Money & Credit

Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week has an event for you

Today we’re kicking off Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week. Tax identity theft happens when a scammer files a fraudulent tax return using your Social Security number (SSN) and claims your refund. It also happens when someone uses your SSN to earn wages, and sticks you with the tax bill.

Logo: Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week, January 30 through February 3

A government program that pays your bills?

Have you heard about a government program that will pay your monthly bills for an up-front payment or processing fee? Here’s a short version of the rest of this post: It’s a scam. Don’t do it.

We’ve heard that this scam is happening in some African-American church communities: people approach church-goers with this so-called deal. And, because it comes up in church, the scam might seem like it could be legit. But take it from me – and the FTC: there is no federal program that pays your monthly bills in exchange for payment of any kind.

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Money & Credit

Western Union settlement: $586 million in refunds

According to the FTC, Western Union has known for years that scammers were using its system to commit significant fraud. Even when faced with clear evidence that many of its agents were committing fraud, Western Union kept taking people’s money. Probably billions in fraud-related transfers, sent since January 2004. But today, in a global settlement with the FTC and the US Department of Justice, Western Union agreed to return $586 million to people and create a real and strong anti-fraud program.

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Money & Credit

Credit Bureau Center’s Online Rental Scam

Renting an apartment online? First, let me tell you about the FTC’s case against Credit Bureau Center, LLC – a company that posted fake online rentals to lure people to their credit monitoring sites. 

Make it a season of unhappy returns for tax ID thieves

Tax identity thieves and IRS imposters are ready for tax season, whether you are or not. Find out how to protect yourself, and what to do if someone you know becomes a victim, during Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week, January 30 through February 3.

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Order free materials for National Consumer Protection Week 2017

National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) is around the corner! The annual event – March 5-11, 2017 – is a time to help people understand their consumer rights, make well-informed decisions about money, and spot scams.

Defendant pays the price for selling fake consumer debt portfolios

Debt buying is big business. That’s the sale of old debt, for pennies on the dollar, by creditors to buyers who then attempt to collect the debt or sell it to other buyers. But when a person or company sells fake debt portfolios, that’s fraud

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Money & Credit

Don’t pay for a car with Amazon gift cards. Ever.

We’ve written before about scammers who trick people into paying with iTunes gift cards. The latest? They’re asking people to pay for big online purchases — like cars, motorcycles, boats, RVs and tractors — with Amazon gift cards.

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Money & Credit

FTC sues D-Link over router and camera security flaws

If you’ve got a wireless network, your wireless router connects your computer and other devices to the internet. If it’s reasonably designed and configured, the router also is a gate that should prevent hackers from accessing your devices and data. Hackers have used unsecured internet-connected devices, like routers and cameras, to steal people’s data, spy on their activities, and even bring down important websites. So it’s pretty important that routers – key connections to the internet – are secured, right?

The FTC thinks so, which is why today we’re suing the makers and distributors of D-Link products, for failing to take reasonable steps to secure their routers and IP cameras.

Police raids in India cut down IRS imposter calls

Over the last few years, we’ve warned about a lot of imposter scams. In one of the most common types, callers pretending to be from the IRS demand payments and threaten to arrest people.

Last fall, we mentioned raids on illegal telemarketing operations by the police in India. After that, the US Department of Justice indicted dozens of scammers who also were impersonating the IRS. After those actions, the number of IRS imposter scams reported to the FTC plummeted. On Tuesday, the New York Times ran a behind-the-scenes look at the call centers and the raids that took them down. It’s a great reminder that scammers are organized, and they’re really good liars.

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