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.
I’m a fan of Tim Allen’s role as an accident-prone handyman on the 90’s hit TV comedy, Home Improvement. But in reality, hiring a good contractor isn’t something you just fall into. It helps to know the signs of a home improvement scam.
If you’re looking for Section 8 housing assistance, here’s something you need to know: scammers have made websites that look like registration sites for Section 8 waiting list lotteries. If you pay a fee or give your personal information, the scammers will take it. And you still won’t be on a real Section 8 waiting list. In fact, there is no fee to register for a Section 8 waiting list.
Are you looking for a job you can do from home? Maybe you want something flexible to balance responsibilities like caring for kids or family members. Or maybe you haven’t been able to find a job, or you need extra income.
Whatever your reason, know this: many work-at-home ads that promise you can earn a great living, even in your spare time, are scams. They won’t deliver on the claims they make.
In the past few years, you’ve heard warnings from us about different scams that offered prizes like money, jewelry, or vacations – all in exchange for a fee. And we’ve heard from you to the tune of more than a quarter of a million complaints about prize and sweepstakes scams in the last three years. Thanks in part to those complaints, today the FTC put a stop to a sweepstakes scam targeting older people.
You get an email from a friend, with a link and a message: “Hi! Oprah says it’s excellent!” But did your friend really send this message? And what’s so excellent?
Millions of people got emails like this one, but not from their friends. Instead, according to the FTC, marketers hired by Sale Slash sent spam emails from hacked email and social media accounts. Why? To trick people into thinking the messages came from a friend. And, of course, to sell stuff.
What happens when you pay someone who says they’re going to help you, and they don’t? Well, in the case of HOPE Services, the FTC came calling.
Here’s the story: According to the FTC, a group of companies and individuals doing business as HOPE Services told consumers facing foreclosure they could get help from legitimate, government-backed programs, like Making Home Affordable — but only after they made three monthly trial payments into a so-called mortgage lender’s trust account.
The devastation caused by a massive earthquake in Nepal and the Katmandu Valley region has left many people asking how they can help. If you’re looking for a way to give, the Federal Trade Commission urges you to do some research to ensure that your donation will go to a reputable organization that will use the money as promised.