If you have a phone, you’ve probably heard from an IRS imposter — someone claiming you owe thousands of dollars and better pay up immediately, or else terrible things will happen. In the last nine months, more than 111,000 of you reported calls like that to the FTC, and dozens wrote blog comments about callers with South Asian accents posing as IRS agents.
Over the summer, we told you about a mortgage relief scam that defrauded homeowners in financial distress. The case especially affected Spanish-speaking homeowners in Southern California. According to the FTC, Brookstone Law and Advantis Law firms convinced homeowners to make an upfront payment to join a mortgage lawsuit against banks and lenders, supposedly to help them avoid foreclosure, get rid of their mortgages, or get money from their lenders.
What’s one kind of scam targeting you and everyone you know? Imposter scams. They happen when scammers pretend to be a person, business, or government agency you trust, then try to convince you to send money. One of their latest targets: people who own tractor-trailer trucks and other commercial vehicles.
If you’re just getting by, and someone offers you the chance to earn more money through a business opportunity, you might be willing to listen, right?
Unfortunately, those offers often turn out to be just another scam. Today the FTC announced charges against three people and multiple companies behind a telemarketing scheme that targeted older people and veterans, and took millions of dollars from people with promises they would multiply their investment.
It seems like manufacturers are coming out with new smartphones, tablets and other devices at a faster clip year after year. People who upgraded and were looking to get some money back for their old devices may have been tempted by some websites that promised to pay top dollar. As a result of the lawsuit filed by the FTC and the State of Georgia, a federal court just put a stop to one company running several buyback websites because it wasn’t keeping up its end of the bargain.
If you work for a business or a non-profit, you probably get lots of messages and mail about directory listings and upcoming trade shows. Just make sure you weed out for scams as you sift through these items. Here’s why.
Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to celebrate the contributions so many Latinos have made throughout history. It’s also a time for us to celebrate you for the vital role you’ve played in helping Latino communities avoid scams.
In 2010, the FTC sued Jeremy Johnson, his company IWorks, and nine others for allegedly taking more than $280 million from people with a deceptive “free trial” scheme. Now Johnson, his family members, and more than two dozen corporate defendants have settled FTC charges and will give up millions of dollars in cash, stock, jewelry, aircraft, real estate and other assets.
Assistant Director, Division of Consumer and Business Education
In pretty much every article and blog post we put out, you’ll find tips to help you avoid scams. The idea is that, if you can spot a scam, and know how to avoid it, you and your money are more likely to stay together.
Today, we’re releasing a brochure that distills those tips down to the top 10 ways to avoid fraud. This brochure – available online and in print – is your one-stop resource to help you spot imposters, know what to do about robocalls, and how to check out a scammer’s claims.