June 2018

FTC sues two more in phantom debt scheme

Have you ever gotten a call about a debt that isn’t yours? That’s known as a phantom debt, and today, the FTC and the New York Attorney General’s Office announced that they are suing two players in an alleged phantom debt scam: Hylan Asset Management and Worldwide Processing Group. It’s a complex web of made-up debt, debt sellers, brokers, buyers, and collectors – involving some players the FTC has sued before.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Military Consumer Month 2018: Fight Imposter Scams

July is Military Consumer Month. This year, we’re focusing on fighting imposter scams – where a con artist pretends to be someone you trust, to convince you to send money or personal information. The scam can take many forms: imposters may say they’re calling from the government or from a business with technical support expertise. Other scammers lure unsuspecting victims by posing as legitimate users of online dating sites, or say that there’s an emergency with a friend or family member.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Avoiding World Cup scams

The long-awaited 2018 World Cup is underway. Fans from across the world have flocked to Russia in support of their favorite teams. Though most have already bought their tickets, many are still hoping to come across an unbeatable deal that will get them to the Cup.

While fans hope for a good deal, scammers hope for ticket-hungry fans. Here are a few tips for avoiding World Cup-related scams:

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

No prizes from the FTC

Recently, someone showed up at the door of the FTC to ask about his prize. He had a mailing saying he’d won $5 million – and the FTC had “certified and verified” it. The letter told him to act immediately to get the money. Otherwise, his millions would be given to somebody else. He’d talked with the so-called officials, who wanted him to pay $500 in fees to claim his (ahem) prize.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Credit card processing “deals” may be scams

If you’re in a small business, you probably need a way for people to pay you – and ways to lower your costs. Scammers have been working both of those angles, promising businesses that they can save on leases of credit card processing equipment. They’ve also been promising that businesses can cancel any time. 

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

Scams and your small business

At the FTC, our mission is to protect consumers, including small business owners. That’s why, when we see scammers taking money from small businesses, we step in. Today, the FTC announced Operation Main Street: Stopping Small Business Scams, a coordinated law enforcement and education effort with state and federal partners, as well as the Better Business Bureau (BBB), to stop scams that target small businesses.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

Hawaii’s volcano eruption: Picking up the pieces

While lava from the Kilauea volcano eruption continues to flow, it’s not too early to begin taking stock and developing a recovery plan. Here are a few tips and links to resources to help make the task less burdensome.

Giving wisely in the wake of natural disasters

Natural disasters and weather emergencies are in the news. Whether it’s the volcanic eruptions in Hawaii and Guatemala or the wildfires in Colorado, it’s heartbreaking to see people lose their homes and businesses to the ongoing devastation. But it’s despicable when scammers exploit such tragedies to appeal to your sense of generosity. If you’re looking for a way to help, the FTC urges you to be cautious of potential charity scams.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

FTC aids criminal prosecutions

The FTC protects consumers by stopping unfair, deceptive or fraudulent practices in the marketplace. We conduct investigations, sue outfits and individuals that break the law, and inform people and businesses about their rights and responsibilities. In 2017, the FTC filed more than 70 law enforcement actions, obtained more than 145 orders against defendants, and refunded more than $269 million to consumers.

The FTC is a civil law enforcement agency. That means that, while we can’t put people in jail, many of our partners can and do, including...

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Tips for scam-free travel

Planning a summer vacation? You may be looking for deals on cheap flights or discounts at hotels and resorts – but some promotions may come with strings attached, and others can be downright scams. Before you pack your bags, keep these travel tips in mind.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Work from home business scam sidelined

Would you be tempted by an online business training program that promises you could earn thousands of dollars a month working from home? I wouldn’t blame you if you were. But don’t believe the hype. Promises like these are signs of an online business scam.

business opportunity clipping

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

Protecting your devices from cryptojacking

Instead of min(d)ing their own business, are scammers using your computer as their virtual ATM? Three years ago, the FTC warned the public and took action against cryptojacking. That’s where scammers use your device’s processing power to “mine” cryptocurrency, which they can then convert into cold, hard cash.

 

Free credit freezes are coming soon

Looking for stronger ways to protect your credit? Thanks to a new federal law, soon you can get free credit freezes and year-long fraud alerts. Here’s what to look forward to when the law takes effect on September 21st:

Online giving portals: what should you know?

A common phrase in the world of charities is that there are many ways to give. Making an online donation is one way, and using an “online giving portal” is becoming a popular option. Check out our new articles – one for consumers and one for businesses – that describe these portals and what to consider before using them. Read the full articles for more information, but here are the basics.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

No gift cards for tech support scammers

Hey computer users, it’s time for a pop quiz.

A) You get an urgent call or email from a tech support company, saying your computer has a problem. Should you give the company remote access to your computer to make repairs?

B) A warning announcing “suspicious activity” or “security threat detected” appears on your computer screen. Should you call the number shown on the screen to talk to a technician?

C) One of these tech support companies asks you to pay for its services, maybe by using a gift card (like from iTunes or Amazon) or wire transfer. Should you?

Winners are losers in lottery & sweepstakes scams

You get a card, call, or email telling you that you won! Maybe it’s a lottery, sweepstakes, or some other prize. The person calling is excited and can’t wait for you to get your winnings. But here’s what happens next...

Untangling a robocaller web

Sick of getting robocalls and other unwanted calls? You can learn more about how to block them at ftc.gov/calls.

You also might know that the FTC continues to go after the people and companies behind these calls. Case in point: today the FTC announced a case against a group of defendants that it alleges are responsible for billions of illegal robocalls.