January 2017

Uber-exaggerated claims result in $20 million settlement

When you’re on the hunt for income, the last thing you want is to be misled about the earnings and benefits that a business opportunity offers. Today, the FTC announced that Uber agreed to a $20 million settlement of the FTC’s charges that the company made false or unsupported claims regarding its drivers’ likely income and the benefits of its Vehicle Solutions Program.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

Looking back at privacy in 2016, and on to the future

Protecting consumers’ privacy and personal data has long been a priority at the FTC. Over the years, we’ve helped millions of identity theft victims recover from that crime. We created the National Do Not Call Registry to limit unwanted telemarketing, and we continue to fight illegal robocalls. And we’ve brought more than sixty cases against companies that didn’t take reasonable steps to protect people’s data.

Western Union settlement: $586 million in refunds

According to the FTC, Western Union has known for years that scammers were using its system to commit significant fraud. Even when faced with clear evidence that many of its agents were committing fraud, Western Union kept taking people’s money. Probably billions in fraud-related transfers, sent since January 2004. But today, in a global settlement with the FTC and the US Department of Justice, Western Union agreed to return $586 million to people and create a real and strong anti-fraud program.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Credit Bureau Center’s Online Rental Scam

Renting an apartment online? First, let me tell you about the FTC’s case against Credit Bureau Center, LLC – a company that posted fake online rentals to lure people to their credit monitoring sites. 

Make it a season of unhappy returns for tax ID thieves

Tax identity thieves and IRS imposters are ready for tax season, whether you are or not. Find out how to protect yourself, and what to do if someone you know becomes a victim, during Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week, January 30 through February 3.

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Order free materials for National Consumer Protection Week 2017

National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) is around the corner! The annual event – March 5-11, 2017 – is a time to help people understand their consumer rights, make well-informed decisions about money, and spot scams.

Ad hype: True or false?

When it comes to advertising hype, we’ve heard it all. Some can be very appealing: “Shrink two sizes without dieting!” Who wouldn’t love to lose weight or shape up with no effort? Well, the problem is, that’s not how it works. Take a pass on any product that offers weight loss or fitness results without any effort. Remember, no garment, gizmo, or cream is going to make you fit and toned. 

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

Pass it on in your community

Pass it On is the FTC’s consumer education campaign designed to encourage older adults to talk to their friends, neighbors, and relatives about scams. Because we’ve learned that sharing what you know can help protect someone who you know from a scam. Now, we’ve got a new video that highlights how some local organizations are getting in on the act and using Pass it On materials in their communities – all in different ways.

Money back for 350,000 Herbalife distributors

Last July, we told you about the FTC’s settlement with Herbalife, which made the multilevel marketing company not only restructure how it does business, but also pay $200 million to people who lost money trying to run an Herbalife business. Today, we mailed checks to about 350,000 of them. Are you thinking about a multilevel marketing (MLM) business opportunity? Every year, many people join MLM plans – and many also leave. Before joining any MLM company, do some research. Your time and money are too valuable not to. Here are a few things to consider:

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

Defendant pays the price for selling fake consumer debt portfolios

Debt buying is big business. That’s the sale of old debt, for pennies on the dollar, by creditors to buyers who then attempt to collect the debt or sell it to other buyers. But when a person or company sells fake debt portfolios, that’s fraud

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Prevagen’s fishy brainpower claims

When an ad suggests a product can improve your memory in 90 days, you might be tempted to buy it. But, if solid science doesn’t back these claims, forget about it.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

Don’t pay for a car with Amazon gift cards. Ever.

We’ve written before about scammers who trick people into paying with iTunes gift cards. The latest? They’re asking people to pay for big online purchases — like cars, motorcycles, boats, RVs and tractors — with Amazon gift cards.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

FTC sues D-Link over router and camera security flaws

If you’ve got a wireless network, your wireless router connects your computer and other devices to the internet. If it’s reasonably designed and configured, the router also is a gate that should prevent hackers from accessing your devices and data. Hackers have used unsecured internet-connected devices, like routers and cameras, to steal people’s data, spy on their activities, and even bring down important websites. So it’s pretty important that routers – key connections to the internet – are secured, right?

The FTC thinks so, which is why today we’re suing the makers and distributors of D-Link products, for failing to take reasonable steps to secure their routers and IP cameras.

Police raids in India cut down IRS imposter calls

Over the last few years, we’ve warned about a lot of imposter scams. In one of the most common types, callers pretending to be from the IRS demand payments and threaten to arrest people.

Last fall, we mentioned raids on illegal telemarketing operations by the police in India. After that, the US Department of Justice indicted dozens of scammers who also were impersonating the IRS. After those actions, the number of IRS imposter scams reported to the FTC plummeted. On Tuesday, the New York Times ran a behind-the-scenes look at the call centers and the raids that took them down. It’s a great reminder that scammers are organized, and they’re really good liars.

Announcing the Internet of Things Home Inspector Challenge

Anyone old enough to remember The Jetsons knows how the futuristic family used their flying car or jetpack to get to their “smart home,” where people movers whisked the family from room to room, lights automatically switched on, food appeared at the touch of a button, and Rosie the robot maid cleaned up.

Yahoo customer service scam

Need to contact Yahoo customer care? There are a few ways to do so — but, Yahoo warns that phone is not an option. That’s right: any phone number you come across in an internet search, claiming to connect you with Yahoo customer care, is fake.