Money & Credit

Fraud affects every community: debt collection

There’s not much doubt that fraud can happen anywhere. To anyone. That’s the whole idea behind the FTC’s Every Community Initiative: fraud affects every community, and the FTC works to stop fraud wherever it happens. When we look at all the reports we get from consumers in communities across the country, these scams start to feel like something we face together, something we can imagine happening to us, or someone we care about. And when we share those stories, it really hits home.

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Money & Credit

Four dishonest debt collectors down…

Even though it’s a new year, some things remain the same. Illegal debt collection is still a big problem – which means it’s a big deal here at the FTC. We’ve made some progress: you might remember the 115 cases we announced in November, working with more than 70 law enforcement partners. That was big, but we’re not done yet.

Today, we’re announcing four cases against debt collectors who did pretty much everything wrong – and the release of one video with the story of a veteran who did pretty much everything right.

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Money & Credit

How to stay high and dry against storm-chasing scams

Severe weather and historic flooding have left people in many parts of the U.S. battling to save lives, homes and businesses. The last thing anyone needs are scam artists who prey on the misfortune of others. Common natural disaster scams include debris removal and clean-up, shoddy repairs and construction, charity fraud, and imposter scams.

Here are some ways to arm yourself against scammers who use weather emergencies to cheat people.

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Money & Credit

Top 10 consumer protection blog posts of the year

It’s time to dust off the red carpet—actually, it’s more of a government-issued gray, but we’re dusting it off nonetheless—to bring you our top 10 consumer blog posts of the year.

Having charitable thoughts? Give thoughtfully!

As the year comes to a close, you might be getting lots of requests for charitable donations. If a cause tugs at your heartstrings, but the charity is unfamiliar to you, take a few minutes – and a few steps – before giving.

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Money & Credit

Checking in with the older adults in your life

Chances are, the older people in your life are wise to scams – and may even have taught you how to spot and avoid them. But, if you’re spending time together over the holidays, here are some things you can do to make sure that your friend or loved one is safe from a fraudster’s grasp.

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Money & Credit

Shopping for cash?

Who isn’t looking for a little extra cash at the holidays? An offer for an easy – and fun – job could seem like just what you need. That’s the email offer I got from a major retailer (or so it said) last week:

“Holidays are coming we need you in our team. We are hiring holiday shoppers. No experience needed, just an honest opinion. The job requires you to shop and evaluate our employees. You will get paid to shop and keep the products.”

While there are legit mystery shopper jobs out there, we almost never see them in offers that show up in your inbox. Or in the classified ads. Or on telephone poles. Or on your phone. So, before you apply, here are some things to think about.

NCPW 2016 is March 6-12 — but consumer savvy is an everyday thing

What’s going on with you?

Concerned about data breaches and identity theft? Living on your own for the first time and thinking about budgeting, credit, renting an apartment or buying a car? Were you the victim of a scam? Misled by false advertising claims? Or do you just want to get smarter about products and services you’re considering?

Whatever’s happening in your world, when it comes to protecting your money and guarding your information, National Consumer Protection Week is a great time to get the best consumer resources from federal, state and local agencies and consumer advocacy groups across the nation. NCPW 2016 is March 6-12.

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.

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Money & Credit

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.

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Money & Credit

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