Respectfulness and politeness — they’re valued in many close-knit communities. But when you’re dealing with a scammer, those values can backfire, as we’ve heard during our ongoing effort to fight fraud in every community. Scammers try to take advantage of your politeness to get you to hand over money or personal information.
Here are some situations when it would be just fine to interrupt, hang up, and not give a caller the time of day.
You’ve tackled the taxes, you’ve made your list of spring cleaning projects, and maybe you’ve even started thinking about what you might plant now that the snow is melting. But I have one more spring project for you: checking your credit report.
Need a sofa, washer/dryer, TV, or new tires? Don’t have the cash or credit to buy them outright? You may be considering rent-to-own: simply make weekly or monthly payments for a while and you own the goods. But before you sign on the dotted line, here are some things to consider.
With winter almost over, are you itching to get out of town? As you search for your perfect getaway, you might come across good-looking vacation rental deals that seem amazing. Unfortunately, some “steals” are posted by scammers trying to steal your money. They’ll leave you with a vacation to nowhere.
Your car needs an oil change, so you stop by a place on the way home. Or maybe your car is making a funny noise, so you take it to your trusted mechanic.
Later on, when you go to check your car’s warranty, you find out your coverage might be in jeopardy because you didn’t get the work done at one of the car company’s dealers or centers. Can a car company do that?
The warm luster of laminate wood flooring can give your home or office an inviting and natural look. But, according to recent press reports, some laminates imported from China produce potentially hazardous emissions of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.
Acting Assistant Director, Division of Consumer and Business Education
Once upon a time, a long time ago, a company called Lane Labs marketed products made out of shark cartilage, claiming they could treat and cure cancer. Only, not so much. The FTC sued the company in 2000, they settled, and paid a hefty sum. The court also barred them from making claims about the health benefits of a product unless they had scientific evidence to support those claims.
Here at the FTC, we think about scams all day long. What are the scammers’ new angles? How can we keep ahead of them? We hear from people about the scams they see, and we turn that into tips people use to spot and avoid scams.
But scammers find FTC staff, just as they find the rest of America. In fact, someone claiming to work for the IRS called my house just last week.
Counsel, FTC's Division of Consumer & Business Education
You’ve seen the attention-grabbing ads. Get DIRECTV’s satellite TV packages for as little as $19.99 a month for a year! Throw in HBO and Showtime – “free for 3 months.” It’s enough to make you “ditch cable now” and head straight into orbit with satellite TV. But before you pop the corn and head to the couch, listen to this. The FTC says DIRECTV didn’t give consumers the whole scoop and their viewers got stuck with charges they didn’t know about or approve.