August 2017

Hurricane Harvey scams: Callers lie about flood insurance

One thing we’ve learned at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is that scams often follow the news – especially when there’s a natural disaster, like Hurricane Harvey, in the headlines. Case in point: Colleagues at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) tell us homeowners and renters are getting robocalls telling them their flood premiums are past due.

Blog Topics: 
Homes & Mortgages

Rental cars: Life in the toll lane

If you’re planning a business trip or vacation, you may have to make a decision about how to pay tolls when you rent a car. Most rental car companies offer ways to pay tolls automatically, but that convenience comes at a cost.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

TaxSlayer: File this one under authentication

Have you ever filed your taxes using an online tax prep account? If so, you’ll want to know about the FTC’s recent settlement with TaxSlayer, LLC.

Phantom debt collectors impersonate law firms

Getting a call from a debt collector can be stressful. But it can be downright frightening when the caller uses lies, profanity and threats to try to get you to pay. In a case announced today, the FTC says a debt collection operation in Charlotte, NC pretended to be lawyers. Really, they were not lawyers and had no authority to collect debts.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Wise giving in the wake of Hurricane Harvey

It’s heartbreaking to see people lose their lives, homes, and businesses to the ongoing flooding in Texas. But it’s despicable when scammers exploit such tragedies to appeal to your sense of generosity.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Hurricane Harvey: Picking up the pieces

Hurricane Harvey has devastated much of Southeastern Texas. Once the rain and floodwaters recede, it’ll be time to take stock and develop a recovery plan. The process may seem overwhelming. Here are a few tips and links to resources to help make the task less burdensome.

Blog Topics: 
Homes & Mortgages

$10 million in refunds ‘in-bound’ to consumers

People who lost money to a telemarketing tech support scam will soon get an email with instructions to claim a partial refund. The refunds are the result of an FTC case against Advanced Tech Support, which also used the name Inbound Call Experts.

Working together to protect Texas consumers

When it comes to meeting ambitious goals, even the Lone Ranger knows that working with partners is more productive than working alone. And that’s why civil, criminal and regulatory enforcement agencies from across the Lone Star State came together in Dallas this week to talk about how to better protect Texans and build better partnerships.

FTC/CDC Twitter Chat on good contact lens wear & care habits

To promote Contact Lens Health Week 2017, the FTC will be a guest on a live Twitter chat hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The chat is scheduled for Tuesday, August 22 at noon EST.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

False promises from a work-at-home scam

It’s hard to pass up a job opportunity that promises a large income and the flexibility of working entirely from home. Especially when the opportunity appears at the top of your online search results and includes video testimonials of success stories, making it seem legitimate. The problem is, most of these job opportunities are scams and won’t deliver on their promises.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

No secret bank accounts to pay your bills

Another day, another scam. Case in point: the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reports that scammers are telling people they can pay their bills using so-called “secret accounts” or “Social Security trust accounts” and routing numbers at Federal Reserve Banks.

Scams affect all of us

How many of us get scam calls? Maybe it’s someone saying they’re the IRS. Or a debt collector. Or tech support. Or a so-called friend in so-called trouble. And they want you to send money. Sound familiar? All of us are targeted for scams. Every one of us. Which is why we created this video to make exactly that point – fraud really does affect all of us, in every community. And we all can do something about it.

 

 

Payments you didn’t authorize could be a scam

Usually, when I pay with a check, I write it out and sign it, or I direct my bank to send it on my behalf. But what if a check is drawn on my account but I didn’t write it, sign it, or tell my bank to send it? It can happen if someone has your bank account number: they can use your number to create a check that takes money out of your account. Now, if you’d already agreed to the charges, there’s no problem. But what if you didn’t? That means this check is part of a scam – which is what the FTC says happened in a case announced today.

The FTC sued several companies and individuals for allegedly taking millions of dollars out of people’s accounts using remotely created checks – without the account owners’ authorization.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Uber settles with FTC over privacy and data security promises

As a consumer, you expect companies to honor their promises to protect your personal information. As the nation’s consumer protection agency, so does the FTC. Today, the FTC announced it reached an agreement with Uber to settle FTC charges that Uber abandoned its promises to take reasonable steps to protect consumers’ personal information and to make sure that Uber employees only accessed consumer information for appropriate business purposes.

Battling ticket bots

You’re online, ready to buy concert tickets the second they go on sale, and then… they’re sold out. Were you beaten by a ticket bot? Here’s what you need to know.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Looking for a caregiver job? Watch this video

Are you looking for a nanny or caregiver job? Do you search for these jobs on websites such as care.com or sittercity.com? If so, then you should look out for nanny or caregiver scams.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

A new kind of classic: FTC Classic Videos

 Who doesn’t love taking a trip down memory lane?  In our new “FTC Classics” playlist, you can do just that.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Outlet shopping: What the pros know

As summer comes to a close and back-to-school shopping lists loom large, you may be thinking of ways to save money. Some people turn to outlet shopping. But before you pack up the car for an all-day shopping excursion, here are some tips to help you get the most for your money.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Grandpa spots scammers

One of my favorite parts about working at the Federal Trade Commission is hearing stories of folks avoiding a scam. A recent story involves Lou, who picked up the phone and spotted the scam almost as soon as he heard the young man call him “Grandpa.” The caller said he’d been arrested for drunk driving, needed money for bail, and wanted Lou to call a “lawyer” who would explain everything. (All while not telling “Mom.”)

Launder payments for a scam. Get caught, too.

At the FTC, one lawsuit can lead to another. Two years ago, the FTC shut down Money Now Funding, a scam that promised people they would earn thousands to find and refer small businesses in need of a loan. Fast forward to the present, and the FTC is suing the people and payment processing businesses it says laundered more than $5 million in credit card charges that Money Now Funding collected from its victims.

Two people standing facing each other and talking

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Scammers impersonate the National Institutes of Health

Consumers are reporting another government imposter scam – this time the scammers are pretending to be calling from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). According to reports, callers are telling people they’ve been selected to receive a $14,000 grant from NIH. To get it, though, callers tell people to pay a fee through an iTunes or Green Dot card, or by giving their bank account number.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

A costly low-cost trial offer

You’ve probably seen online ads with offers to let you try a product – or a service – for a very low cost, or even for free. Sometimes they’re tempting: I mean, who doesn’t want whiter teeth for a dollar plus shipping? Until the great deal turns into a rip-off. That’s what the FTC says happened in a case it announced today.

The defendants sold tooth-whitening products under various names, and hired other companies to help them market the products. These affiliate marketers created online surveys, as well as ads for free or low-cost trials – all to drive people to the product’s website. What happens next is so complicated that we created an infographic to explain it.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

Want cosmetic contact lenses? Get an Rx!

You might want to think twice before buying cosmetic contact lenses – and the reason may surprise you.

What are cosmetic contacts? They’re contact lenses meant to change the way your eye looks, rather than correct your vision. Change can be a good thing – but you’re gonna need a prescription for it.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

Here’s a big reason to complain about unwanted calls

Tired of getting unwanted calls like illegal robocalls? We don’t even need to ask, right? Maybe you’ve wondered if filing a complaint actually makes a difference?

Your complaints are vital to the work we do (more on that in a minute). But today we’ve got another great reason to keep those complaints coming.

Planning to watch the eclipse? Read this first

On Monday, August 21, 2017, sky-gazers across the country will watch the solar eclipse. If you’re planning to watch, you’ll need to use eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewers. Be sure to get the kind that actually protects your eyes.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness