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What have we done for you lately?

If you’re a regular reader here, you might know the FTC gets more complaints about debt collection than about any other industry. And you might have read a thing or two about what we do about debt collection. Like the giant law enforcement sweep last month, where 70 partners nationwide brought more than 115 cases against bad debt collectors. Or the cases we bring ourselves – and the refunds we’ve gotten for people. Or the nearly 100 debt collectors we’ve banned from the industry.

These efforts have stopped a lot of bad guys: put them out of business, taken the cars and houses they bought with the money they stole, and helped clean up the debt collection industry. But your reports of ongoing bad behavior tell us there’s more to do. So this year, we decided to add a new approach into the mix.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Not thinking about your 2016 tax return yet? Identity thieves are.

Here’s a thought to warm the Grinch’s heart: while you’re focused on the holiday season, identity thieves are thinking about how to steal your information. One of the ways they try to do that is by filing a fake tax return using your information — like your Social Security number — to get a tax refund. You may only find out about it when you get a letter from the IRS. Or when you file your return, only to hear from the IRS that someone else already did. That’s tax identity theft, a problem we hear more about each year.

Your route to security

Setting up your home network? To keep it secure, don’t forget about your router.

And then a light bulb went off in your head

The days are suddenly getting shorter and you want to add some brightness without spinning the electricity meter like a dreidel.  But you haven’t bought light bulbs in a very long time and the light bulb aisle at the store seems, well, different.

As it turns out, things have changed. Shopping for light bulbs isn’t what you’re used to, and might not feel as simple. The good news is that bulbs are more efficient than ever.  And, when it comes to brightness, it’s not about wattage anymore – it’s about “lumens.” But the other good news? Here’s a quick video to, ahem, shine a light on shopping for the right light bulbs for you.

Light bulb video

Blog Topics: 
Homes & Mortgages

Is that gift really “green”? What to know about “bamboo”

Looking to be eco-friendly as you shop this holiday season? Maybe it’s bamboo socks from J.C. Penney or Backcountry.com as stocking stuffers. Or those cute bamboo baby swaddles from buybuy BABY for your newborn niece. For your next holiday party, maybe those silky bamboo napkins from Bed Bath & Beyond, or that soft bamboo dress you’ve been eyeing from Nordstrom.

But wait a second. The FTC recently sued those retailers for selling products labeled or advertised as “bamboo.” Why? Because those products were actually made of rayon, according to the FTC, and calling them bamboo is wrong — and misleading.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Don’t recognize that debt? Here’s what to do.

Debt collectors make up to one billion contacts with consumers each year. It’s their job to make sure they’re collecting from the right people. But sometimes, they reach the wrong person. Other times, they’re actually part of a fake debt collection scam. 

If you don’t recognize a debt, here’s what you can do.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Veterans and identity theft Twitter chat

You probably know a few veterans. You might even be a vet yourself. If so, you’ll want to get some valuable tips from the FTC’s Military Consumer campaign, the Department of Veteran Affairs and the US Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). We’re joining forces for a Twitter chat about how vets can protect themselves against identity theft and IRS imposter scams – and how to use Identitytheft.gov to recover from this crime. Follow @MilConsumer and be part of the conversation at #VeteranIDTheft tomorrow, Tuesday, December 8 at 1:00 pm (ET).

Making a budget, checking it twice...

In case you hadn’t noticed, the holidays are here. In other words, “Attention holiday shoppers: start your search engines!” But wouldn’t it be nice to know how much gas you’ve got in the tank before you’re off to the races? 

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Sound financial planning begins with a sensible budget.  Many of us welcome the New Year realizing we’ve spent more than we can afford. So why not take a quick look at our brief video about staying within a budget before you start spending?

Budget video

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Is that online review true? Watch this video.

If you’re like me, you probably look up online reviews before you go holiday shopping, make vacation plans, or even hire a plumber.

But did you know that some people are paid to say good things about a company, product, or service? That means you can’t always know if someone is giving a true and impartial opinion.

online reviews and recommendations video

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Copper clothing to the rescue?

Could what you wear today be the difference between a day of severe pain and one of total relief?

According to Tommie Copper infomercials, TV spots, YouTube videos, print ads, and brochures, wearing the company’s copper-infused compression garments could relieve severe pain and inflammation — whether it’s chronic joint pain, or pain caused by diseases like multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and fibromyalgia. 

Unfortunately, the FTC says, Tommie Copper and its founder didn’t have the science to back up those claims.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

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