Scams are like weeds: they crop up, are treated and disappear, only to find a way to pop up again. Such is the case with a scam we’ve written about before. In this scam, the fraudster pretends to be from the FTC and emails people, telling them they’re under investigation and to click on a link for more information.
We ended 2015 by announcing Operation Collection Protection, a massive, nationwide enforcement initiative, targeting illegal debt collection practices at the federal, state, and local levels. Since then, the FTC and its partners have been busy bringing more actions against debt collectors who are unlicensed, deceptive or abusive. As Operation Collection Protection comes to a close, here’s a look back at what was accomplished.
The Federal Trade Commission recently held “The Changing Consumer Demographics” workshop to examine demographic shifts.As the U.S. population ages and gets more diverse, consumer protection strategies must evolve to make sure we’re protecting all communities. Workshop participants, including expert demographers and leaders in marketing, consumer advocacy, and law enforcement, discussed what the population will look like in the future – and what that means for consumer protection.
If you’re thinking of selling a timeshare, the FTC cautions you to question resellers — real estate brokers and agents who specialize in reselling timeshares. They may claim that the market in your area is “hot” and that they’re overwhelmed with buyer requests. Some may even say that they have buyers ready to purchase your timeshare, or promise to sell your timeshare within a specific time. All they need is an upfront fee to get the ball rolling. Well, hold onto your money and read on.
As more and more consumers are shopping with mobile apps, fraudsters are following the money. There are fake phone apps popping up that impersonate well-known retailers in order to steal your personal information. Their names are similar to well-known brands, and their descriptions promise enticing deals or features.But these fraudulent apps can take your credit card or bank information. Some fake apps may even install malware onto your phone and demand money from you to unlock it.
Do you have faux fur on your holiday wish list – maybe a jacket, hat or throw? It turns out that some faux fur is actually real fur, but manufacturers and retailers say it’s fake. And misleading people is against the law.
To control this kind of targeted advertising, you might take steps like deleting cookies, limiting ads through your device settings, or downloading different ad networks’ opt-out cookies. But what if an advertising company kept tracking you anyway — despite the steps you took to control it?
In the summer of 2015, the FTC won its lawsuit against thirty-two telemarketers including Money Now Funding LLC. The defendants took more than $7 million from people through a work-at-home scam. They told people they could earn money by referring local merchants to a non-existent money-lending service. The scammers claimed their “business opportunities” would yield up to $3,000 per month, but only after people paid $499 for the business opportunity and thousands of dollars more for business leads.
If you’re doing business with a car dealer that advertises 100-plus-point inspections for its used cars, you’d expect the dealer to make it clear if some of those cars had open recalls for safety defects, right?
Assistant Director, Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC
You might have read about the FTC’s case against Vemma Nutrition Company, a business “opportunity” with pitches that promised big money from selling an energy drink. In 2015, the FTC filed suit, alleging that Vemma was running an illegal pyramid scheme and targeting college students.