Acting Director, Division of Consumer Response and Operations
Three million of you called, wrote, or went online to tell us about fraud or identity theft in 2016. Each one of those reports is important to us – and to other law enforcement nationwide – and helps us bring cases against scammers of all kinds. Sometimes, these cases result in refunds for the affected consumers. But these reports also add up to a picture of what happened during the year.
Americans are among the most generous people in the world, contributing more than $373 billion to charity in 2015, according to The Giving Institute. We’re all familiar with phone calls, mailers, and TV and radio spots seeking donations, but the times are changing. Evolving marketing practices and new technologies have introduced new ways to solicit contributions and donate. That’s just one of the reasons the FTC and the National Association of State Charities Officials (NASCO) are hosting a workshop on March 21, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Did you ever sign up for a free trial of a product you heard about on the radio? Some sellers will send you — and charge you — a lot more than you agreed to. The FTC says one group of dietary supplement marketers sold products through deceptive “risk free” offers and charged people repeatedly for unwanted products.
Here’s some good news for everyone who likes to write — and read — product reviews. A new federal law says businesses can't use contracts that prevent you from writing a truthful comment, or penalize you if you do.
Last fall, the FTC shut down an operation called Global Connect, which sent deceptive pop-up messages to people’s computers. The pop-ups claimed the computers had problems when they really didn’t, and the operators scared thousands of people into paying hundreds of dollars each for tech support services they didn’t need.We recently learned that some of these same people are getting called again.
When the FTC wants to know whether funeral homes are following the Funeral Rule and giving people the required price information about funeral products and services, it sends undercover investigators into funeral homes. The investigators pretend to be someone who needs to make funeral arrangements.