July 2017

Avoid international travel document scams

If you are planning a trip outside the US, you have probably been collecting tips on everything from great restaurants to comfortable walking shoes. Here is our contribution: when you search for information online, you may find official-looking websites that offer travel documents, information and services. But some official-looking sites are copycats — imposters — that can put your money and personal information at risk.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

The Winner of the IoT Home Inspector Challenge is…

Internet of Things (IoT) devices have made our lives easier. You can now set your slow cooker to the right temperature while you’re at work. Lightbulbs can be programmed to flick on while you’re away. Even washing machines and garden sprinklers are hyper-connected. But for all of the ease and convenience of these IoT devices, there is a flip side: security risks.

That’s why, this past January, we asked for your help through the IoT Home Inspector Challenge. The contest challenged entrants to develop a tool that would help address security issues caused by out-of-date software in IoT devices. We knew there were innovators out there with big ideas, and you delivered.

Dietary supplement concerns? Tell the FTC and FDA

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have enforcement programs to protect consumers from false and misleading claims about the safety and benefits of products marketed as dietary supplements. Both agencies have authority over the marketing of these products.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

What we heard: military consumer financial issues

When you want to know what’s going on with a group, you go directly to the source, right? That’s exactly what the FTC did last week when it held a Military Consumer Financial Workshop in San Antonio, Texas. The day’s purpose was to take a look at the financial issues and scams that can affect military consumers – active duty servicemembers, veterans, and their families.

July 26: Military Consumer on Twitter and Facebook

@MilConsumer will host a Twitter chat about credit issues with the National Credit Union Administration, Military Saves, and the National Military Family Association. Join the conversation on July 26 at 2:00 pm ET at #NCUAChat and #MilConsumer. To give you a head start, here are the questions we’ll cover:

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Fake Publishers Clearing House scams

Publishers Clearing House and the FTC have both gotten many reports about scammers using the Publishers Clearing House name to deceive people. Scammers call, claiming you’ve won the sweepstakes – but, to collect your prize, you need to send money to pay for so-called fees and taxes.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Do you own a business? We want to hear from you.

Under Acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen’s leadership, we are prioritizing outreach and education for small businesses on data security issues. For example, we recently launched a site with resources to help small businesses stay ahead of the latest scams, reduce the risk of cyber threats, and respond in case of a data breach. Tools like these put easy-to-understand, practical tips in businesses’ hands. We’re also talking to business owners to learn more about their cyber security challenges.

If your business has just a few employees we’re interested in hearing about the challenges you face dealing with cyber threats and data security, and which issues you’re most interested in getting information about.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

FTC proud of service to America

Every year, the Partnership for Public Service awards Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals (the “Sammies” – or kind of the Oscars for feds) to highlight excellence in the federal workforce, and programs that make the country better, safer and stronger. This year, the FTC is proud to be a finalist in the Homeland Security and Law Enforcement Category, for our team’s work in creating IdentityTheft.gov. (Please vote for the People’s Choice.) But we’re just as proud that the FTC’s work is represented in three of the four finalists in that category.

The price of free software?

Has your computer been acting strange lately? Maybe your default search engine or other browser settings changed, or you’re getting suspicious warnings about your computer’s performance. Are you are seeing ads that don’t seem to belong – like ones that cover up parts of the webpage or are on a site that doesn’t usually show ads? If so, you may have unwanted software on your computer. Your next step: get rid of any malware.

Fake debt collectors impersonate real businesses

Fake debt collectors will say anything that will scare you into paying them. Today, the FTC stopped imposters who pretended to be lawyers. They threatened people with lawsuits and jail time to collect debts that didn’t exist. These imposters often used the names of real small businesses or names that were very similar to those of existing businesses.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Keep security in mind on your summer vacation

When you travel, there probably are a few must-haves in your suitcase: your toothbrush, deodorant, socks, shoes – you get the idea. But one travel must-have we don’t always think about is security. While you’re away from home, you might be using public Wi-Fi, tagging your locations (whether or not you realize it), carrying around your passport, and using your credit card more often. Those things could put you at a higher risk of identity theft.
 

 

Scammers order chaos for your business

Some scammers specialize in tricking people into paying for things they didn’t order. They often target business because they know that, in some businesses, the people who order supplies and the people who pay the invoices might not talk all the time. The scammers bet on the bill-payer assuming the invoices are for things the company actually ordered. And if the scammers are right, they can cash in big.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

Join the #Milchat

On July 13, @MilConsumer is hosting a Twitter chat to discuss the job search and employment challenges that transitioning servicemembers and their spouses face. Some of the issues we’ll cover include state professional licensing, job-hunting tips, and how to avoid job search scams.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

Shade-y claims of harmless “green” paint

If you’re thinking about sprucing up the interior of your home with a fresh paint job, using a paint with no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) may be important to you since these compounds can be harmful to people. However, the FTC warns that some paint companies mislead people about the amount of VOCs emitted by their paints.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Scammers can be inventive

If you’ve created a product or service you’re eager to sell, it makes sense to get patent or trademark protection. But some information that looks official might really just a scam to get your money.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

“Going out of business” sales: Are the deals real?

Who doesn’t like to save money? Those big colorful “going out of business” sale signs can draw you in, like a moth to a flame. Before you fork over any cash, make sure you understand the real deal. Otherwise, you might get burned. Here are a few things to think about.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Scams in the name of charity

Scammers are creative, cunning and cruel — and they often mix in a little truth to spice up their big lies. This scheme shows just how low they can go.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

FTC sends DeVry refund checks

As part of its settlement with DeVry University, FTC is mailing 173,155 refund checks worth more than $49 million to some students who attended the school between 2008 and 2015.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Fake loan-matching site put consumers at risk

Some scammers build and market websites that claim to offer loan-matching services. The sites convince people to share personal information, but instead of delivering help, the operators scoop up people’s information and sell it for their own profit.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit