The FTC received more than 3 million complaints in 2015. That’s up from 2.5 million in 2014. Some of the increase can be attributed to the fact that more people know to complain to the FTC about bad business practices, frauds and scams. Technology helped, too — more complaints are reaching the FTC through the convenience of mobile apps. The top three complaint categories are still debt collection, identity theft, and imposter scams. The FTC took aggressive action in 2015 to help address each area and will continue to make each a high priority in 2016.
Robocalls can be more annoying than a lingering head cold. Recently, some people got robocalls that seemed to be about health insurance and the Health Insurance Marketplace, but the calls were a con. The callers were phishing for personal information. People who work in the Marketplace don’t make cold calls, and they never ask for personal information. If you get a call like this, hang up.
We’re hearing from our colleagues that those pesky government imposters are at it again, using the FTC’s name to try to con people into paying them for something. Whether it’s to clean up your credit report, give you a prize, resolve a complaint against you, or pay off a debt you owe, they’re all lies. The message may be a call or an email, but it isn’t from the Federal Trade Commission, or any other federal agency.
There are plenty of good reasons to get your high school diploma as an adult. It can open doors to a new job or promotion, or help you get into college or the military. But before you start looking into your options, make sure you know how to spot a diploma scam.
The FTC has filed charges against two fake high school diploma operations: Capitol Network Distance Learning Programs (CNDLP) and Stepping Stonez Development.
The subject line says “Get Protected,” and the email talks about new features from the Social Security Administration (SSA) that can help taxpayers monitor their credit reports, and know about unauthorized use of their Social Security number. It even cites the IRS and the official-sounding “S.A.F.E Act 2015.”
It sounds real, but it’s all made-up. It’s a phishing email to get you to click on a scammer’s link.
Pop quiz: If someone calls you asking for your bank account number, should you give it to them?
Answer: Never. Hang up — it’s a scam.
We’ve heard about different kinds of imposter scams on the rise. In one scenario, scammers call, pretending to work for Medicare. They say they need to verify your bank account number — and it might sound convincing. In truth, it’s a trick to steal your money.
Severe weather and historic flooding have left people in many parts of the U.S. battling to save lives, homes and businesses. The last thing anyone needs are scam artists who prey on the misfortune of others. Common natural disaster scams include debris removal and clean-up, shoddy repairs and construction, charity fraud, and imposter scams.
Here are some ways to arm yourself against scammers who use weather emergencies to cheat people.
Assistant Director, Division of Marketing Practices, FTC
Who isn’t looking for a little extra cash at the holidays? An offer for an easy – and fun – job could seem like just what you need. That’s the email offer I got from a major retailer (or so it said) last week:
“Holidays are coming we need you in our team. We are hiring holiday shoppers. No experience needed, just an honest opinion. The job requires you to shop and evaluate our employees. You will get paid to shop and keep the products.”
While there are legit mystery shopper jobs out there, we almost never see them in offers that show up in your inbox. Or in the classified ads. Or on telephone poles. Or on your phone. So, before you apply, here are some things to think about.