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November 2014

Sony’s ads shouldn’t play games

If a company promises a new and innovative handheld gaming console, you’d expect the features to work as described in their ads, right? According to Sony’s settlement with the FTC, announced today, that wasn’t the case with ads for the PlayStation Vita. And now the company will offer partial refunds to eligible buyers.

handheld device

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Say no thanks to charity cheats

As fall weather cools down, plans for Thanksgiving and the charitable giving season are heating up. Here come the requests for donations — in your mail and email, in person, on social networking sites, through your mobile devices — you name it. Want to express your thankfulness with a gift to a charity? Find an organization that spends wisely on a cause you support, and screen out any requests scammers send your way.

gift box wrapped in paper money

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

What to know about webcam hackers

Have you seen news reports about foreign websites showing live feeds from unsecured wireless cameras — like nanny cams, baby monitors, and security cameras — in the U.S. and around the world? It’s creepy stuff, but there are steps you can take to protect your camera from prying eyes.

IP camera

Online sellers stung by scammers spoofing PayPal brand

Selling your used stuff online has become commonplace. So have scams taking advantage of the good names of reputable online companies. At the FTC, we’ve heard from people stung by scammers spoofing PayPal. The scam generally goes like this: You post a high-value item, like a used car, for sale online. In no time at all, you get an email from a buyer willing to pay full price — or more! But he sets conditions; he is only willing to pay by PayPal or insists the sale must happen right away. What’s really going on? A ruse to steal your personal information, money or merchandise.

Here are some suspicious situations to look for and steps to safe selling online.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

“Free credit scores” from One Technologies came at a price

“Free credit scores” sounds good, right? But what if you signed up for “free credit scores,” then found out you were enrolled in a credit monitoring program that costs $29.95 per month? Not so good. That’s what the FTC says happened with a company called One Technologies, Inc.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Privacy program didn’t deliver annual check-ups

One way to judge a website’s privacy practices is to see if has been certified by an independent organization. Privacy seals and certifications are useful because it is difficult for regular computer users to verify how sites use their information.

Today, the FTC announced a settlement with TRUSTe, which advertises itself as “the #1 privacy brand.” The FTC alleged TRUSTe misled consumers when the company claimed it did an annual compliance checks on all sites that earned its “TRUSTe Certified Privacy Seals,” although it didn’t check more than 1,000 times over a six-year stretch

A new dog…and scammers’ old tricks

Lots of people feel the urge to cuddle and care for a puppy – especially one that doesn’t have a home and needs all the TLC an animal lover can give. But if you see an online ad for a dog, or any pet, be warned: that pooch’s pic may just be a trick to steal your money.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Debt brokers expose sensitive financial info

Companies have left people’s sensitive personal and financial information in all the wrong places — in dumpsters, on car seats, and even in employees’ backpacks.

Now, the FTC has sued two debt sellers for posting spreadsheets with the sensitive information of more than 70,000 people on a public website, making it — along with information about a debt they might owe — available to anyone who happened on the site.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

FTC helps teach teachers about financial literacy

The FTC offers free materials to help people understand money issues. So when teachers from across the country meet annually to improve their own financial literacy, and increase their ability to teach personal finance in school, we’re ready to help.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Ready for the ho-ho-holidays? Let’s talk.

According to a recent survey, half of Americans dread holiday shopping. Whether you love or hate it, we’ll be in the thick of the season before you know it. Doing some advance planning can take the edge off that dread. If you’d like some tips on making the most of holiday shopping, join us for a Twitter chat with the Department of Defense's Military One Source, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Military Saves on Thursday, November 6 at 2:00pm, Eastern time. We’ll discuss our tips on saving and budgeting for holiday expenses, being a savvy online shopper, steering clear of online scams, and what to do if you run up too much debt during this time of year. We’d especially like to hear from all you servicemembers, veterans, and military families out there. Use the hashtags #MyMilFam and #MilConsumer to be part of the conversation.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

FTC rings up its 2014 list of holiday shopping tips

I know, you’re probably still eating the leftover Halloween candy and here I am talking with you about the end of year holiday gift giving season. I mean well, really I do. With a little planning, you can take the daze out of the holidays and save a few bucks, too. So here are a few tips to consider.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit