Assistant Director, Consumer & Business Education, FTC
The FTC provides useful information to consumers, and consumers provide useful information right back through periodic surveys that ask them to share the important details about their recent marketplace experiences. Last year, we asked people about their experiences with 17 types of fraud, and learned that nearly 11 percent of US adults, or an estimated 25.6 million people, had paid for fraudulent products and services in 2011. Here’s what our researchers found...
Acting Director, Bureau of Consumer Protection, FTC
National Consumer Protection Weeks begins today, and it’s the biggest and best NCPW in 15 years. Thanks to 64 federal, state and local agencies and nonprofits that are putting the spotlight on the critical consumer protection work they do year-round, consumers have easy access to a tremendous variety of timely, useful information about recognizing and reporting frauds and scams, managing credit and debt, using technology, and staying healthy and safe.
When money’s tight, work-at-home opportunities can sound like just the thing to make some extra cash. Unfortunately, many of these “jobs” are rip-offs. Today, the FTC announced that it will mail over 50,000 refund checks to consumers who were scammed by Real Wealth, a company that allegedly peddled bogus work-at-home offers.
In 2012, the FTC received more than 2 million consumer complaints – a first in the history of the Consumer Sentinel Network. The #1 category of complaints? Identity theft. This tidbit is from the hot-off-the-press Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book 2012, a fascinating analysis of complaints received in Sentinel during the previous calendar year. Sentinel is a secure online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies across the country. Agencies use the data to research cases, identify victims, and track possible targets.
Want to learn more about the top ten complaint categories, get national data, and state-by-state accountings of the top complaints? Check out the 2012 Sentinel Data Book.
If you’re a veteran over 65 — or related to one, you are a target for a particularly ugly type of scam that involves “poaching” your pension. Unscrupulous “advisers” — attorneys, financial planners, and insurance agents — are trying to sell you financial or legal products to move your assets around without giving you the whole truth about the long-term consequences.
The 15th annual National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) is March 3 - 9. Government agencies, advocacy organizations, and private sector groups from coast to coast have come together here to share information that can help you make smart decisions about a slew of subjects, including privacy protection, money and debt management, and recognizing identity theft, frauds and scams.
Have you seen websites or ads, or gotten telephone calls that say a home-based internet business could be your ticket to making easy cash? Some claim a business coaching program will help you get going. Before you respond to an offer for business coaching services, keep your money in your wallet and your eye on a recent case brought by the FTC.
Investing in gold and silver may sound like a safe, low-risk way to make big money. But hidden fees, as well as a dealer’s failure to reveal how risky this type of investment really is, could cost you dearly.