Office of Technology Research and Investigation, FTC
If you shop online — and who doesn’t? — you might notice that some websites let you pay with bitcoins. Virtual or crypto currencies like Bitcoin can be a fast way to pay online, or in person with a mobile app.
But using virtual currencies comes with risk. Their value goes up and down — sometimes sharply — depending on demand. In addition, payments made with virtual currencies aren’t reversible and don’t have the same legal protections as some traditional payment methods. Once you hit send, you can’t get your money back unless the seller agrees. That’s why it’s important to know who you’re buying from and what policies they have regarding refunds, returns, and disputes.
Recent storms and flooding plaguing the Midwest and Southeast could impact car buyers across the country. Vehicles damaged by floods in those area can be cleaned up and taken out of state for sale. You might not know a vehicle is damaged until you take a closer look or have a mechanic check it out.
Assistant Director, Consumer and Business Education, FTC
You might like your financial advisor to predict the future in ways that could help you get rich. But legitimate advisors won’t promise to know what comes next – and you shouldn’t invest with anyone who guarantees you riches. It’s kind of a rule of thumb about investing: there are no guarantees, and anyone who promises you big money is likely running a scam.
Attorney, Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC
Earn rewards for supporting a project you believe in? That’s what “crowdfunding” is all about.
Here’s how it works: “Creators” think of projects. To pay for those projects, they ask for small amounts of money from lots of people, usually through online platforms like Kickstarter or Indiegogo. Often, creators offer rewards to contributors. So far, so good … as long as the creators keep their end of the bargain.
When is it uplifting to talk about obstacles to economic opportunities? When a room full of people at a joint conference of the NAACP and the FTC spend a day making the connections we all need to help overcome scams and exactly those obstacles in our communities.
Imagine you’re at a restaurant with your friend. She pays the check, and says you can pay her back. Do you: a) write an IOU on a napkin? b) pull out a wad of cash and give her exact change? c) take out your phone and pay her through a mobile payment app?
If you answered c), this post is for you.
Like apps that let you pay at stores with your phone, “peer-to-peer” payment services can be a convenient way to pay friends. But before you use one — or use one again — check the app’s settings for available security features.
Americans love their pets – 65% of households have one. But when Fido or Felix gets sick, most pet owners end up paying out-of-pocket for medications, and few people have pet health insurance that covers this expense. This is an important economic issue for consumers, so the FTC hosted a public workshop and gathered information about the sale of pet medications. Here are some of the findings.
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.