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Consumer Information Blog - for 2020-April

Avoid scams while finding help during quarantine

Older adults may be hard hit by the coronavirus – and scammers prey on that. If you or someone you know must stay at home and needs help with errands, you’ll want to know about this latest scam.

The FTC keeps attacking robocalls

Have you noticed lately that you’re getting fewer robocalls? Yes, way too many calls are still coming, and we’re fully engaged on that issue. But we’re seeing some promising developments. Some recent FTC actions might just have something to do with that. Let’s review. In December 2019, the FTC filed suit against VoIP service provider Globex Telecom for helping scammers run a “reduce your credit card interest rate” con. In January, the FTC sent letters to 19 VoIP providers, warning them that consumer protection laws apply to them, too, and pointing out what could happen if they kept helping scammy telemarketers break the law. Then, just last week, the agency sent nine warning letters to VoIP providers that were helping Coronavirus scammers blast out robocalls during the current health crisis. The VoIP providers that straightened up accounted for billions of calls that we’re all now not getting.

Grandparent scams in the age of Coronavirus

“Grandma: I’m in the hospital, sick, please wire money right away.” “Grandpa: I’m stuck overseas, please send money.” Grandparent scams can take a new twist – and a new sense of urgency – in these days of Coronavirus. Here’s what to keep in mind.

Small businesses: Where to go for financial relief information

If you own a small business or work for one, you’ve seen the headlines about financial relief that may be available to some companies through the Small Business Administration (SBA). But you’ve also heard about scammers who extract a grain of truth from the news and distort it in an effort to cheat small businesses. Now more than ever it’s critical for small businesses to go straight to the source for accurate information about what’s happening at the SBA. And that source, of course, is the Small Business Administration’s dedicated page, sba.gov/coronavirus.

While you’re at home, spot the scams

Many of us are at home, trying to protect our communities from the Coronavirus. (Thanks to those who are still working outside the home. Be safe.) If you have a minute to spare, it could be a good time for a refresher on spotting some common scams. Especially now that you might be home to get all those robocalls – and especially since the scammers are doubling down on ways to scam you. With that in mind, this is the first in a series of blog posts to help you spot some common scams.

Want to get your Coronavirus relief check? Scammers do too.

You’ve probably heard the news by now – the government is sending out relief checks as part of the federal response to the Coronavirus. Scammers heard the same thing, and they’re hoping to cash in on yours.

Williams-Sonoma: Made in the USA?

When we’re deciding between buying two products, if one product says, “Made in the USA,” does that influence how we make our decision? For many people, it does, and we all have a reasonable expectation that the claim is truthful.

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