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October 2021

Nasal spray’s unsupported COVID-19 treatment claims are not up to snuff

Many of us would like to believe a marketer’s claims that an over-the-counter nasal spray can prevent or treat COVID-19. Luckily, the law sets a high standard of proof before a marketer can say its product can prevent, treat, or cure a serious disease. The law requires competent scientific evidence. In its latest case targeting fake COVID-19 cure claims, the FTC says that nasal spray maker Xlear, Inc., broke the law by promoting its saline sprays as effective treatments for COVID-19 without scientific proof.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

Scammers are sending fake IRS emails about Economic Impact Payments

There’s a fake IRS email that keeps popping into people’s inboxes. It says that you can get a third Economic Impact Payment (EIP) if you click a link that lets you “access the form for your additional information” and “get help” with the application. But the link is a trick. If you click it, a scammer might steal your money and your personal information to commit identity theft. It’s yet another version of the classic government impersonator scam.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

The Google Voice scam: How this verification code scam works and how to avoid it

It’s Cyber Security Awareness month, so the tricks scammers use to steal our personal information are on our minds. If there’s one constant among scammers, it’s that they’re always coming up with new schemes, like the Google Voice verification scam. Have you heard about it? Here’s how it works.

FTC puts over 1,100 businesses on notice about deceptive money-making claims

Companies offering work, training, business opportunities, investments, or other money-making opportunities often try to grab your attention by talking about how much money you can make. But all too often, the potential earnings they describe are exaggerated or even flat-out phony, and people who take the plunge instead lose significant time — and money.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

Communities thrive when we work together

Every day dedicated community advocates work to improve the lives and protect the rights of people across the country. The FTC is proud of our work with the legal services community and we are excited to share the Community Advocate Center, a new resource to help you report to the FTC your clients’ experiences with fraud, scams, and bad business practices.

Amazon impersonators: what you need to know

Has Amazon contacted you to confirm a recent purchase you didn’t make or to tell you that your account has been hacked? According to the FTC’s new Data Spotlight, since July 2020, about one in three people who have reported a business impersonator scam say the scammer pretended to be Amazon.

This week the focus is on charity scams

Every year, charity regulators from around the word get together to raise awareness about charity fraud. The FTC joins this effort again this year because it’s so important to know how to spot a charity scam. This year, we’re focusing on:

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Keeping older adults safe from scams

As today’s annual report to Congress makes clear, the safety of older consumers in the marketplace is a priority for the FTC. Protecting Older Consumers 2020 – 2021: A Report of the Federal Trade Commission summarizes the agency’s ongoing law enforcement efforts, new research results, and extensive outreach aimed at keeping older adults safe from scams including those related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Avoid marketing scams during 2022 Medicare Open Enrollment

During Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period (OEP), which begins on October 15 and ends December 7, Medicare beneficiaries can choose the plans that are best for them for 2022. You can get help comparing Medicare plans from your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), available in each U.S. state, territory, and the District of Columbia. Private insurance companies administer, market, and sell Medicare Advantage (MA, Part C) and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Part D), so it’s important to understand your rights and some of the limits on marketing. That way you’ll be prepared if an insurance broker or agent tries to enroll you in a Medicare plan that isn’t right for you.

New report: Serving Communities of Color

The newly-released Serving Communities of Color Report summarizes the past five years of the FTC’s efforts to address, understand, and educate people about consumer issues that have a disproportionately negative impact on communities of color. And, it confirms the FTC’s commitment to continue this important work.
Here are some highlights of the report:

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

FTC puts advertisers on notice: honest opinions only

If you’re like many people, before you lay your money down — particularly for big-ticket items — you want to hear what past buyers say about them. The FTC took a big step today to make sure that what you hear is truthful. It warned businesses that the endorsements they use to help sell their products must reflect the actual experience and opinions of real people who used them.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Spot the pandemic scam: emergency broadband program impersonators

Have you seen ads on social media that offer to “help” you sign up for a government program that will give you a “free” device and internet service in exchange for money or personal information? While there is a real government program to help people connect during the pandemic, there’s no payment required to enroll. That’s just a scam.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

For-profit colleges on notice

For-profit colleges sometimes use overblown — or flat-out false — promises to attract new students and their money. The FTC is ramping up its efforts to stop shady practices on campus. The Commission is sending a Notice of Penalty Offenses to the largest 70 for-profits, warning them that the FTC will not stand for unfair or deceptive practices.

It’s time to file your 2022-23 FAFSA form

If you’re a high schooler applying to college, a college student, or their parent, it’s time to fill out the 2022-23 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form. Unfortunately, scammers know it’s that time of year again, too and they’re gearing up to try to take advantage of financial aid seekers.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Stay scam free for Hispanic Heritage Month: connect with the FTC

A popular saying in Spanish is “camarón que se duerme se lo lleva la corriente.” It means “a sleeping shrimp will get swept away by the current.” Which turns out to be a great metaphor for avoiding scams: if you aren’t aware of those around you, you could fall for one.