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July 2020

Cracking down on fake COVID-19 cures

If you or a loved one has COVID-19, you might feel hopeful about products that guarantee you the treatment or cure you’re looking for. But if those products don’t work as advertised, then you could end up paying lots of money for false promises. Today, the FTC announced a new case against two companies, — Golden Sunrise Nutraceutical, Inc., Golden Sunrise Pharmaceutical, Inc. — and members of their leadership — Huu Tieu and Stephen Meis — for allegedly making promises like these.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

FTC Announces Auto Buyers Study Reports

Many of us depend on our cars — for work, errands, shuttling kids, and visiting loved ones. Maybe we love the freedom and convenience cars give us — but many of us find the car-buying process frustrating because of sales and financing practices. The Federal Trade Commission released two reports highlighting some of the challenges people face while buying and financing cars — especially when it comes to charges for add-on items after price negotiations, which can lead people to pay more than expected. 

If you were prescribed Suboxone® film, you may be eligible to get money

The FTC sued the makers of Suboxone®, a prescription drug to treat opioid addiction, alleging they were preventing patients from choosing lower priced generic versions of the drug. The companies agreed to pay $60 million to consumers to settle the FTC charges. That means if you got a prescription for Suboxone® film in the United States between March 1, 2013 and February 28, 2019, you may be eligible for a payment.

 Suboxone film

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

MyLife accused of posting misleading background reports

If you’re looking for a job, an apartment, or a loan, there’s a good chance that someone will be looking at you — closely. They may search for your name online or order a background report. They’re looking for red-flag warnings that another candidate may be a safer bet. According to a lawsuit announced today, MyLife.com, which sells background reports, raised red flags by posting deceptive “teaser” reports online.

Volkswagen repays $9.5 billion to car owners and lessees

You might remember that, back in 2016, the FTC sued and then settled with Volkswagen and Porsche over their multi-million dollar “clean diesel” marketing campaigns. The problem? The VWs, Audis, and Porsches they said were “clean” actually had an illegal device to let the cars pass emissions tests. Not so clean, after all. The settlement that the FTC attorneys and I negotiated – along with the private bar – got Volkswagen and Porsche to agree to pay up to $10 billion to replace or repair the more than 550,000 cars affected. That meant the full retail price of those cars – plus repaying people for things including their time, and taxes and registration fees.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Explore data to find scams near you

Scams happen everywhere: in every region, state, and community across the country, including your own. You might be wondering, “What kinds of scams are happening in my area?”

A deceptive credit card interest rate reduction offer

Monthly credit card bills can be a drag, especially when you’re feeling financially strapped. Finding ways to lower those bills — sometimes by simply calling your credit card company directly and asking for a lower rate — can save you lots of cash. So what about those companies that call with a “guaranteed” credit card interest rate reduction offer (for a small fee) and a promise to save you thousands of dollars? Most likely, it’s a deal designed to dupe you out of money.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Hang up on business imposter scams

Scammers love to use the same old tricks in new ways. One of their favorites is to pose as a business or government official to pressure you into sending them money or personal information. Now, some scammers are pretending to be popular online shopping websites, phishing for your personal information.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

USS Bonhomme Richard – giving to sailors in need

You may have seen reports of the fire that destroyed the USS Bonhomme Richard. Dozens of sailors fled the burning ship and lost all their possessions. When a distressing event like this happens, many folks look for ways to help. But you also want to make sure your money gets to the people you want to help. In this case, scammers are making that more difficult. Officials at Naval Base Coronado have sounded the alarm about fake crowdfunding pages trying to take advantage of the crisis.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Big FTC win against student loan debt relief firm

Just about a year ago, we told you about a case the FTC brought against a student loan debt relief firm. The FTC alleged that the operators of Mission Hills Federal, Federal Direct Group, National Secure Processing, and The Student Loan Group bilked borrowers out of millions of dollars. Today, we have some great news to share: a federal court in California has ruled in our favor.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Keep calm and avoid Coronavirus scams

One thing we know about scammers is that they follow the headlines. So it’s not surprising that we’ve seen so many Coronavirus-related scams recently. From scammers selling fake COVID-19 cures and treatments to people posing as government officials offering Coronavirus stimulus checks — nothing seems to be off-limits.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Avoiding a cryptocurrency scam

Yesterday some high-profile people had their Twitter accounts hacked by scammers who sent out fake tweets asking followers to send money using Bitcoin – a type of cryptocurrency or digital money.

Promises for lower credit card interest rates weren’t true

When you’re having trouble paying your credit card bills, getting a lower interest rate to keep your balance in check could be a game changer. Unfortunately, companies that promise to get you those lower rates often end up leaving you deeper in debt.

Utility company calling? Don’t fall for it.

Every day, millions of people who have lost their jobs are making difficult choices about how to pay their bills. As the Coronavirus continues to spread, scammers are taking advantage of people’s heightened economic anxiety. Their latest ploy is posing as representatives from utility companies to dupe people out of their cash and personal information by convincing them their utilities will be shut off if they don’t pay.

Blog Topics: 
Homes & Mortgages

Scammers impersonate the FTC, too

Scammers never seem to run out of new ways to try to take your money or steal your identity, especially in times of crisis like the one we’re living through now.

One of the latest schemes involves an email that claims—falsely—that it came from me. It might say you’re entitled to some money from a phony “Global Empowerment Fund” and tell you to give your bank account number or credit card information.

Protecting your small business, one video at a time

Small businesses like yours are important. They create jobs, support a competitive marketplace, and lift up local communities. As a small business owner, you’ve worked hard to start your business and make it into something you can be proud of. That’s why it’s important to know how to protect your employees and customers from a range of cyber and financial threats.

Online seller failed to ship next-day PPE as promised

Facemasks and other types of personal protective equipment (PPE) have been in high demand since the COVID pandemic began. Many people have flocked to online retailers to place orders. According to the FTC, some people have paid money and waited, and waited, and waited.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Activate your EIP Visa debit card now

Did you get an Economic Impact Payment VISA debit card in the mail from the U.S. Department of the Treasury? If you did, you might get a letter from Treasury this week, reminding you to activate your card.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Steer clear of work-at-home scams

As the Coronavirus continues to spread, you may be looking for ways to make money without ever stepping foot outside your door. Maybe you saw an ad online for a business coaching program you can do from your living room. Or maybe you got a call about getting paid to stuff envelopes from your dining room table. While these might look like easy ways to earn quick money and stay safe at home – most of these jobs are scams.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

It’s Military Consumer Month 2020

Military Consumer Month is here! In these unprecedented and challenging times, we’re focusing on consumer issues related to COVID-19. As of June 30, consumers have submitted more than 115,000 reports of fraud related to COVID-19, resulting in reported losses of  more than $74 million. Scammers follow the headlines to take advantage of current events. They’re doing the same now, exploiting people’s concerns about the virus, as well as ripping off those who are affected by the pandemic’s financial implications.

Scams in online sales: when orders don’t arrive

When local stores ran out of the supplies we needed to manage COVID-19, many of us turned to online sources. According to a new Data Spotlight, scammers ran online sites and took orders for scarce items, but didn’t deliver.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit