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October 2019

Free electronic credit monitoring coming soon to the military

What you can do to fend off hackers

Your personal information is valuable. That’s why hackers try to steal it. This year, for National Cyber Security Awareness Month, we’ve got tips to help you keep your personal information from ending up in the hands of a hacker.

Back brace scams target people on Medicare

Scammers have been targeting Medicare recipients with a scheme to get “free or low-cost” back and knee braces. They’re calling, running television ads, and mailing letters to get people to give their Medicare information. But if you give them your information, they’ll use it to fraudulently bill Medicare for braces or other medical equipment. This uses up your medical benefits, which means you might not be able to get the right brace later, if your doctor prescribes one.

Halloween know-how: Cosmetic contacts require an Rx

Dressing up for Halloween can be fun. Revelers often use make-up, wigs and cosmetic contact lenses to complete their look.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

SIM Swap Scams: How to Protect Yourself

If your cell phone is your go-to device for checking your email, paying your bills, or posting to social media, you’re not alone. So imagine that your cell phone suddenly stops working: no data, no text messages, no phone calls. Then picture getting an unexpected notification from your cellular provider that your SIM card has been activated on a new device. What’s going on? These could be signs that a scammer has pulled a SIM card swap to hijack your cell phone number. Find out how scammers pull off a SIM card swap like this and what you can do to protect yourself from a SIM card swap attack.

Scams and older consumers: Looking at the data

The FTC just sent a report to Congress called Protecting Older Consumers 2018-2019. The report suggests steps to take to help protect older consumers from fraud. But the evidence also shows a thing or two everyone else can learn from them. Check out the sometimes surprising findings in this year’s report.

Stalking apps: Retina-X settles charges

Did you know people can monitor you through your phone? The FTC’s settlement with Retina-X Studios, LLC marks the agency’s first case against “stalking apps” or “stalkerware” – spyware that secretly monitors another person’s smartphone.

Charity fraud awareness, here and abroad

Today is the start of International Charity Fraud Awareness Week (ICFAW), a coordinated international effort to help charities and donors avoid charity fraud. The FTC joins state charities regulators across the country, the National Association of State Charities Officials (NASCO), and international partners in this campaign. By joining forces, we can reach more people and more charities with information and advice. Money lost to bogus charities and scammers means less donations to help those in need. And no one wants that, either here or abroad.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Cosmetic company wrote fake reviews

Do you rely on product reviews to decide if something is good enough to try or buy? Real product reviews are great at helping us make better informed decisions. But you might wonder if some of these reviews – on websites, in blogs and on social media – are from real customers who used the product. And you should, because some companies use fake reviews to paint a pretty picture and boost their bottom line.

Fake followers: A social media hoax

Influencers, celebrities and other people with strong online followings can be, well, influential. When considering whether you want to buy something or use a service – especially when you’re buying online – you might look at a person’s or company’s social media. A bigger following might mean something to you, maybe telling you something about their legitimacy or how good their product or service is.

What Do Not Call complaints are telling us

Have you gotten a call from an imposter, maybe someone pretending to be with the Social Security Administration, IRS, or a tech support company, this year? If so, you’re not alone. Calls from imposters were the most-reported topic of unwanted calls to the FTC over the past year (FY2019).

You can see our annual report on Do Not Call complaints, with state-specific data. But here are some key takeaways.

Aloe, goodbye: company’s claims lacked proof

You may have heard of using aloe vera for sunburn relief. A Florida company claimed its aloe products would relieve joint and muscle pain, diabetes, acid reflux and more — and that health studies confirmed its claims. Not so, says the FTC. Under an FTC settlement, the company will pay a financial judgment of $537,000 and must stop making health related claims that aren’t supported by the necessary scientific evidence.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

Renting a car: Factoring in the fees

Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or a cross-country road trip, a rental car may be in your future. Comparing prices online can save you a bundle, but make sure you compare the total cost — not just the advertised rate. Added fees can increase the base price dramatically.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Zurixx’s real estate investment scheme

These days, it seems like everyone wants to make money by flipping houses. There are companies out there promising to tell you how, but not all those promises are real. The most recent example is Zurixx, a real estate investment company sued by the FTC and the Utah Division of Consumer Protection (DCP).

FTC Refunds: The real deal or not?

Sometimes the FTC is able to return money to people who were ripped off in a con artist’s scheme. But scammers try to cause confusion and take advantage at every step.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

FTC: AdvoCare business model was pyramid scheme

Are you thinking about joining a multi-level marketing business to earn extra money? Before investing your hard-earned cash, make sure you’re not dealing with a pyramid scheme – a scam that can cost you dearly.

graphic of FTC settlement with Advocare

 

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

Millennials and fraud: What’s the story?

Lots of people fall for scams. Is it any different for Millennials? That’s what the FTC explores in its new Data Spotlight, Not what you think: Millennials and fraud.