During Hispanic Heritage Month, we celebrate the heritage and culture of Hispanic communities across the country, and recognize their many contributions to American life. At the FTC, we join the celebration as we work to combat deception and fraud in marketplaces targeting Hispanic communities.
Growing up, we all learned that money doesn’t grow on trees. Here’s another hard truth: the federal government is not giving away thousands of dollars in grants to people who pay their taxes on time, have no criminal records, never declared bankruptcy or were ‘selected in a demographic survey.' Anyone who claims you’ll get ‘free money’ for those reasons is trying to scam you.
Counsel for International Consumer Protection, FTC
People who’ve recently arrived in the US have a lot of adjustments to make. For many refugees and immigrants, and some of the social services groups who help them, the basics come first: figuring out language, food, shelter, and work. Understanding how to avoid fraud isn’t high on the list – until a scam finds a recent arrival.
That’s why the FTC has created new materials to help refugees and immigrants spot, avoid and report scams. We worked closely with the International Rescue Committee to create a short handbook to help anyone identify a sure sign of a scam.
Calling people and pushing them to pay debts they don’t really owe?
Posing as law enforcement and fake government agencies like the “Federal Crime Unit of the Department of Justice”?
Threatening to sue or arrest people — or tell their family and employers about a debt?
Reciting people’s Social Security and bank account numbers to seem legit?
Yup, this fake debt collection scheme did it all, illegally collecting more than $5.2 million in fake payday loan debts.
Here’s a fun way to think about a tricky topic. You know the scene in Lewis Caroll’s Alice in Wonderland when the white rabbit hops off saying “I’m late! I’m late! For a very important date!”? Imagine the rabbit is a debt collector. The important date? It’s his last chance to legally make you pay money you owe. Why he’s late? The debt collector has run out of time to sue you for an old and unpaid, or time-barred, debt. For more, follow me down the rabbit hole...
Senior Attorney, Bureau of Consumer Protection, FTC
Are you a nanny or caregiver who lists your services on sites like care.com, sittercity.com, or craigslist.com? A few months ago, we warned about a scam that targets caregivers like you. Here’s a reminder: a con artist emails or texts an offer to hire you. The scammer also sends you a check and asks you to deposit it, keep some money for your services, and send the rest to someone else to — supposedly — pay for special items or medical equipment. But the check is fake, and it can take weeks for a bank to discover the forgery. If you deposit the check and withdraw the funds, you’ll wind up owing the bank all that money.
Having a problem with a product or service can be frustrating. When you’re trying to resolve a problem with a company, the first step should be to discuss your concerns with a representative of the business. If a phone call or email doesn’t resolve the problem, consider writing a complaint letter. Use this sample letter and these tips to write an effective complaint.
It’s no surprise that gamers excited about the release of a new gaming console would go online to see what people are saying about it. But they might be surprised to learn that some people who posted video reviews were paid to say positive things—and didn’t disclose that. That’s what the FTC says happened in the days leading up to the launch of Microsoft’s Xbox One, according to a complaint filed today by the agency.
Attorney, FTC's Division of Consumer & Business Education
If you serve – or have served – in the military, chances are you feel a pretty tight bond with your brothers- and sisters-in-arms. If you share a common experience with someone, it only makes sense that you trust them, want to associate with them, or even do business with them.
But here’s something to bear in mind: scammers count on your trust in fellow servicemembers – and use it against you. A con artist might have actual service experience or they might be lying about it. Either way, they’re highly skilled at exploiting a military connection to get in good with you. Once they have your trust, they use it to deflect any questions and to throw you off track while they cheat you. It’s known as affinity fraud – when someone uses their membership in a group to scam another member. It could be someone claiming you can trust them because of the shared experience of serving in the military.
Have you ever been invited to an in-home sales party and felt pressured to buy something? Well, if you regret your purchase, the FTC’s Cooling-Off Rule may be able to help. But time is of the essence.
The Rule gives you a 3-day right to cancel a sale made at someone’s home or workplace, or at a seller’s temporary location — like a hotel room, convention center, fairground or restaurant.