Counsel, FTC's Division of Consumer & Business Education
Book lovers flock to their local library to pick up a favorite classic or the latest bestseller. But today library visitors also want and need a whole lot more. In addition to providing traditional services, librarians help diverse groups of people navigate a complicated world, including how to avoid scams.
As for scams, there’s one thing we know for sure: we’re all consumers – and we’re all targets for fraud. Scammers are good at what they do. They’re professionals who know how to create confusion and prey on emotions to throw people off-balance just long enough to take advantage. Our job is to give people a heads-up so that maybe they don’t get knocked off balance and they don’t get ripped off.
Do you have a lot of student debt? Wish it would disappear? You’re not alone. Scammers know that people are struggling with debt. They’re targeting borrowers with phony student loan debt relief schemes that can make things worse.
Today the FTC and the State of Florida announced lawsuits against two student loan debt relief schemes — Consumer Assistance Project and Student Aid Center. The FTC also announced a settlement in a case we wrote about earlier this year.
On the heels of the FTC’s List of Banned Debt Collectors comes the sequel: The FTC’s List of Banned Mortgage Relief and Debt Relief Companies and People. Why would someone be banned? Well, here’s the story.
What if you could substantially improve your school grades, standardized test scores, athletic performance, and future earning abilities? You might be interested, right?
That’s just what ads from LearningRx Franchise Corporation, the company that runs a network of more than 80 learning centers, promised its “brain training” programs could do. Some ads went further, claiming the programs are clinically proven to help permanently overcome the symptoms of ADHD, autism, age-related cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, strokes, and traumatic brain injuries. Customers often spent thousands of dollars for the company’s programs, which could take months to complete.
But before you get on the brain train, know this: These claims are unproven, according to an FTC complaint. Learning Rx has agreed to settle the FTC's charges.
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.