Attorney, Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC
Earn rewards for supporting a project you believe in? That’s what “crowdfunding” is all about.
Here’s how it works: “Creators” think of projects. To pay for those projects, they ask for small amounts of money from lots of people, usually through online platforms like Kickstarter or Indiegogo. Often, creators offer rewards to contributors. So far, so good … as long as the creators keep their end of the bargain.
When is it uplifting to talk about obstacles to economic opportunities? When a room full of people at a joint conference of the NAACP and the FTC spend a day making the connections we all need to help overcome scams and exactly those obstacles in our communities.
Imagine you’re at a restaurant with your friend. She pays the check, and says you can pay her back. Do you: a) write an IOU on a napkin? b) pull out a wad of cash and give her exact change? c) take out your phone and pay her through a mobile payment app?
If you answered c), this post is for you.
Like apps that let you pay at stores with your phone, “peer-to-peer” payment services can be a convenient way to pay friends. But before you use one — or use one again — check the app’s settings for available security features.
Americans love their pets – 65% of households have one. But when Fido or Felix gets sick, most pet owners end up paying out-of-pocket for medications, and few people have pet health insurance that covers this expense. This is an important economic issue for consumers, so the FTC hosted a public workshop and gathered information about the sale of pet medications. Here are some of the findings.
Charities rely on generous donations – cash and gifts-in-kind – to help people in your community, across the country, and around the world. Gifts-in-kind are non-cash donations – things like food, clothing, equipment and medical supplies.
Normally, charities give those gifts directly to people in need, or to other charities for redistribution. But a recent complaint against four sham charities by the FTC and law enforcement partners in every state and the District of Columbia shows that’s not always what happens.
In the past few years, you’ve heard warnings from us about different scams that offered prizes like money, jewelry, or vacations – all in exchange for a fee. And we’ve heard from you to the tune of more than a quarter of a million complaints about prize and sweepstakes scams in the last three years. Thanks in part to those complaints, today the FTC put a stop to a sweepstakes scam targeting older people.
If you know someone with cancer, you may have considered donating to a cancer-related charity. Many legitimate charities use donations to find treatments and cures. Some support patients and families. But there also are bogus charities that lie, exploit your generosity, and use donations to help their managers, their friends, and their families, not the causes described to donors.
For most people, plumbing problems rank right up there with root canals on the list of “experiences to avoid.” We’re careful about what we flush. We may rely on ads or product labels for information about what’s safe to put in the system, so it’s important those are accurate. According to the FTC, Nice-Pak Products lacked proof to support its claims that its wipes were safe for sewer and septic systems. Under a proposed settlement, the company can’t say the wipes are safe to flush unless it has new tests proving they are.