Counsel for International Consumer Protection, FTC
Do you know how to keep your personal and financial information safe? Or what to do if a scammer misuses your information? Now is a great time to find out. May 16-20, 2016 is Privacy Awareness Week, an initiative of the Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities Forum. The Forum lets privacy agencies in the region share information about privacy practices and rules.
This year’s theme is Privacy in Your Hands, and focuses on practical steps you can take to help keep your information private and safe year-round.
The FTC’s Eyeglass Rule makes it easier to comparison shop – which can help you save money. The Rule gives you the right to get your prescription from your eye doctor – whether you ask for it or not – at no extra charge. You can use the prescription to buy eyeglasses wherever they are sold – from an eye doctor, from a store, or online. Cost and quality can vary a lot from seller to seller, so it pays to shop around for the best deal.
One thing we know about scammers — they want money, and they want it fast. That’s why, whatever the con they’re running, they usually ask people to pay a certain way. They want to make it easy for themselves to get the money — and nearly impossible for you to get it back.
Their latest method? iTunes gift cards. To convince you to pay, they might pretend to be with the IRS and say you’ll be arrested if you don’t pay back taxes right now. Or pose as a family member or online love interest who needs your help fast. But as soon as you put money on a card and share the code with them, the money’s gone for good.
Attorney, FTC, Division of Consumer & Business Education
Have you ever disputed a charge on a bill – or even thought about it? If you have, you’ll want to read about the FTC’s settlement with Credit Protection Association (CPA), a Texas-based company that collects cable bills and reports accounts to credit bureaus.
Your phone rings. You recognize the number, but when you pick up, it’s someone else. What’s the deal?
Scammers are using fake caller ID information to trick you into thinking they are someone local, someone you trust – like a government agency or police department, or a company you do business with – like your bank or cable provider. The practice is called caller ID spoofing, and scammers don’t care whose phone number they use. One scammer recently used the phone number of an FTC employee. Here are a few tips for handling these calls.
Many people have subscriptions to their beloved dailies or weeklies. But that notice in the mail saying your subscription is about to expire, or offering to get a subscription started, could be from a company that has no relationship with your newspaper or magazine. It may be from a scammer who wants to get into your wallet.
You’re job hunting online and see a job ad for a well-known company. It’s on a site that says it pre-screens people for big employers, like banks, government agencies, and multinational companies. You apply and get a message asking you to schedule an interview.
Not so fast. The “interview” is really a call designed to get you to enroll in specific colleges or career training programs. That’s the story behind the FTC’s complaint against Gigats — also doing business as Expand, Inc., EducationMatch and Softrock, Inc. According to the FTC, instead of interviewing or prescreening people for employers, Gigats ran a deceptive scheme to generate sales leads for its clients.
Looking for a good time and good eats at a good price? Getting a deal on a food festival or other event is terrific. But don’t let scammers leave a bad taste in your mouth by taking a big bite out of your money — and giving you nothing in return.
Counsel, FTC's Division of Consumer & Business Education
To celebrate Financial Literacy Month, the FTC will be a guest on a live Twitter chat hosted by the National Credit Union Administration. NCUA is a federal agency that works to raise consumer awareness and increase access to credit union services. NCUA and the FTC will share tips about saving, borrowing money, managing credit, and avoiding identity theft and imposter scams.
This is National Reentry Week, a time to recognize the work government agencies and others do to address the challenges facing formerly incarcerated people. Consumer knowledge helps with successful reentry, giving people the tools to better manage their finances, make informed buying decisions, and avoid scams.