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April 2021

FTC continues to crack down on companies peddling fake COVID treatments and cures

As part of our ongoing efforts to protect you from sellers of scam COVID-19 treatments, the FTC has sent 30 warning letters to companies that claimed their products can prevent, treat, or cure COVID-19. These letters gave the sellers 48 hours to notify the FTC of the specific actions they have taken to address the agency’s concerns. Companies failing to make adequate corrections could have faced lawsuits under the 2020 COVID-19 Consumer Protection Act. Not only does the law make it illegal to deceptively market products that claim to prevent, treat, or cure COVID-19, it also lets the FTC seek financial penalties. The good news: as a result of these letters, all the companies have stopped making the false or deceptive claims.

FTC sends customer refunds in three cases

The FTC works to fulfill its mission in many ways, including bringing cases against companies who are being unfair or deceptive. And it’s happy news when those cases result in refunds. Last year, FTC cases returned $483 million to people who lost money to companies the FTC sued. The FTC’s latest refund announcement involves checks totaling over $11 million going out to more than 11,000 people who paid E.M. Systems & Services, a company that falsely promised consumers with credit card debt that they would reduce their interest rates and save them thousands of dollars. After settling with First Data Merchant Services — the payment processor that made it possible for this company to collect credit card payments — the FTC is sending customers of E.M. Systems & Services 100% of their lost money back.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

COVID vaccines are FREE!

Scammers are doubling down on their efforts to scam people out of their money and personal information. That’s why the FTC and the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) are teaming up to remind you: No matter what anyone tells you, you can’t buy COVID-19 vaccines online and there’s no out-of-pocket cost to get the shots. Here are some ways to avoid a vaccine-related scam.

FTC and DOJ bring first case under new COVID-19 consumer protection law

There are no supplements proven to treat or prevent COVID-19. But that doesn’t stop some companies from making these kind of unsubstantiated claims, or even false claims that their products work as well — or better — than available COVID-19 vaccines. If you see claims like these, the FTC wants you to ignore them.

Don't open your door to grandparent scams

When it comes to scammers, nothing is sacred — including the bond between grandparent and grandchild. Lately, grandparent scammers have gotten bolder: they might even come to your door to collect money, supposedly for your grandchild in distress.

Scammers target loved ones of COVID-19 victims

Government imposters may have hit a new low with a scheme that targets the grieving survivors of people who died of COVID-19 by offering them help paying for their loved one’s funeral expenses.

Don’t let job scams block your path forward

​​​​​​​After more than a year of pandemic-related devastating losses — including job losses – you may be one of millions looking to get back on your feet with a new job. This Financial Literacy Month, as always, the FTC wants to help keep you on track with ways to avoid job scams.

Give yourself some credit (reports)

One important back-to-basics step you can take this Financial Literacy Month (or anytime) is checking your credit report. 

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Avoid payment scams while rebuilding your finances

Over the past year, the Coronavirus created financial problems for many people. Maybe you’re one of them. As you work to regain your financial footing, scammers will continue to try to steer you off course. Here are a few ways to spot, stop, and report payment scams.

Managing your bills during the pandemic

COVID-19 has thrown the economy into a tailspin. As people have been laid off, furloughed, or are working fewer hours, bills can pile up. This week, for Financial Literacy Month, we’re looking at ways to manage — and today, it’s all about dealing with debt. Here are some ideas to start regaining your financial footing when you have more month than money.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

New IRS imposter scam targets college students and staff

If you’re a college student, faculty, or staff member, you’re going to want to pay attention to this one. IRS imposters are sending phishing emails to people with “.edu” email addresses, saying they have information about your “tax refund payment.” What do they really want? Your personal information.

The pandemic’s effect on your money

This April is Financial Literacy Month, so this week we’re talking about financial resiliency. The Coronavirus has been devastating for many people’s financial lives. Through no fault of their own, millions have lost jobs, businesses, and savings due to the financial impact of the pandemic. Many folks are simply trying to decide how to put food on the table and keep their housing. Some, who were able to keep their jobs, are hanging in there. And others are somewhere in between.

Prepare for severe spring weather with tips you can share

According to the National Weather Service, the peak severe weather season is during the spring months of March, April, and May. Already this season, we’ve seen heavy rains, flooding, and tornados in southern areas like Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and East Texas. And we know that scammers follow not just the headlines, but also the storm fronts.

Blog Topics: 
Homes & Mortgages