July 2018

Government imposter scams

You get a text, call, or email from someone who says they’re with the government. They may claim to be a U.S. Marshal, saying you must pay a fine for missing jury duty. Or the IRS, saying that you owe thousands in back taxes. Some might threaten legal action, deportation, or arrest if you don’t pay up or give them your financial information.

In other cases, it sounds less scary and more like your lucky day. The call, text, or email will say you’ve won a prize, the lottery, or a grant — but you need to pay some fees or taxes to get your winnings.

Warn your friends about tech support scams

Tech support scams, which get people to pay for fake computer help or steal their personal information, are convincing. You might already know the signs of a tech support scam, but do your friends and family? Here’s what they need to know now.

Staying away from nanny and caregiving job scams

Finding a new job can be a challenge. Websites can help you find work, but scammers also use these sites to find people to rip off. Do you look for work on caregiver/nanny job sites? Sometimes scammers will offer a job but say you need to buy supplies or other equipment. They pressure you to act quickly, before you have time to think. They send you a check and tell you to deposit it and transfer money to their vendor to buy the supplies. Don’t do it — scammers post fake job listings for nannies and caregivers, then make up elaborate stories to get your money. The positions seem real, but they’re not — it’s a scam. The check will bounce. So, the money you sent is actually your own — and it’s gone.

Donate with honor, not to a sham charity

Would you donate to a charity called Help the Vets? What about if you get a robocall that asks you to donate your car to “Veterans of America?” Unfortunately, just because the word “veterans” is in the name, it doesn’t mean that an organization actually helps veterans. Today, the FTC and its state partners announced that they have taken action against fake charities and other schemes as part of Operation Donate with Honor, a nationwide law enforcement and education initiative to stop veterans-related charity fraud.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Avoiding tech support scams

You’re working on your computer when, suddenly, a message pops up on the screen: “Virus detected! Call now for a free security scan and to repair your device.” That’s a tech support scam. Don’t call, text, or email. Legit tech support companies don’t operate that way.

 

FTC looks for revised Used Car Buyers Guides

The FTC’s Used Car Rule says that dealers have to display a Buyers Guide in every used car they have for sale, and give it to buyers after the sale. The FTC recently checked out how dealers are following that rule in 20 cities, visiting 94 dealerships, and inspecting more than 2325 vehicles. Here’s what we found.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Online love asking for money? It’s a scam.

While plenty of successful relationships begin online, scammers also use online dating sites, apps, and chat rooms to trick you into sending them money. These imposters create fake profiles to build online relationships, and eventually convince people to send money in the name of love. Some even make wedding plans before disappearing with the money. It’s a big problem: reports to the FBI about online romance scams tripled between 2012 and 2016, and imposter scams were among the top reports to the Federal Trade Commission for both the general population and the military community.

Student loan debt relief customers: Take 2 steps

Do you have student loans? Did you respond to an ad from Ameritech Financial claiming to offer you debt relief? The FTC has sued Ameritech for deceptive practices and just sent letters about the case to thousands of customers. The court hasn’t ruled, but there are steps you can take now to make sure your payments are going toward your loans. In addition, Ameritech may have changed your Federal Student Aid (FSA) account information. There are steps you can take to protect your financial privacy.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Don’t let “FREE” cost you

When a company says you can try its product for free, you might think, why not? Here’s why not: You could end up paying a lot of money for that free trial. Scammers often use free trial offers with undisclosed or buried terms to enroll people in costly membership programs. That’s what happened in the case of Triangle Media Corporation, the FTC alleges.

Scammers create fake emergencies to get your money

Scammers try to trick you into thinking a loved one is in trouble. They call, text, email, or send messages on social media about a supposed emergency with a family member or friend. They ask you to send money immediately. To make their story seem real, they may claim to be an authority figure, like a lawyer or police officer; they may have or guess at facts about your loved one. These imposters may insist that you keep quiet about their demand for money to keep you from checking out their story and identifying them as imposters. But no matter how real or urgent this seems — it’s a scam.

Getting a vacation rental? Watch out for scams.

With July 4th right around the corner, plenty of us are still running around trying to book a last-minute vacation rental. If that’s you, here’s what you need to know: scammers are ready with fake vacation rental ads. Rental scammers try to get your rental booking and take your money. But, when you show up for the vacation, you have no place to stay and your money is gone!

Blog Topics: 
Homes & Mortgages