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February 2021

Join us for these NCPW events next week

National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) 2021 is coming up next week, and we’d love for you to join us for some virtual events. NCPW is a time when the FTC joins with local, state, and national partners to bring you information and advice on scams, identity theft, and other consumer protection issues.

Free winter weather emergency tips from the FTC

Winter this year is turning out to have its own set of weather-related emergencies — and right now, all in the midst of a pandemic. Lots of us are really ready for the winter of 2021 to be over. But while we’re waiting, why not prepare (or see if you might already be prepared) for a weather-related emergency?

Blog Topics: 
Homes & Mortgages

Utility scams are snow joke

Winter often brings the blues, but when it brings Arctic blasts, burst pipes, power outages, and even icicles indoors, scammers aren’t far behind with weather-related scams.

Blog Topics: 
Homes & Mortgages

If you have federal student loans, read this

Just under a year ago, we told you that the U.S. Department of Education announced some flexibility to federal student loan borrowers. Understanding these options can help you make more informed decisions about paying your bills and prioritizing your debts. The benefits have been extended through September 30, 2021.

Coronavirus relief continues for housing and student loans

As the Coronavirus pandemic continues, so does its financial impact. For people who need help with rent or mortgage payments, or have student loans, there may be some good news about the federal relief response.

They give love a bad name

Leaving broken hearts and empty bank accounts, romance scammers give love a bad name. Now that you know how many people experience romance scams, and how to spot the scams, take some anti-scam action this Valentine’s Day. Whether you’re wondering if that interesting person who just messaged you is for real, looking forward to February 15 discounts on chocolates, or thinking about friends who are out in the online dating world, here are some messages to know and share about romance scams.

Achy fakey heart

You’ve heard of romance scams. But do you know how they happen? They start when scammers create fake profiles on dating apps or social media. Then, those scammers strike up a relationship with their targets and work to build trust. Sometime later, they make up a story and ask for money.

Not love, actually

Valentine’s Day is this weekend, so over the next three days, we’re talking about romance scams. Lots of people have profiles on dating apps to meet someone — maybe even more so in these virtual times. And many people have built successful relationships from an online start. But what if, instead of finding a potential partner, you find a scam? 

No new immigration relief yet

You might have seen that the President recently sent a new immigration bill to Congress. What does that mean for you if you’re a non-citizen in the United States? Right now, the truthful answer is likely nothing — at least not yet. But scammers won’t tell you that.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Social media is no place for COVID-19 vaccination cards

Some of you are celebrating your second COVID-19 vaccination with the giddy enthusiasm that’s usually reserved for weddings, new babies, and other life events. You’re posting a photo of your vaccination card on social media. Please — don’t do that! You could be inviting identity theft. 

Scammers are scheming as HealthCare.gov reopens

The Coronavirus pandemic has not only had a dramatic health impact, but also an economic blow as many Americans are now unemployed — and uninsured. As a result, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has re-opened HealthCare.gov for a “Special Enrollment Period,” from February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021. This Special Enrollment Period will give people who need health care coverage the chance to sign up. But it also gives scammers a new chance to call, email, send letters and texts, trying to get your money — and your personal and financial information.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

The top frauds of 2020

2020 was a tough year. Between the pandemic and the economic crisis, we all had our hands full. And scammers didn’t take any time off either — 2020 was a busy year for fraud. In 2020, the FTC got more than 2.2 million reports about fraud, with people telling us they lost nearly $3.3 billion.

Health insurance scams can cost you big

In 2018, we told you about Simple Health, a group of companies that the FTC says tricked people into signing up for what the companies told them was comprehensive health coverage that met Affordable Care Act standards. Instead, people wound up with premiums as high as hundreds of dollars a month for coverage the FTC says was nowhere near the full, ACA-qualified coverage Simple Health promised. And as some of its customers were stuck with thousands of dollars in medical bills, Simple Health collected more than $195 million because of its deception, according to the case.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

Amazon Flex didn’t deliver as promised

Using your own vehicle to deliver packages for Amazon and earn extra money. Sounds good, right? But has Amazon been keeping the tips its drivers are making when delivering for its Amazon Flex program? According to the complaint the FTC issued today, the answer is yes. 

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

Identity Theft Awareness Week starts today

In 2020, the FTC got about 1.4 million reports of identity theft, double the number from 2019. Repeatedly, identity thieves targeted government funds earmarked to help people hard hit financially by the pandemic. Join us for Identity Theft Awareness Week, February 1-5. Learn about protecting yourself from identity theft, and recovering if it happens to you.