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.
When it comes to advertising hype, we’ve heard it all. Some can be very appealing: “Shrink two sizes without dieting!” Who wouldn’t love to lose weight or shape up with no effort? Well, the problem is, that’s not how it works. Take a pass on any product that offers weight loss or fitness results without any effort. Remember, no garment, gizmo, or cream is going to make you fit and toned.
Pass it On is the FTC’s consumer education campaign designed to encourage older adults to talk to their friends, neighbors, and relatives about scams. Because we’ve learned that sharing what you know can help protect someone who you know from a scam. Now, we’ve got a new video that highlights how some local organizations are getting in on the act and using Pass it On materials in their communities – all in different ways.
Associate Director, Division of Marketing Practices, FTC
Last July, we told you about the FTC’s settlement with Herbalife, which made the multilevel marketing company not only restructure how it does business, but also pay $200 million to people who lost money trying to run an Herbalife business. Today, we mailed checks to about 350,000 of them. Are you thinking about a multilevel marketing (MLM) business opportunity? Every year, many people join MLM plans – and many also leave. Before joining any MLM company, do some research. Your time and money are too valuable not to. Here are a few things to consider:
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
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.
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.
Associate Director, Consumer & Business Education, FTC
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.
Anyone old enough to remember The Jetsons knows how the futuristic family used their flying car or jetpack to get to their “smart home,” where people movers whisked the family from room to room, lights automatically switched on, food appeared at the touch of a button, and Rosie the robot maid cleaned up.