February 2018

Tips for using peer-to-peer payment systems and apps

Online peer-to-peer, or P2P, payment systems let you send money to people quickly. I’ve used them to collect money from the parents on my daughter’s soccer team and to send money to my brothers when we’ve bought a gift for a friend. Personally, I almost always know where my phone is, but I can’t say the same for my checkbook.

The use of these services is a growing trend—I just read an article that estimates there will be more than $700 billion in peer-to-peer payments in the U.S. in 2018. There are several mobile peer-to-peer apps out there already and banks are also getting into the game. If you use a peer-to-peer payment system, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Plan to tune in: #NCPW2018 Facebook Live chats

During National Consumer Protection Week 2018, March 4-10, the FTC will co-host four Facebook Live chats (including one in Spanish) with other federal partners. Tune in to find out how to avoid frauds and scams, including imposter scams, and what you can do about identity theft.

Cancer patients: don’t make your side effects worse

If your friend or loved one has cancer, you may have searched online for products to help them manage side effects from treatment. Unfortunately, some products you find online don’t live up to the promises in their sales pitches. Learn about evaluating the claims you see when you shop for health-related products.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

Phishers send fake invoices

We’ve recently heard that scammers are recycling an old phishing attempt. In this version, scammers, posing as a well-known tech company, email a phony invoice showing that you’ve recently bought music or apps from them. The email tells you to click on a link if you did not authorize the purchase. Stop – do not click on the link. That’s the new twist on an old scam.

Shopping for a VPN app? Read this.

You probably know by now that using your mobile device on the public Wi-Fi network of your local coffee shop or airport poses some risk. Public networks are not very secure – or, well, private – which makes it easy for others to intercept your data. So, what can you do to keep your mobile data private and secure while out and about? Some consumers have started using Virtual Private Network (VPN) apps to shield the information on their mobile devices from prying eyes on public networks. Before you download a VPN app, you should know that there are benefits and risks.  

Stopping scams targeting older consumers

The FTC has a long history of protecting people from scams.  As part of its ongoing efforts to protect people in every community, the FTC recently took steps to stop two schemes harming older adults: a tech support scam and a sweepstakes scam.

Less than magical promises of youth

Once upon a time, a woman drank a potion, magically turned into the young maiden she was 20 years earlier, and lived happily ever after.

The End?

Maybe in this fairy tale. But for real-life people who believe in — and literally buy into — the unsubstantiated claims of a miracle product, the ending is rarely, if ever, a happy one.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

Western Union refund alert

The deadline to ask for your money back from the FTC’s settlement with Western Union is now May 31, 2018. That’s the settlement refunding people the money that scammers had them pay using Western Union between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017. We have some tips on how to file your claim, answers to questions, and where to start filing your claim online. But, based on some recent questions – and because we’ve heard about some people making promises they can’t deliver – we wanted to give you some practical tips on how to get your claim in.

Looking for a web host for your small business?

Running a small company or a home-based business requires laser-like focus. Of course, you want a web presence, but with everything else you have to do, you may decide to hire a web-hosting company to support your website. Web hosts offer an array of options – email, storage, integrated e-commerce, etc. But according to the FTC, there’s another feature you should factor in when comparison-shopping for web hosting services: security.

Know the risks before you invest in cryptocurrencies

It’s not just bitcoin. There are now hundreds of cryptocurrencies, which are a type of digital currency, on the market. They’ve been publicized as a fast and inexpensive way to pay online, but many are now also being marketed as investment opportunities. But before you decide to purchase cryptocurrency as an investment, here are a few things to know:

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

The FTC will never ask you to send money

If someone claiming to be with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) contacts you and asks you to send money, it’s a scam. Do not pay. Report it. Spread the word to your family and friends.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

New easy money con, same old tricks

What would you give for a turnkey system to earn six figures in 90 days or less, all while working from home? That’s what the defendants behind Digital Altitude promised. But the FTC alleges they did not deliver.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

FEMA impersonators and identity theft

If you’ve been affected by a recent natural disaster has someone called asking to verify your FEMA registration even though you didn’t apply? Or have you tried to claim FEMA benefits or assistance, but were told you had already applied?

 

After receiving multiple complaints from people living in these affected areas, the FTC wants you to know about a scam involving FEMA impersonators and identity theft. Here is what people are reporting:

Company collected kids’ info without permission

Aspiring young actors, singers, dancers, models and other artists often network to find auditions, casting calls and other professional opportunities. In their eagerness and excitement, children may think it’s okay to share information about themselves online — especially if it means getting a gig they really want. As a parent, you know better.

New deadline for Western Union settlement requests

Did you lose money to a scammer who had you pay using Western Union between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017? If so, you can ask for money back from the FTC’s settlement with Western Union. And the deadline to file your claim was just extended to May 31, 2018.

Has an online love interest asked you for money?

Looking to start a new relationship? For some, that may mean meeting a new love interest online. Word to the wise: sometimes it’s best to lead with your head and not your heart.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit