some tips to help you pay down your credit card debt.

Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week starts today

Today is the start of both the FTC’s Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week and the IRS’s tax filing season. What better time to find out how to reduce the risk that you or someone you know will become a victim of tax-related identity theft? Join us this week for free webinars and Twitter chats focused on tax-related identity theft and IRS imposter scams. Identity Theft Awareness Week logo

Do Not Call registrations don’t expire

Someone pretending to be from the FTC is sending out fake emails telling people that their Do Not Call registration is expiring. The emails use the FTC’s logo and send people to a phony Do Not Call website to register their numbers again.

Don’t buy it. Do Not Call registrations never expire. Once you add a number to the Do Not Call Registry, you don’t need to register it again -- ever. We only remove your number when it’s disconnected and reassigned, or if you ask us to remove it.

Scammers impersonate the Social Security Administration

Your Social Security number is an important key for an identity thief. Scammers want it, and they think of all sorts of ways to trick you into giving it away.Here at the Federal Trade Commission, we’re getting reports about calls from scammers claiming to be from the Social Security Administration. They say there’s been a computer problem, and they need to confirm your Social Security number.

Other people have told us that they have come across spoof websites that look like the place where you would apply for a new Social Security card – but these websites are actually a setup to steal your personal information.

If you get a phone call or are directed to a website other than ssa.gov that is claiming to be associated with the Social Security Administration, don’t respond. It’s most likely a scam.

Here’s some tips to deal with these government imposters.

Plan for National Consumer Protection Week 2018!

January is the perfect month to organize your schedule for the year – and here’s a suggestion. Plan an event during National Consumer Protection Week, March 4-10, 2018. It is the perfect time to help people understand their consumer rights, make informed decisions about money, and learn how to spot scams. NCPW.gov makes it easy to plan a community meeting, roundtable discussion, or media event.

Dealing with opioid withdrawal or addiction

When people seek help for opioid withdrawal or addiction, it’s vital that they get the right kind of help. Products that promise miracle cures or fast results can cost precious time and money, lead to relapse, and even be dangerous. In the midst of the national opioid crisis, the FTC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today announced that they are sending joint warning letters to numerous companies making potentially bogus – and illegal – claims that their products help with withdrawal symptoms or addiction.

Protecting yourself against tax identity theft

It’s tax season and tax identity thieves are eager to claim your tax refund as their own. Find out how to stop them during Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week, January 29-February 2.

The FTC and its partners are hosting free webinars and Twitter chats to talk about tax identity theft, how to reduce your risk, and what to do if it happens to you. Visit ftc.gov/taxidentitytheft to learn how to participate. Here’s what’s on tap:

FTC Halts “Preferred” Mortgage Relief Scam

Behind on your mortgage and looking for help? Check out these tips and learn how to avoid mortgage relief scams.

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