Imagine this: it’s the hottest day of the year. (Or, since we’re getting into Fall, the coldest.) Someone from your utility company calls to say they’re about to cut off your power. You check the caller ID, and it looks like the right number – at least, it’s in your area code. You know you’ve paid your bill, and you can’t imagine what happened – but you also know you can’t afford to lose power. So what do you do?
Con artists are trying to steal money from people by falsely claiming they are associated with the federal courts, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The imposters tell people they are entitled to refunds as part of cases brought by the FTC against companies that engaged in timeshare resale fraud. People are told they must pay several hundred dollars in “court costs,” “processing fees” or “filing fees” to get their refunds. The scammers may use an actual FTC case number to lend some legitimacy to their pitch. DO NOT GIVE THESE IMPOSTERS MONEY. THIS IS A SCAM.
September is National Preparedness Month and a good time to prepare your family, pets, and property for extreme weather situations. The FTC has information to help you prepare for, deal with, and recover from different aspects of a weather emergency.
Yet another text message. Who’s this one from? Seriously? A debt collector?
Getting texts from debt collectors might be annoying, but it’s not illegal. What is illegal is an incomplete disclosure and a harassing or deceptive attempt to collect money. For example, it’s against the law for debt collectors to pretend to be attorneys or falsely threaten to sue you, regardless of how they communicate — through texts, through letters, or through phone calls.
Assistant Director, Division of Privacy & Identity Protection, FTC
To some scammers, older Americans are an attractive target — over a lifetime of saving, they may have built up a nest egg for retirement or equity in their home. Like Willie Sutton, scammers go where the money is. So banks and other financial institutions play a key role in protecting their customers from abuse and exploitation. Financial institutions are often in the best position to recognize suspicious activity relating to an account.
Attorney, Division of Consumer & Business Education, FTC
Whether you’re setting out on your own or teaching people about financial issues like making and saving money, using credit, or managing debt, it pays to have some everyday strategies.
Managing your finances takes time and effort—and can raise lots of questions. That’s why we’re hosting a Hispanic Heritage Month Twitter chat in Spanish this Thursday, September 26, at 1 p.m. Eastern/10 a.m. Pacific. FTC staff will be ready to take your questions – in Spanish.
It’s heartbreaking to see people lose their lives, homes, businesses, pets and livestock to ravaging floodwaters. But it’s despicable when scammers exploit such tragedies to tug at your heartstrings and appeal to your sense of generosity.
That’s why the Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, urges you to be cautious of potential charity scams in connection with the ongoing flooding in Colorado.
As we kick off Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations, we think of all the wonderful contributions Latinos have made throughout U.S. history. From Civil War Admiral David G. Farragut to union leaders César Chávez and Dolores Huerta, baseball’s Roberto Clemente, Nobel Prize winner Severo Ochoa and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the list of Latinos who have empowered the U.S., and all of its communities, is endless.
As part of its ongoing effort to end illegal robocalls, the FTC announced settlements with two more unscrupulous companies that made prerecorded calls to trick consumers into paying for deceptive credit card interest rate reduction plans.