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January 2017

This tax season, join a webinar, protect your data

Tax season has just begun, but tax identity thieves already are posting their “gone phishin’” signs: fake emails designed to trick companies into handing over their employees’ personal information. To help small businesses avoid the hook, the FTC and the IRS are hosting a free Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week webinar on Wednesday, February 1, at 4 p.m. EST.

Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week has an event for you

Today we’re kicking off Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week. Tax identity theft happens when a scammer files a fraudulent tax return using your Social Security number (SSN) and claims your refund. It also happens when someone uses your SSN to earn wages, and sticks you with the tax bill.

Logo: Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week, January 30 through February 3

A government program that pays your bills?

Have you heard about a government program that will pay your monthly bills for an up-front payment or processing fee? Here’s a short version of the rest of this post: It’s a scam. Don’t do it.

We’ve heard that this scam is happening in some African-American church communities: people approach church-goers with this so-called deal. And, because it comes up in church, the scam might seem like it could be legit. But take it from me – and the FTC: there is no federal program that pays your monthly bills in exchange for payment of any kind.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

The FTC’s sobering truth about Breathometer

Whether you’re gathering with friends for Friday night happy hour or a Super Bowl party to watch the big game, it’s important to get home safely. So wouldn’t it be great if you could transform your smartphone into a breathalyzer to make sure you were safe to drive? Well, Breathometer, Inc., claimed its breathalyzer devices could do just that, and give you the power to make smart decisions while you’re drinking.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

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.

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.

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

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.

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.