Attorney, Division of Consumer and Business Education
Many scammers are the same: they lie, harass, and threaten, all to trick people into paying them money. Recently, the FTC filed a lawsuit against several California-based companies and their owners, saying they used exactly these tactics in an imposter scam. Their operation is now shut down.
To help you avoid scams like this one, here are a few tips:
Have you ever seen a TV commercial with a celebrity or star athlete talking about how great a product is? You probably realized that they were paid for their endorsement, and it still may have influenced you to buy the product.
What if you saw that same celebrity post on social media about a particular sports drink, with the hashtag #recoverfaster? Would you think it was a paid promotion? It can be hard to tell.
Do you have a debt with the IRS that’s more than two years old? If so, you might be getting a letter from the IRS about your account being transferred to a private debt collector. This new program only applies to taxpayers who have had an IRS debt for years, and who were previously contacted about it by the IRS. Here’s how it will work – and how to spot a scam.
Assistant Director, Division of Consumer and Business Education
If you’ve ever gotten one of those calls, you know how alarming they can be. And that’s exactly what the scammers count on. They want you to act before you think – and acting always includes sending them money: by wiring it or by getting a prepaid card or gift card, and giving them the numbers on the card. Either way, your money’s gone.
Servicemembers and veterans face unique challenges dealing with financial issues, managing their money, and avoiding scams. For servicemembers, frequent relocations mean regularly shopping for housing and buying or selling a car. And servicemembers and veterans alike will navigate important financial decisions, like paying for education. For military folks, these decisions can involve high stakes with long-term effects on family and day-to-day life, security clearance, and mission readiness.
Assistant Director, Division of Marketing Practices, FTC
Some cons send pop-up computer warnings to pitch unnecessary – and sometimes harmful – tech support services. Some make phone calls. Others – like one scammer the FTC just sued – send spam emails that falsely claim the FTC hired them to help remove problem software. In this case, announced today, the court has ordered the defendant to stop claiming he’s affiliated with the FTC, to shut down his websites and phone numbers, and inform current customers who contact him that he is not affiliated with the FTC. If you got one of those messages, please tell the FTC.
Just last week, the FTC mailed checks returning money to more than 5,200 people, thanks to the FTC’s settlement with Rincon Debt Management. People who lost money are getting back the full amount of the fraudulent fees they were charged – an average of $525 – which adds up to more than $2.7 million.
We told you earlier this year about the $586 million settlement with Western Union – where the company will return money to people who were tricked into wiring money to scammers using Western Union. Those refunds are part of a global settlement with the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice (DOJ), and our partners at DOJ are handling the refunds. Since many of you have been asking about where things stand, we wanted to give you an update on the Western Union refund process. Here’s what we can tell you so far.
Attorney, Division of Consumer & Business Education, FTC
If a company offers you a free trial, what have you got to lose? Maybe plenty. Hidden strings attached to a deal can tangle you up in hard-to-escape buying plans that charge you for products or services you don’t want.