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Associate Director, Division of Marketing Practices, FTC
Do you trust people more if they’re like you, or a part of your community? Scammers bet that you do. Every day, they take advantage of that unconscious trust.
It’s called “affinity fraud” — when someone in a group uses their membership in that group to scam another member. Think religious, ethnic, or professional groups. Might you be willing to hear more about a deal if a member of your church asks you to? Or take advice from someone who speaks your same language? Through the FTC’s Legal Services Collaboration, we’ve heard of cases just like that.
If you’re headed to Chicago for the American Library Association’s Annual Conference, swing by to say hello. FTC staff will be at Booth # 934, ready to hand out our materials – all free, all the time – and talk about how to use them in your community. If you want a little more detail, come to my poster session, Saturday June 29, from 2:30pm to 4 pm. I’ll be talking about our innovative collaboration with the Center for Applied Linguistics to create materials for people who have consumer questions and want basic information.
Military Consumer Protection Day is right around the corner! Mark your calendars for July 17. To get in gear, we’re hosting a Twitter Chat June 26 at 2pm (EDT). Staff from the FTC, DoD’s Military One Source, and Military Saves will answer questions for 60 minutes about buying a new or used car and other issues related to vehicles. To participate, follow @FTC and Tweet questions with the hashtag #mcpd or #MCPD.
Are you a servicemember who’s curious about credit? Or are you dealing with debt? Maybe you’re a military spouse who wants some tips on managing money. Then join us for a Twitter chat about consumer protection issues on June 19 at 2 p.m, Eastern. FTC staff – and our partners at DoD, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office of Servicemember Affairs, and Military Saves – will answer questions for 60 minutes on credit, debt, and savings. To participate, follow @FTC and Tweet questions with the hashtag #mcpd.
Aah, summer break. School’s almost out, and camp season is just around the corner. Whether your kids are attending a program for sports, arts, or education, there’s plenty of fun to be had this summer…and plenty of forms to be filled out.
Summer program forms may require you to provide your child’s personal information — like their Social Security number. While this may seem routine, it’s important to do what you can to protect sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands.
Elder abuse is recognized by experts as a public health crisis that crosses socio-economic borders. Although millions of older Americans are abused, neglected, and exploited every year, an estimated 84 percent of cases go unreported.
Does your dad think spyware is James Bond’s tux? When you tell him to be careful about phishing, does he ask you about mercury levels in the lake? When you remind him to clear the cookies on his PC, does he remind you he doesn’t eat in the office?
If you answered yes to any of these, it may be time to give Dad a lesson in cyberspeak.
Shopping around for a home loan will help you get the best financing deal. A mortgage is a product, so why not apply the same tactics you use before you make any other major purchase? The cost of a mortgage depends on your credit history, and involves rates, points, fees, private mortgage insurance, and other factors, so it’s best to compare, compare, compare.
Calling all military families and veterans! Are you looking to protect yourself or your family from fraud, identity theft, and scams? Maybe you’re curious about the best way to use credit, shop for a used car, or maximize your security online.
Military folks are consumers, too – and critical to the economy. Just ask the 1.4 million men and women on active duty or the 1.1 million in the National Guard and Reserve forces. But the unique challenges of military life – frequent relocation, separation from family and friends, and the stresses of deployment – can make military households an attractive target for scam artists. In fact, during 2012 the Federal Trade Commission logged more than 62,000 complaints from servicemembers, veterans, and spouses about their experiences in the marketplace.
That led the FTC and its partners to sponsor Military Consumer Protection Day on July 17, 2013. It’s a great day to empower military and veteran communities with information as the first line of defense against consumer fraud.
Today the FTC and federal, state, and international law enforcement partners announced 191 recent actions against companies scamming travelers and timeshare property owners. Many of the cases — including the FTC’s — involved timeshare resale scams.
Planning a vacation can be overwhelming. And while there may be options for virtually every budget, there also are lots of pitches made that, frankly, may be a little generous for the situation. Here are some tips to get you started.