December 2016

Budgeting for the new year

If you had a dollar for every New Year’s resolution you’ve broken, what would you do with all that money? If spending was your first thought, here’s a resolution that can help your money grow: create and use a budget in the new year. Start by taking these steps to make a budget.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Repaying student loans? Read this

If you’re paying back your federal student loans, you might be interested in online ads saying things like, “Erase Default Statuses in 4–6 Weeks!” or – for the next few weeks – “Obama Wants to Forgive Your Student Loans!” Erasing default and loan forgiveness – sounds great to someone who owes a bundle, right?

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Fake “FTC investigation” email making the rounds again

Scams are like weeds: they crop up, are treated and disappear, only to find a way to pop up again. Such is the case with a scam we’ve written about before. In this scam, the fraudster pretends to be from the FTC and emails people, telling them they’re under investigation and to click on a link for more information.

A debt collection round-up

We ended 2015 by announcing Operation Collection Protection, a massive, nationwide enforcement initiative, targeting illegal debt collection practices at the federal, state, and local levels. Since then, the FTC and its partners have been busy bringing more actions against debt collectors who are unlicensed, deceptive or abusive. As Operation Collection Protection comes to a close, here’s a look back at what was accomplished.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

FTC Workshop: Changing demographics, evolving conversations

The Federal Trade Commission recently held “The Changing Consumer Demographics” workshop to examine demographic shifts.As the U.S. population ages and gets more diverse, consumer protection strategies must evolve to make sure we’re protecting all communities. Workshop participants, including expert demographers and leaders in marketing, consumer advocacy, and law enforcement, discussed what the population will look like in the future – and what that means for consumer protection.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Timeshare resale fail

If you’re thinking of selling a timeshare, the FTC cautions you to question resellers — real estate brokers and agents who specialize in reselling timeshares. They may claim that the market in your area is “hot” and that they’re overwhelmed with buyer requests. Some may even say that they have buyers ready to purchase your timeshare, or promise to sell your timeshare within a specific time. All they need is an upfront fee to get the ball rolling. Well, hold onto your money and read on.

Blog Topics: 
Homes & Mortgages

There’s an app for that (but it might be fake)

As more and more consumers are shopping with mobile apps, fraudsters are following the money. There are fake phone apps popping up that impersonate well-known retailers in order to steal your personal information. Their names are similar to well-known brands, and their descriptions promise enticing deals or features.But these fraudulent apps can take your credit card or bank information. Some fake apps may even install malware onto your phone and demand money from you to unlock it.

When fake fur is real

Do you have faux fur on your holiday wish list – maybe a jacket, hat or throw? It turns out that some faux fur is actually real fur, but manufacturers and retailers say it’s fake. And misleading people is against the law.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Getting tracked online even after you try to stop it

How do you feel about being tracked online? Maybe you’re ok with cookies that let websites remember your preferences — like what’s in your shopping cart — from visit-to-visit or across different devices. But how about companies that use cookies and other online tracking methods to send you targeted ads?

To control this kind of targeted advertising, you might take steps like deleting cookies, limiting ads through your device settings, or downloading different ad networks’ opt-out cookies. But what if an advertising company kept tracking you anyway — despite the steps you took to control it?

Money Now Funding Refunds: Only from the FTC

In the summer of 2015, the FTC won its lawsuit against thirty-two telemarketers including Money Now Funding LLC. The defendants took more than $7 million from people through a work-at-home scam. They told people they could earn money by referring local merchants to a non-existent money-lending service. The scammers claimed their “business opportunities” would yield up to $3,000 per month, but only after people paid $499 for the business opportunity and thousands of dollars more for business leads.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

What car dealers didn’t say about their inspections

If you’re doing business with a car dealer that advertises 100-plus-point inspections for its used cars, you’d expect the dealer to make it clear if some of those cars had open recalls for safety defects, right?

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Messages from a multi-level marketing settlement

You might have read about the FTC’s case against Vemma Nutrition Company, a business “opportunity” with pitches that promised big money from selling an energy drink. In 2015, the FTC filed suit, alleging that Vemma was running an illegal pyramid scheme and targeting college students.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

DeVry settles claims of deceptive advertising for $100 million

Lots of people choose a college to boost their earning potential. So it might have been appealing if you came across an ad from DeVry claiming that 90 percent of graduates actively seeking employment landed jobs in their field within six months of graduation. And that DeVry bachelor’s degree graduates, on average, had 15 percent higher incomes one year after graduation than the graduates of all other colleges or universities.

Online shopping for the holidays? Check this list.

In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it pays to slow down and take some precautions when shopping online. You see, the FTC has recently seen a spike of complaints about online retailers who didn’t deliver goods when they said they would, or didn’t deliver them at all. Late or no-show deliveries can make for less-than-jolly holidays. So here are a few tips to help make your online shopping merry and bright.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

FTC presses Aura over blood pressure app

Apps can add convenience to your daily routine, keep you organized, and help you learn something new — but only if they provide accurate information. If you’re planning to use an app to monitor health conditions — like your blood pressure — talk with your doctor or health care professional first.

 

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

FTC sends $88 million in mobile cramming refunds

Today, the FTC is returning more than $88 million to AT&T customers who were charged by other companies for “premium text message services.” These charges appeared on AT&T phone bills even though the customers hadn’t agreed to the charges — that’s according to the FTC, the Federal Communications Commission, all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In fact, many people weren’t even aware they had been paying — up to $9.99 per month — for services like ringtones, wallpapers, and text message subscriptions.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

What you need to know to secure your IoT devices

Today’s hackers are attacking a lot more than just computers. They’re going after ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) products – like internet-connected cameras and refrigerators  and using them to create havoc on the internet.

Struggling to make your mortgage payments?

If you’re behind on your mortgage payments or worried about how you’ll make the next one, help may be available. But you have to act fast. December 30, 2016 is the last day to apply for assistance under many federal Making Home Affordable programs, which were created to help homeowners struggling with their mortgage payments.Picture of a mortgage statement, a small calculator, and a pen.