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December 2020

Wrapping up 2020 with more car wrap scams

We just heard from more companies that scammers are using their names to trick people into a car wrap scam. This time, scammers are saying they’re Marlboro or Purell (but they’re not really).

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

More money from the government?

Congress has just passed another bill to help the people whose finances are taking a beating from the pandemic. Once again, some of us will be getting money by check or direct deposit. The timing and details are still TBA, but here’s what we know:

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

New tools to fight gift card scams

This holiday season (and year-round), gift cards are on scammers’ wish lists. Scammers always have a reason for you to pay them immediately with a gift card. And they often tell you which card to buy and which store to visit. That’s why the FTC is launching a new Stop Gift Card Scams campaign to work with stores and law enforcement to fight these scams. And it’s also why the FTC has taken another look at reporting data to see what’s happening lately.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

And a smart fridge in a pear tree

On this 12th and final day of consumer protection — just of this series, you understand, not ever — here are a few reminders as you head toward whatever holiday you celebrate (or don’t) this December. Whether you’re shopping for a fridge that reminds you that you’re out of milk (step OFF, appliances, I’ve got this) or some cozy slippers, remember:

All I want for Christmas…is what I ordered

You’ve probably spent a good part of 2020 doing some online shopping. Now that the holidays are here, you definitely want to be sure you — or your friends and family — actually get what you ordered. On this 11th day of Consumer Protection, take these steps to help Rudolph find his way to your house.

Don’t be CBDeceived by junk science

If you’ve explored alternative treatments for medical conditions, you’ve probably noticed that CBD products are pretty popular. But if an ad claims a CBD-based product is scientifically proven to cure or treat your symptoms, take that with a dose of caution to prevent losing money and, possibly, putting your health at risk.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

Santa doesn’t need your Social Security number

This year, during the pandemic, your holidays might be moving a bit online. On the 10th day of Consumer Protection, maybe you’re planning to send e-cards to family and friends.

Baby, I stole outside

You’ve finished your online shopping, your gifts have shipped and you’re waiting for them to arrive – but some Grinch decides to ruin your holiday. On this 9th day of Consumer Protection, we’re talking about how to stop porch pirates in their tracks.

Frosty the Con Man: avoiding family emergency scams

“Hello? It’s me — Frosty. Look it’s a long story but without my top hat, I’m melting. Please, I need your help — send money now or I’ll be nothing but a puddle!”

Joining forces to stop income scams

Today, the FTC joined forces with numerous federal, state, and local government partners in Operation Income Illusion, an effort to fight income scams and help people recognize and avoid them.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

Who’s affected by income scams?

The FTC and its law enforcement partners announced actions against several income scams that conned people out of hundreds of millions of dollars by falsely telling them they could make a lot of money. One of those scams was 8 Figure Dream Lifestyle, which touted a “proven business model” and told people they could make thousands of dollars in a couple of weeks if they paid to join the program. FTC economist Devesh Raval matched the addresses of the 8 Figure Dream Lifestyle customers to U.S. Census Bureau data to learn how the scam impacted different communities.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

Grandma got a scam call from a reindeer

When it comes to unwanted calls, there are a few universal truths. First, you can’t trust caller ID. Second, nobody likes a robocall. And third, it’s all about call blocking. If you watch The Mandalorian, here’s where you say, “This is the Way.” (If you don’t watch it, this just means: call blocking…it’s good.)

Fraud affects every community

Scams can target specific communities, but they affect people in every community.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Avoid a season of mis-giving

It’s the 6th day of Consumer Protection, and maybe you’re in a giving spirit. ‘Tis the season, right? If you like to donate to charities at the end of the year, ‘tis also time to make sure your donations get to the places you mean them to go. Because this year, lots of charities could really use the help.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Fa-la-la-la fake

On the 5th day of Consumer Protection, you get an email or text message that’s supposedly from UPS or FedEx, complete with one of their logos — and it seems legit. It says your item is ready to ship but you need to update your shipping preferences. But here’s the lump of coal: the message is bogus and there is no package.

Holiday ‘grift’ exchange?

It’s the 4th day of Consumer Protection and ’tis the season of…gift cards. Even in Santa’s workshop, it’s one of the most popular ways to give to family and friends for the holidays. But gift cards also are a favorite way for scammers to steal people’s money.

FTC warns eye care prescribers to follow the law — or else

The FTC’s Eyeglass Rule makes it easier to comparison shop — which can help you save money.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

Incorrect background reports can deny you a home

Whether you’re just starting out or starting a new life, information on your background report can determine if you get credit, a job, or even housing. That’s why the law requires background screening companies to take steps to ensure the accuracy of the information they collect and share about you. But some companies don’t take enough of these steps and put together inaccurate background reports that can stand between you and a place to live.

COVID-19 vaccines are in the pipeline. Scammers won’t be far behind.

Reports about the release of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of the year are promising, but plans for distribution are still being worked out. Here’s what we know right now.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

But the hire is not so delightful

On this 3rd day of Consumer Protection, we’re talking about earning some extra cash.

For lots of us, the holiday season is a good time to pick up some part-time work. It’s when retailers and delivery services need extra help. And, especially during the pandemic, many of us could use the cash. So how can you spot and avoid a job scam, whether for a temporary or permanent position?

Hawking in a winter wonderland

On this 2nd day of Consumer Protection, it’s all about online shopping. Because that’s what we can do this year, right? (OK, it’s a lot of what we do any year.)

On the first day of consumer protection…

Welcome to the FTC’s 12 Days of Consumer Protection, a holiday series to help you save money and avoid scams.

Each day, we’ll cover a new topic — from shopping online and bogus shipping notifications to temporary job scams and fake charities. We’ll give you practical information you can use every day and share with your family, friends, and community so they can be safe too.   

Fake calls from Apple and Amazon support: What you need to know

Scammers are calling people and using the names of two companies everyone knows, Apple and Amazon, to rip people off. Here’s what you need to know about these calls.

Find COVID-19 scam resources (and more) in multiple languages at ftc.gov/languages

Searching for in-language information on how to avoid COVID-19 scams and other types of fraud? Check out ftc.gov/languages, the FTC’s one-stop resource for consumer education in Traditional and Simplified Chinese, Korean, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and other languages.

Hey college students: have you seen this scam?

Scammers are targeting college students. In the last year, we told you about a car wrap scam and a COVID-19 scam hitting college students. Today, we want to tell you about a fake check scam.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit