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Homes & Mortgages

Tips to help you prepare for — and recover from — natural disasters

More than 85 large wildfires are ripping across the West Coast, from California to Oregon and Washington. In the Southeast, people are just beginning to recover from Hurricane Sally, while more storms are brewing in the Atlantic. And the Midwest continues to recover from the recent derecho. Severe weather and natural disasters can occur anywhere — sometimes with little warning. The FTC’s site, Dealing with Weather Emergencies, has practical tips to help you prepare for, deal with, and recover from a weather emergency. It’s mobile-friendly, so easy to get to when and where you need it.

Tips to help you avoid post-disaster scams

Whether you’re getting ready to deal with Laura or Marco, the storms about to hit the Gulf Coast, dealing with the ravages of wildfires out West, reeling from the derecho that struck the Midwest, or facing another natural disaster, handling the aftermath is never easy. But when scammers target people just trying to recover, it can be even worse. Here are some tips to help you avoid common post-disaster scams.

Scams in between stimulus packages

As we publish this post, a second stimulus package has not yet been finalized by Congress. While there’s a lot we don’t know, we DO know a few things about what scammers do when this kind of uncertainty is in the headlines.

Video shows how scammers tell you to pay

Scammers make up all kinds of stories to get your money, from telling you that you’ve won a prize, you owe a debt, or your family member is in an emergency. But some things stay the same: scammers want your money, they want it fast, and don’t want you to be able to get it back. They’ll ask you to pay in ways that make it hard to track them down — and once you know what these are, you’ll have one more clue to tell if you’re dealing with a scammer.

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?”

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.

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Homes & Mortgages

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.

More Lights of America LED customers may qualify for a refund

If you bought Lights of America brand LED light bulbs before 2011, you may be eligible for a refund.

Hurricane season 2020 and COVID-19

June 1 is the official start of hurricane season, and now is a great time to make a plan to deal with weather emergencies. Especially because this year, we have the added concern of the COVID-19 pandemic, including what you need know if you have to go to a shelter. (Hint: it involves packing hand sanitizer and masks.)

The FTC’s Highlights of 2019

We’re all facing unprecedented challenges now – and the FTC has been hard at work on the trail of many Coronavirus-related scams that are harming consumers. But the rest of the Commission’s work continues apace. For instance, last year the Commission returned more than $232 million in refunds to consumers across the country. Today, we’re taking a minute to take stock of some of the highlights from 2019.

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