September 2018

$505 million in refunds sent to payday loan customers

Managing someone else’s money: New protection from ID theft and fraud

If you manage someone else’s money, protecting your loved one from financial exploitation and scams is among your important responsibilities. Starting September 21st, 2018, a new federal law lets some financial caregivers request a security freeze, also called a credit freeze, on their loved one’s behalf. Taking this step can help protect them from identity theft and fraud.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Root, root, root for the regions

This year eight major league baseball teams are celebrating milestone anniversaries – and so are the FTC’s regional offices. In 1918, the Commission opened the first three of its regional offices. Today, eight regional offices continue to knock it out the park on behalf of America’s consumers. So it’s only fitting that on this momentous day we acknowledge the regional offices’ century of pennant-winning performances.

Free credit freezes are here

Free credit freezes and year-long fraud alerts are here, starting September 21st, thanks to a new federal law. Here’s what you should know:

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Please don’t get your cancer treatments in a bar.

We’ve warned people for years not to trust the wild health claims that some companies make about their pills, powders, and potions. Call us old fashioned, but we almost fell off our stool when we heard about a company that ginned up some health claims for “cocktails” that go through the arm and not down the hatch. What are we talking about? We know you’re on pins and needles, so let’s get to it.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

Hang up on Medicare card scams

Scammers follow the news – and the money. A few months ago, we shared the news that Medicare is sending new cards to everyone who gets Medicare benefits, replacing your Social Security number with another number. As expected, scammers have been trying to cash in on this change.

FTC shuts down fake document sellers

When you apply for credit, a mortgage, a place to live, government benefits, or tax refunds, you need documents showing your income, employment, and other information. But not everyone plays by the rules. Some businesses sell fake documents to people who use them to get products and services for which they might not otherwise qualify.

Picking up the pieces after a hurricane

Dealing with the aftermath of a hurricane can be overwhelming, but taking stock and developing a recovery plan can give you a sense of hope and purpose. Here are a few tips and links to resources to help make the task less burdensome.

WeTakeSection8 – but not really

Looking for an apartment? Many of us start looking online, trusting that the rental sites give us good information. But what if they don’t, and then charge for it? That’s just what the FTC says happened in its most recent case related to housing.

Empower yourself against utility scams

You get a call saying your electricity or water will be shut off unless you pay a past due bill. You may not think you have a past due bill. But the caller sounds convincing, and you can’t afford to ignore it, especially if you’re running a small business.

Actually, you can’t afford to believe it.

Blog Topics: 
Homes & Mortgages

Your Social Security Number isn’t suspended. Ever.

A caller says that he’s from the government and your Social Security number (SSN) has been suspended. He sounds very professional. So you should do exactly what he says to fix things…right?

Wrong.

Blog Topics: 
Homes & Mortgages

Empowering Hispanic consumers and business owners

September 15th marks the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month —a time to celebrate the heritage, cultures and contributions of all Latino and Hispanic Americans in the U.S. For us at the FTC, it is a reminder of our continued commitment to protect all consumers in every community. For me, it is a reminder of the work that my colleagues and I do to ensure that many of these resources are available to Spanish speakers.

Wise giving after a hurricane

Tips to avoid hurricane relief charity fraud.

Free publications about credit and debt

Do you work or volunteer with people who are concerned about debt or want to improve their credit? Then you might be interested in these three new free booklets. Delivery to your home or office is free, too. Each booklet also is available as an online article.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Copycat recruiting sites?

Servicemembers understand the serious responsibility of enlisting in the armed forces. But some companies may try to take advantage. If you or a loved one is visiting military recruiting websites to research or enlist, don’t get the wrong impression. Double check that the military recruiting sites you land on are official websites of the U.S. Armed Forces, not ones in disguise made to collect, and sell, your personal information.

Anatomy of a fake check scam

Fake checks drive many types of scams – like those involving phony prize wins, fake jobs, mystery shoppers, online classified ad sales, and others.

It’s National Preparedness Month: Make a plan

Extreme weather and natural disasters can occur with little warning. This year’s floods and wildfires are proof of that. Are you ready to leave your home at a moment’s notice? You can reduce your anxiety about these scary events by making sure you are prepared if and when they happen. September is National Preparedness Month and a good time to get your family, pets, and property ready. You can, for example:

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit