Do you trust me because I speak Spanish? That sounds like a strange question, but in some communities – and in some situations – it could be enough for someone to trust a stranger.
At the Fraud Affects Every Community workshop recently held at FTC headquarters, we heard from panelists living and working in diverse communities about ways scammers are using language, shared customs, relationships and community practices to steal people’s money.
Mark Twain once said, “Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.” If you live by this mantra, you might find yourself scrambling at the last minute to finish your holiday shopping this season. Enter the gift card.
Books closed, it’s time for a health privacy pop quiz. What online medical billing company did the FTC allege deceived consumers in an attempt to get their sensitive health information from pharmacies, health insurance companies, and medical labs?
A. Trapper John, M.D.
B. Doogie Howser, M.D.
C. House, M.D.
Home for the holidays? This year, when you pass the turkey, latkes, or veggies, why not also pass on your knowledge about avoiding scams?
You know a lot about scams. Sharing what you know can help protect someone who you know from a scam. That’s why the FTC created Pass It On – articles, presentations, bookmarks, activities and a video – all designed to help you talk about scams and how to prevent them. There’s something for everyone at your holiday gathering.
If a company promises a new and innovative handheld gaming console, you’d expect the features to work as described in their ads, right? According to Sony’s settlement with the FTC, announced today, that wasn’t the case with ads for the PlayStation Vita. And now the company will offer partial refunds to eligible buyers.
Attorney, Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC
Many people around the world dream of getting a “Green Card” that allows them to live and work in the United States. The U.S. Department of State runs the Diversity Visa Immigrant Program, also known as the Diversity Visa Lottery. People from certain countries who apply and are selected in a lottery drawing could qualify to be “Lawful Permanent Residents.” Unfortunately, the FTC has seen websites that claim to be affiliated with the program, but are not.
As fall weather cools down, plans for Thanksgiving and the charitable giving season are heating up. Here come the requests for donations — in your mail and email, in person, on social networking sites, through your mobile devices — you name it. Want to express your thankfulness with a gift to a charity? Find an organization that spends wisely on a cause you support, and screen out any requests scammers send your way.
Have you seen news reports about foreign websites showing live feeds from unsecured wireless cameras — like nanny cams, baby monitors, and security cameras — in the U.S. and around the world? It’s creepy stuff, but there are steps you can take to protect your camera from prying eyes.
Ripping off older people puts you in a special category of low-life scam artists. What about ripping off older people you know have already fallen for a telemarketing scam? That makes you a first ballot selection for the Scam Artist Hall of Shame. According to the FTC, that’s exactly what Consumer Collection Advocates did.
Selling your used stuff online has become commonplace. So have scams taking advantage of the good names of reputable online companies. At the FTC, we’ve heard from people stung by scammers spoofing PayPal. The scam generally goes like this: You post a high-value item, like a used car, for sale online. In no time at all, you get an email from a buyer willing to pay full price — or more! But he sets conditions; he is only willing to pay by PayPal or insists the sale must happen right away. What’s really going on? A ruse to steal your personal information, money or merchandise.
Here are some suspicious situations to look for and steps to safe selling online.