Counsel for International Consumer Protection, FTC
People who’ve recently arrived in the US have a lot of adjustments to make. For many refugees and immigrants, and some of the social services groups who help them, the basics come first: figuring out language, food, shelter, and work. Understanding how to avoid fraud isn’t high on the list – until a scam finds a recent arrival.
That’s why the FTC has created new materials to help refugees and immigrants spot, avoid and report scams. We worked closely with the International Rescue Committee to create a short handbook to help anyone identify a sure sign of a scam.
Senior Attorney, Bureau of Consumer Protection, FTC
Are you a nanny or caregiver who lists your services on sites like care.com, sittercity.com, or craigslist.com? A few months ago, we warned about a scam that targets caregivers like you. Here’s a reminder: a con artist emails or texts an offer to hire you. The scammer also sends you a check and asks you to deposit it, keep some money for your services, and send the rest to someone else to — supposedly — pay for special items or medical equipment. But the check is fake, and it can take weeks for a bank to discover the forgery. If you deposit the check and withdraw the funds, you’ll wind up owing the bank all that money.
Your social media feed is abuzz with stories of people making serious money selling an energy drink. Not one to miss out an opportunity, you do a quick search and come across a viral video. The guy making the pitch insists you can make thousands of dollars a month. “Forget working 9 to 5. Join the Young People Revolution!” he says. You think to yourself, “I’m young people! And I can totally get on board with a revolution.”
Slow your roll, my friend. Before you shell out a wad of cash and start making pitches to your friends, you should know that the FTC just filed a complaint against the company behind the pitch.
Online scammers are recruiting. They’re looking for people to help them transfer money and stolen goods. Of course, they don’t come right out and say that’s what they want. Instead, they claim to offer work at home jobs or pretend to be your romantic partner and ask you for a ‘favor.’ The scammers’ goal: to use your bank account, personal information and address to help them steal money.
Want to work from home? How about a job helping small businesses get loans or cash advances?
For people recruited by Money Now Funding (aka Nationwide Lending, among other names), it seemed like a great opportunity. In reality, it was a con. People were left loaded with debt — sometimes tens of thousands of dollars of debt — and no income. Today the FTC announced that the companies behind the scheme have been shut down.
Associate Director, Division of Marketing Practices, FTC
The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced the extradition of six Nigerian nationals from South Africa to Mississippi to face a nine-count federal indictment for various Internet frauds. These six people join 15 others who were previously charged with, among other things, conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, identity theft, and money laundering.
What were the scams? According to the indictment, the defendants found and reached out to their potential victims through online dating websites and work-at-home opportunities.
At the Oscars, the best acceptance speeches are those with the story behind the thank you. Which is why, when we’re thanking all the legal services attorneys we get to work with, I’m going to tell you a few stories, rather than simply list the dozens of names.
In 2010, the FTC launched a Legal Services Collaboration: holding Common Ground conferences to bring together law enforcement and legal services; rethinking our consumer education to better serve legal services clients; talking regularly with our legal services colleagues – and getting their case referrals and help.
“The Federal Trade Commission works for America’s consumers in every community.” I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve said those words, or heard them from my colleagues – and that’s a good thing. Since fraud affects every community in our country, it bears repeating: the FTC works for your community.