I know what you’re thinking. It’s barely Halloween and the Christmas decorations are up. You’re worried because you don’t have a lot of cash or don’t want to run up a lot of debt.
The good news is that some sellers offer layaway to help you spread your payments out. You start paying early and they hold on to your gifts until you pay them off. But bear in mind that layaway fees and policies can vary a great deal. Check them carefully before you sign up.
With Halloween almost here, we’ve got a question for you — are your zombie-fighting skills up to snuff?
We’re not talking about fighting just any zombie — this time your undead enemy is zombie debt.
Zombie debt is debt you think is dead, gone, and forgotten, but has somehow come back to life. Here are some tips for battling zombie debt when a collector resurrects it.
Each year, the U.S. State Department holds a Diversity Visa (DV) lottery and millions of people from eligible countries enter their names. They hope to win a chance to apply for a U.S. visa and become legal permanent residents. The State Department runs the only legitimate site for the lottery: www.dvlottery.state.gov, and there’s no fee to enter. If you get an email or see a website that claims to be about the DV lottery, but asks you to send money, don’t click on a link or give up personal information.
Counsel, FTC's Division of Consumer & Business Education
When a loved one passes away, the last thing on your mind is hassling with debt collectors. But you may have the job of managing the deceased’s assets – and you could find yourself handling an estate that includes outstanding debts. Keep these considerations in mind.
When you apply for things like cable or satellite TV, mobile phone service, or internet service, the company might review your credit report. They can use the information in your credit report to give you less favorable terms, meaning they can charge you more for the service than someone with a better credit history. That’s called risk-based pricing. The law says it’s OK as long as the company lets you know about it by sending you a Risk-Based Pricing Notice.
Phone scammers spend their days making trouble. They waste our time, tie up our phone lines and harass us with ugly language. Some do much, much worse. The FTC has heard from people who got calls from scammers saying, “I’ve kidnapped your relative,” and naming a brother, sister, child or parent. “Send ransom immediately by wire transfer or prepaid card,” they say, “or something bad will happen.”
They’re lying. They didn’t kidnap anyone, but they hope you’ll panic and rush to pay ransom before checking the story.
Recently, I told you about the new credit and debit chip cards designed to reduce fraud, including counterfeiting. Now, I'm reporting on scammers who are trying to take advantage of the millions of consumers who haven't yet received a chip card.
It’s been a year of weather woes, with South Carolina being the latest victim – floods have swept across much of the state. You can be sure it’s only a matter of time before scammers come calling to wreak a different type of devastation.
Here are some ways to arm yourself against scammers who use weather emergencies to cheat people.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ve heard us say repeatedly to report scams to the FTC. If you report scams to us, we can bring the kinds of cases that shut down the scammers.
But there’s another place to report international scams, too: econsumer.gov.
Coming to a wallet near you: new credit and debit chip cards. They’re part of a nationwide shift by major card issuers to offer added security against fraud. The new cards look like your old cards with one exception: they have a small square metallic chip on the front. The chip holds your payment data — some of which is currently held on the magnetic stripe on your old cards — and provides a unique code for each purchase. The metallic chip is designed to reduce fraud, including counterfeiting. Here’s how it works...