TXT MSG: U won a FREE gift card!! Go 2 TXMSGSPAM, enter code $$$ to claim card within 24 hrs.
RU getting the MSG? Recently, the FTC moved to shut down a network of scammers who sent spam texts that promised “free” gifts, prizes, electronics, or gift cards. The catch? Clicking on the links in the texts sent recipients on a wild goose chase: a confusing and elaborate process that required them to pay for subscription services, apply for credit, or enter sensitive personal information – including their phone numbers. There were no free gifts or gift cards, but there were plenty of follow-up illegal robocalls.
As Springsteen’s timeless classic reminds us, patriotism never goes out of style. What’s more, many consumers prefer clothing, cars and other products bearing a label proudly claiming to be “Born in the USA.”
Naturally, we expect “Made in the USA” product claims to be as honest as young George Washington when he copped to chopping down his dad’s cherry tree. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. That’s why the FTC wants you to know there are laws and guidelines to help you understand exactly what you’re buying — particularly if you prefer to “buy American:”
If you negotiated a short sale of your home, you may be surprised to learn that some mortgage loan underwriting systems can’t distinguish short sales from foreclosures on consumer reports. And that may keep or delay you from getting a new mortgage.
You see, borrowers who go through a foreclosure typically have to wait seven years before they’re eligible for a new mortgage. But short sellers may qualify in as little as two years. When you’re trying to buy a new home, an additional five years can seem like a lifetime. So is there anything you can do to improve your financial footing? You bet there is.
Attorney, Division of Consumer & Business Education, FTC
You know those labels attached to your clothes that tell you how to wash and care for them? By law, those labels have to be there. The FTC’s Care Labeling Rule requires manufacturers and importers to attach care instructions to garments.This Rule is up for review, and to discuss proposed changes, the FTC will host a public roundtable in Washington, DC, on October 1, 2013.
Attorney, Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, FTC
On Wednesday, July 31, 2013 from 2-3 p.m., the Federal Trade Commission will present a webinar for people who are blind or visually impaired. In “Talking Through Identity Theft,” we will discuss the causes of identity theft and how to remedy the crime – focusing on financial, medical, government benefits, and child identity theft. What makes this webinar unique, though, is that we will talk through how people who are blind or visually impaired can get access to educational resources on identity theft. We’ll map out the consumer education resources on the FTC’s website, as well as how to file a complaint. We’ll also talk about our audio files, and how to find them online.
Earlier this week, more than 50 legal services practitioners joined together with staff from the FTC, USCIS, DOJ, the CFTC, the CFPB, and the SEC to talk about scams against the immigrant community – present and future.
The results of the half-day forum were illuminating for all of us. We found out about all sorts of creative scams targeting immigrants – more about that in a minute. But, just as important, we heard about the hard work and creative solutions that advocates are undertaking to help protect immigrant communities.
The latest in unwelcome, illegal, prerecorded sales calls are from scammers pitching a safety alert system for older adults.
The callers spoof a phone number so it looks like a local call on caller ID. If you pick up, you’ll hear a message saying you’re eligible for an alert system, or system upgrade, or that someone bought a system for you. The message asks you to “press one” on your phone to talk to a live operator, who will quickly ask for a bank account, credit card, or Medicare number, and maybe an address, to “expedite shipping and handling.”
Today, Reilly Dolan, Acting Associate Director, Division of Financial Practices, FTC, testified before the Senate Banking Committee’s Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection about debt collection.
We’re all consumers and information is the first line of defense in the marketplace. Everyone can benefit from amping up their consumer know-how and getting the inside skinny on avoiding scams. That’s true for servicemembers, veterans, and their families, too. And that’s the spirit behind Military Consumer Protection Day, July 17. The FTC, the Department of Defense, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Military Saves have teamed up for this first ever MCPD to kick off a year-round campaign to empower the military and veteran communities.
We’re no fans of creepy little blood-suckers like bed bugs and head lice. We’re also not keen on pest control marketers who say their products prevent or treat these infestations, but can’t back up their claims.
Crescent City or The Big Easy? “Nawlins” or just New Orleans? However you call this beautiful city, my colleagues and I will be there later this week at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Annual Conference handing out bilingual materials and chatting with people about being a smart and safe consumer.
If you’re behind in paying your bills, or a creditor’s records mistakenly show that you are, a debt collector may contact you. You have the right to be treated fairly by debt collectors. They can't use abusive, deceptive or unfair practices to collect from you. That includes making harassing phone calls. But according to the Federal Trade Commission, that’s just what the world’s largest debt collection operation did.
Identity theft is an unfortunate fact of modern life. Do you know what to do if your identity is stolen? How can you make identity protection part of your routine? Get answers to these and other identity theft questions during our Twitter Chat July 10 at 2 pm (EDT). FTC staff will host a one-hour session with our partners at DoD’s Military One Source and Military Saves.
Attorney, Division of Consumer & Business Education, FTC
A new variation of the fake check scam is making the rounds. It works like this: scammers place ads on the internet or send mass emails to attract people looking for extra money. They claim they will pay to shrink-wrap your car with an advertisement of a popular company. All you have to do is drive your car as you normally would.
Health insurance is changing under the Affordable Care Act. Starting on October 1, 2013, people who are uninsured or who buy their own coverage can sign up for health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Why write about this now, if enrollment doesn’t start until October? Because we’ve already heard from consumers and other federal agencies that scammers are trying to convince people to act, and give up money or personal information. Scammers want to get to you before you have time to think.
It’s summertime. For kids, that might mean days at the pool, sleep-away camp, summer school…and hours on some computer or mobile device, if they can possibly get away with it.
Starting today, parents might feel a little better about their younger kids’ privacy online. That’s because changes to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) rule take effect today. The act requires operators of websites or online services directed to kids under 13 to give notice to parents — and get their verifiable consent — before collecting, using, or disclosing a kid’s personal information. The rule also applies to general audience sites that know they’re collecting information from kids under 13, and to sites and online services that have actual knowledge they’re collecting information from sites directed to children. The rule applies to apps, too, not just to websites.