Concerned about data breaches and identity theft? Living on your own for the first time and thinking about budgeting, credit, renting an apartment or buying a car? Were you the victim of a scam? Misled by false advertising claims? Or do you just want to get smarter about products and services you’re considering?
Whatever’s happening in your world, when it comes to protecting your money and guarding your information, National Consumer Protection Week is a great time to get the best consumer resources from federal, state and local agencies and consumer advocacy groups across the nation. NCPW 2016 is March 6-12.
Here’s a thought to warm the Grinch’s heart: while you’re focused on the holiday season, identity thieves are thinking about how to steal your information. One of the ways they try to do that is by filing a fake tax return using your information — like your Social Security number — to get a tax refund. You may only find out about it when you get a letter from the IRS. Or when you file your return, only to hear from the IRS that someone else already did. That’s tax identity theft, a problem we hear more about each year.
Attorney, FTC's Division of Consumer & Business Education
You probably know a few veterans. You might even be a vet yourself. If so, you’ll want to get some valuable tips from the FTC’s Military Consumer campaign, the Department of Veteran Affairs and the US Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). We’re joining forces for a Twitter chat about how vets can protect themselves against identity theft and IRS imposter scams – and how to use Identitytheft.gov to recover from this crime. Follow @MilConsumer and be part of the conversation at #VeteranIDTheft tomorrow, Tuesday, December 8 at 1:00 pm (ET).
Does your internet browser ever display ads that just seem wrong — for example, an inappropriate ad on a kid’s website, an ad that blocks content on the page, or an ad on a government site? It might look something like this:
Has your Social Security Number gone to work without you? If someone has used your SSN to get a job, that’s identity theft.
You may be able to discover the identity theft before the IRS sends you a tax bill for income that never passed through your pockets. MyE-Verify, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) website, also available in Spanish, is part of E-Verify. DHS created E-Verify to help employers check government records to make sure their employees can work legally in the U.S. MyE-Verify lets you see all the employers that checked your records using E-Verify. If you see an employer you don’t know, it may mean that an identity thief is at work.
In Hollywood, you get glitz and glamour when you make it to the “A” list. Here in Washington, I prefer the peace and quiet I get from being on the national Do Not Call list. I’m in good company, too. As of October 1, 2015, the Do Not Call list includes more than 222 million numbers.
You get a call from a telemarketer selling a fancy new product, and after talking, you decide you want to buy it. That’s when he asks you to wire money for payment, specifying cash pickup. Do you do it?
The answer: No way. Don’t send the money. If you wire money, you can’t get it back. And, thanks to recent changes to the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule — aka the TSR — it’s just plain illegal.
The next time you get a message offering to fix a supposed problem with your computer, you might keep this in mind: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Because there’s a good chance that call is a tech support scam.
The 2015 Medicare open enrollment period runs from October 15 to December 7. It’s the time when Medicare recipients can comparison shop and make changes to their plans. It’s also a time when scammers take advantage of older consumers with ruses like these.