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.
Hollywood might have you believe that identity theft means a dozen maxed out credit cards, a warrant for your arrest, and a bill for a spa appointment 2,000 miles away. But in real life, identity theft can be sneakier.
It might start with a small credit card charge you don’t recognize. Or a strange new account that shows up on your credit report. Or a letter from the IRS that says you already filed taxes this year. Only you didn’t.
Attorney, Division of Consumer and Business Education
Get into the act — that’s the theme for Older Americans Month this May. Wondering how you can get into the act in your community? Try using Pass it On — the FTC’s consumer education materials designed to start older adults talking about scams.
At the FTC we want to serve every community, and we work to educate and protect consumers everywhere. For that reason, we were delighted to be invited by the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission to talk consumer issues with members of one of our nation’s oldest communities: the Navajo Nation.
The devastation caused by a massive earthquake in Nepal and the Katmandu Valley region has left many people asking how they can help. If you’re looking for a way to give, the Federal Trade Commission urges you to do some research to ensure that your donation will go to a reputable organization that will use the money as promised.
A couple of weeks ago, we told you about a sweepstakes scam using the FTC’s name to get people to send money. Now, there’s another sweepstakes-themed FTC imposter scam, and this one lays it on thick.
It starts with a letter from a lawyer in California. He says the FTC appointed him to notify you about a claim [spoiler: we didn’t], and includes a letter from FTC Commissioner Joshua Wright enlisting his help [spoiler: it’s fake].