December 2014

Top blog posts of 2014

It’s that time of year when everyone’s compiling their Best of 2014 list. We didn’t want to miss the fun so here’s our own list of the 10 Most Read Consumer Blog Posts of 2014.

We Don’t Serve Teens — even on New Year’s Eve

What are your plans for New Year’s Eve? Maybe you’re watching the ball drop in Times Square on TV, having a get-together at home, or going out for a night on the town. Whatever your plans are, let’s make sure that those under the age of 21 ring in the new year without alcohol.

We Don't Serve Teens logo

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

For 2015 — resolve to back up your digital life

What’s worse than losing all the photos and important files on your computer? Knowing you could have prevented it.

Back it up

These anti-aging claims could leave you light-headed

A “solar-powered” lotion that transforms UV rays into red light to give you the same anti-aging results you’d get from laser treatment in a doctor’s office, or from an FDA-approved at-home red light device?

An eye lotion that works as well on your eyes as a surgical eye lift? 

A body lotion that mimics the effect of a lobster hormone — one that causes their bodies to shrink before molting — to help you shrink, too?

Photodynamic Ad

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

Auto dealer that lured customers with lies and deceit answers to the FTC

I don't know about you, but I'm concerned when businesses don't play by the rules. Case in point: Businesses are not allowed to lure customers in with deceptive advertising only to tell them the truth later in the transaction. But the FTC says that's just what a Nissan dealership in Mesquite, Texas, did.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

FTC thwarts company’s mole, skin tag, and wart-removal claims

So, a frog hops into a bar and says, “Hey, did you hear the one about DermaTend?” Apparently, explained the frog, ads said this product removed moles, skin tags and warts — fast and permanently. Better yet, it was supposedly doctor-recommended and clinically proven. Said the frog, “Sounds like the answer to a frog’s dream, right? But then I heard the FTC just filed a complaint in federal court charging the advertiser, Solace International, with deceptive advertising. And that’s no joke.”

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

Does that ABC app track your child?

Your young child is playing an educational app with cute cartoon characters. It’s teaching her letters, shapes, and numbers. But did you know that while your child is learning her ABCs, someone else could be learning where your child is?

Business Directory Scams: Information? Puh-leez.

Listing your business in a directory can be an effective way to advertise the products or services you offer potential customers. But be sure you know what you’re getting for your money... and that you even asked for the listing in the first place.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

How NOT to use a gift card

Thinking about giving a fancy new gadget as a holiday gift? Or maybe there’s something on your wish list that Santa forgot to bring? If so, you might be tempted by an ad for high-tech at a low price. But if a merchant other than Amazon.com asks you to pay using an Amazon gift card, it’s probably a scam. In fact, Amazon’s gift card terms don’t allow you to use Amazon gift cards to make payments anywhere besides amazon.com and a few specific sites.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Refunds for customers crammed by T-Mobile

Some current and former T-Mobile customers are about to get their money back.

As part of a $90 million dollar proposed settlement, T-Mobile is refunding customers who were unfairly billed third-party charges by the company.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Package delivery scam — delivered to your inbox

Expecting packages shipped to your home this holiday season? You’re not the only one… scammers are, too.

Image of computer

Don’t let scammers disrupt your Zen

If you are a yoga teacher, massage therapist, or other wellness practitioner, you’ve probably worked hard to get the word out about your services. And it’s a good feeling when new customers reach out to you. Unfortunately, though, scammers pretending to be new customers are looking to disrupt your Zen — and take your money.

Fake Checks Can Cost You Audio Tip

Funding your holiday fun

It’s holiday season; time to visit family and friends, buy gifts and celebrate. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of sales and shopping, but if money is tight right now, you may wonder if you can afford all that holiday cheer. Before you start ringing up holiday expenses, make a budget and get a fix on your income, expenses and what you have to spend.

calculator

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Auto dealers pay for violating FTC order

Some businesses seem to have short memories. Case in point: In 2012, Billion Auto, a chain of family-owned auto dealerships, agreed to an FTC settlement order that required them not to run deceptive ads for the financing and leasing of their vehicles. Yet here we are again, reminding Billion Auto — this time with a financial penalty of $360,000 — of their responsibilities under the law.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Sensa buyers gain refund checks

Close to half a million people who bought Sensa, a sprinkle-on weight loss product, will share more than $26 million in refunds, thanks to the FTC. The money comes from the FTC’s settlement with Sensa’s marketers, who said their powder would help people lose weight. According to the FTC, the company didn’t have the scientific evidence they needed to back up the claims.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

Bling in the Holidays

As the old song goes, “Silver and gold, silver and gold, everyone wishes for silver and gold.” That rings especially true now that we’re smack in the middle of the gift-giving season. If you’re looking for that special little something, jewelry might do the trick. But do you know whether you’re buying a trinket or a treasure? If you’re on the hunt for holiday glitz, keep in mind these pearls of wisdom.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

How do scammers in your community connect with you?

Do you trust me because I speak Spanish? That sounds like a strange question, but in some communities – and in some situations – it could be enough for someone to trust a stranger.

At the Fraud Affects Every Community workshop recently held at FTC headquarters, we heard from panelists living and working in diverse communities about ways scammers are using language, shared customs, relationships and community practices to steal people’s money.

Giving and getting gift cards this holiday season

Mark Twain once said, “Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.” If you live by this mantra, you might find yourself scrambling at the last minute to finish your holiday shopping this season. Enter the gift card.

gift card

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Protecting your sensitive health information

Books closed, it’s time for a health privacy pop quiz. What online medical billing company did the FTC allege deceived consumers in an attempt to get their sensitive health information from pharmacies, health insurance companies, and medical labs?

A. Trapper John, M.D.

B. Doogie Howser, M.D.

C. House, M.D.

D. PaymentsMD

“Pass it on” at the holidays

Home for the holidays? This year, when you pass the turkey, latkes, or veggies, why not also pass on your knowledge about avoiding scams?  

You know a lot about scams. Sharing what you know can help protect someone who you know from a scam. That’s why the FTC created Pass It On – articles, presentations, bookmarks, activities and a video – all designed to help you talk about scams and how to prevent them. There’s something for everyone at your holiday gathering.

Pass it on

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit