In 2012, the FTC received more than 2 million consumer complaints – a first in the history of the Consumer Sentinel Network. The #1 category of complaints? Identity theft. This tidbit is from the hot-off-the-press Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book 2012, a fascinating analysis of complaints received in Sentinel during the previous calendar year. Sentinel is a secure online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies across the country. Agencies use the data to research cases, identify victims, and track possible targets.
Want to learn more about the top ten complaint categories, get national data, and state-by-state accountings of the top complaints? Check out the 2012 Sentinel Data Book.
If you’re thinking about applying for an online payday loan, you might be dealing with a direct lender – or you might be dealing with a loan aggregator. A direct lender lends you the money; a loan aggregator is a middleman – a company that collects your personal and financial information on a loan application and shops it around to lenders who might offer you a loan.
The big bright eyes, the wet little nose, the soft fur fringed around a face you want to cuddle and coo. You’ve fallen in love with a picture of the cutest puppy (with a bright red bow), after responding to an ad that says “free to a loving home.”
When you were in school, did you learn about managing your money? I remember learning how to write a check — strangely enough, in music class — but that was about it.
A new resource from the Federal Trade Commission takes you through important steps in managing your money. This section of consumer.gov talks about making a budget and opening a bank account, using debit cards, and saving money when you shop. It also gives you information about prepaid cards, using phone cards, and sending money overseas.
The FTC recently completed its fifth national study on the accuracy and completeness of consumer credit reports. A credit report includes information on where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you’ve been sued, or have filed for bankruptcy. Nationwide consumer reporting companies sell the information in your report to creditors, insurers, employers, and other businesses that use it to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment, or renting a home.
Have you ever wanted to know what to do about a problem, but not wanted to read lots of information to get your answer? Sure, it might be interesting, but in that moment you just want to know what to do.
If your problem was a consumer protection issue, we may have your answer: consumer.gov. It’s a free new resource from the Federal Trade Commission that gives you the consumer protection facts, plain and simple.
If you owe back taxes, you may be tempted to turn to companies that claim they can reduce or eliminate your tax debts and stop back-tax collection by applying for IRS hardship programs. The truth is that most people don’t qualify for the programs these fraudsters hawk, their companies don’t settle the tax debt, and in many cases they don’t even send the necessary paperwork to the IRS.
The FTC recently settled a case against American Tax Relief, which bilked consumers out of more than $100 million by falsely claiming it could reduce their tax debts. Under the settlement, the scammers are banned from telemarketing and selling debt relief services, and must surrender more than $15 million in cash and assets to settle charges that they violated federal law.
Owning a car can be a big responsibility. And while you may have gotten up to speed on proper tire inflation and when to replace worn wiper blades, there are some other key things to know.
For instance, if you took out a loan to buy your car, you don’t own the car until you pay off the loan. If you don’t pay, the lender can repossess the car. You might be tempted by companies that promise to lower your monthly car payments if you pay them a fee first. They might even claim they can help you stop the repossession process. Put on the brakes. Those promises usually are lies or half-truths from scammers who can’t possibly deliver.