If anyone tells you to buy iTunes cards to pay the IRS, qualify for a grant, get a loan or bail out a family member, say “No.” They’re trying to scam you. The only place to use an iTunes card is at the iTunes store, to buy online music, apps or books.
So, who’s ready for a summer break? Maybe you’re planning to frolic by the seashore, chill out in the mountains, or take in the sights and sounds of the big city. Just remember -- scammers don’t take a vacation. But the FTC can help you spot some common pitfalls so you don’t get tripped up by your travel plans.
Associate Director, Consumer & Business Education, FTC
Under a partial settlement filed today by the FTC, Volkswagen is agreeing to provide up to $10 billion to owners and lessees of VW and Audi 2.0 liter diesel cars that it claimed had low levels of harmful emissions, but did not. It’s the largest false advertising case in FTC history. Approximately 475,000 cars are affected.
Fraudulent telemarketers ask people to pay with systems — like cash-to-cash transfers or cash reload card PINs — that deliver a quick, anonymous cash payout. However, it’s now illegal for telemarketers to ask for payment by cash-to-cash money transfers — like those from MoneyGram and Western Union, or PINs from cash reload cards like MoneyPak and Vanilla Reload.
What’s worse than losing money to a scammer? Losing more money to another scammer claiming to help you recover from the first one.
Yep; this really happens. It works like this: Con artists contact you because you’re on their lists of people who lost money to scams. For a “small fee” or “donation” upfront, they promise to recover the money you lost from a prize scheme, bogus product offer, or some other scam.
Do you ever shop online for health products, like dietary supplements? Maybe you’ve seen various seals and certificates on sites you visit — showing that a site is secure, or that products on the site have been tested and evaluated. You’d think you could trust those seals and certificates — but unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
The FTC recently announced a settlement with SmartClick Media, a company that sold deceptive “Doctor Trusted” health seals to over 800 websites.
Maria and Rafael are thrilled that their daughter just graduated college and they’re ready to celebrate with friends and family. Abuela even made her famous tamales for the special occasion! At the party, Maria and Rafael beam with pride.
Soon after the festivities wind down, reality sets in and Rafael starts worrying. They have to start paying back the money they owe for their daughter’s college education, but he’s been out of work for months. What’s he going to do?
When we say we’re fighting fraud in every community here at the FTC, we mean it. We’re bringing cases and reaching out to diverse segments of the population: servicemembers and veterans, older adults, Asian Americans, Native Americans, the disability community, LGBT individuals and groups – and African American and Latino communities.
If you get a call asking you to give to a charity, you might be tempted to say yes without a second thought. But as with any call you get from someone asking for money out of the blue, pause and do some research to avoid fraudsters who try to take advantage of your generosity.
Unfortunately, there are for-profit companies — like American Handicapped and Disadvantaged Workers, Inc. (AHDW) — that pretend to be charitable organizations and lie about how they use donations. The FTC sued AHDW for deceiving people. Here’s the story.
You may have seen TV ads that claim buying gold is an easy way to earn easy profits, or build a safe retirement investment. While buying gold might help diversify your investment portfolio, is it always a good way to build your retirement? Or might it be an investment scheme disguised as a golden opportunity?