Earlier this week, more than 50 legal services practitioners joined together with staff from the FTC, USCIS, DOJ, the CFTC, the CFPB, and the SEC to talk about scams against the immigrant community – present and future.
The results of the half-day forum were illuminating for all of us. We found out about all sorts of creative scams targeting immigrants – more about that in a minute. But, just as important, we heard about the hard work and creative solutions that advocates are undertaking to help protect immigrant communities.
We’re all consumers and information is the first line of defense in the marketplace. Everyone can benefit from amping up their consumer know-how and getting the inside skinny on avoiding scams. That’s true for servicemembers, veterans, and their families, too. And that’s the spirit behind Military Consumer Protection Day, July 17. The FTC, the Department of Defense, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Military Saves have teamed up for this first ever MCPD to kick off a year-round campaign to empower the military and veteran communities.
Attorney, Division of Consumer & Business Education, FTC
A new variation of the fake check scam is making the rounds. It works like this: scammers place ads on the internet or send mass emails to attract people looking for extra money. They claim they will pay to shrink-wrap your car with an advertisement of a popular company. All you have to do is drive your car as you normally would.
Associate Director, Division of Marketing Practices, FTC
Do you trust people more if they’re like you, or a part of your community? Scammers bet that you do. Every day, they take advantage of that unconscious trust.
It’s called “affinity fraud” — when someone in a group uses their membership in that group to scam another member. Think religious, ethnic, or professional groups. Might you be willing to hear more about a deal if a member of your church asks you to? Or take advice from someone who speaks your same language? Through the FTC’s Legal Services Collaboration, we’ve heard of cases just like that.
If you’re headed to Chicago for the American Library Association’s Annual Conference, swing by to say hello. FTC staff will be at Booth # 934, ready to hand out our materials – all free, all the time – and talk about how to use them in your community. If you want a little more detail, come to my poster session, Saturday June 29, from 2:30pm to 4 pm. I’ll be talking about our innovative collaboration with the Center for Applied Linguistics to create materials for people who have consumer questions and want basic information.
While Memorial Day is an opportunity to honor and pay tribute to all men and women who died in military service to our nation, every day is an opportunity to thank the veterans we know for their service. Unfortunately, though, not everyone has the best interests of veterans in mind.
Assistant Director, Consumer & Business Education, FTC
The FTC is always working to know more about the types of fraud being committed and who spends money on them. Consumers provide us with useful information through periodic surveys that ask them to share the important details about their recent marketplace experiences and a bit about themselves.