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June 2016

Gear up for a great trip

So, who’s ready for a summer break? Maybe you’re planning to frolic by the seashore, chill out in the mountains, or take in the sights and sounds of the big city. Just remember -- scammers don’t take a vacation. But the FTC can help you spot some common pitfalls so you don’t get tripped up by your travel plans.

 

  

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Spreading the word on “Medicare” scams

Some scams target all of us.  IRS imposters, scammers offering to lower your credit card payments, and fake debt collectors blast out billions of robocalls, seemingly at random.

But, sometimes, scammers focus their pitch on a particular audience. They figure out what might make it seem like the message is really aimed at you. And scammers can be very persistent and very convincing.

$10 billion for consumers over VW’s false clean car claims

Under a partial settlement filed today by the FTC, Volkswagen is agreeing to provide up to $10 billion to owners and lessees of VW and Audi 2.0 liter diesel cars that it claimed had low levels of harmful emissions, but did not. It’s the largest false advertising case in FTC history. Approximately 475,000 cars are affected.

 a buyback of your car or early lease termination or if approved by EPA and CARB, a modification to your car to improve emissions and cash. Some former owners and lessees also are eligible to receive cash.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

New limits on telemarketers

Fraudulent telemarketers ask people to pay with systems — like cash-to-cash transfers or cash reload card PINs — that deliver a quick, anonymous cash payout. However, it’s now illegal for telemarketers to ask for payment by cash-to-cash money transfers — like those from MoneyGram and Western Union, or PINs from cash reload cards like MoneyPak and Vanilla Reload.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Online tracking – more than cookies

Wondering why you keep getting online ads targeted to you? Then, check out the FTC’s updated guidance on online tracking. It describes different methods of tracking, how they work, and how you can control them.

Has your cell phone fallen for a smooth operator?

When you adjust the settings on your mobile device to keep your location private, you expect your location will be private. Right? Maybe not. An FTC case announced today alleges a mobile advertising company secretly tracked people through their devices, regardless of their privacy settings.

Password breaches – What to do

With hundreds of millions of usernames and passwords exposed by breaches recently in the news, you may be wondering how to keep your information safe. Whether you’ve been part of a breach or not, it’s a good time to take steps to protect your usernames and passwords.

“Doctor Trusted” couldn’t be trusted

Do you ever shop online for health products, like dietary supplements? Maybe you’ve seen various seals and certificates on sites you visit — showing that a site is secure, or that products on the site have been tested and evaluated. You’d think you could trust those seals and certificates — but unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

The FTC recently announced a settlement with SmartClick Media, a company that sold deceptive “Doctor Trusted” health seals to over 800 websites.

Avoid a debt relief scam [fotonovela]

Maria and Rafael are thrilled that their daughter just graduated college and they’re ready to celebrate with friends and family. Abuela even made her famous tamales for the special occasion! At the party, Maria and Rafael beam with pride. 

Soon after the festivities wind down, reality sets in and Rafael starts worrying. They have to start paying back the money they owe for their daughter’s college education, but he’s been out of work for months. What’s he going to do?

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day – Playing a part in prevention

It’s World Elder Abuse Awareness Day – it’s not a celebratory day, but rather a day to talk about preventing, identifying, and responding to elder abuse and financial exploitation. Whether you are an older adult, care for one, or simply know someone who is a senior, you can do something to prevent elder financial abuse. Here are some tips and tools to help you play a part.

Who are you talking to?

Imagine what you’d say – or write – about your health to a group of strangers. Or a friend. Or, say, your doctor. Probably different, right?

According to a settlement just announced by the FTC, a company called Practice Fusion published comments from many people who likely thought they were communicating directly with their doctor. Numerous people wrote about things like prescriptions. Facelifts. Depression. Some people also included with this information their full name, phone number, and other stuff you don't usually share with the world. But then those seemingly private messages went public.

Identity theft… by mobile phone

Identity theft can happen to you – and your mobile phone. It has even happened to the FTC’s Chief Technologist, Lorrie Cranor, and other FTC colleagues.

How does it happen? You might get a bill for a new mobile phone that you didn’t order. The thief used your personal information to open a new account. Or maybe your phone stops working entirely because a thief used your information to upgrade to a new phone and then shut off the phone you’re using.      

What can you do to reduce the risk of mobile phone identity theft?

How to avoid imposters: 4 videos you need to see

A person pretends to be someone you trust and tries to convince you to send them money. They’re called imposter scams, and scammers use all kinds of angles to make their stories sound believable. If you — or your friends and family — haven’t been targeted by one yet, it’s almost certain you will be.