We’re all consumers and information is the first line of defense in the marketplace. Everyone can benefit from amping up their consumer know-how and getting the inside skinny on avoiding scams. That’s true for servicemembers, veterans, and their families, too. And that’s the spirit behind Military Consumer Protection Day, July 17. The FTC, the Department of Defense, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Military Saves have teamed up for this first ever MCPD to kick off a year-round campaign to empower the military and veteran communities.
We’re no fans of creepy little blood-suckers like bed bugs and head lice. We’re also not keen on pest control marketers who say their products prevent or treat these infestations, but can’t back up their claims.
Crescent City or The Big Easy? “Nawlins” or just New Orleans? However you call this beautiful city, my colleagues and I will be there later this week at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Annual Conference handing out bilingual materials and chatting with people about being a smart and safe consumer.
If you’re behind in paying your bills, or a creditor’s records mistakenly show that you are, a debt collector may contact you. You have the right to be treated fairly by debt collectors. They can't use abusive, deceptive or unfair practices to collect from you. That includes making harassing phone calls. But according to the Federal Trade Commission, that’s just what the world’s largest debt collection operation did.
Identity theft is an unfortunate fact of modern life. Do you know what to do if your identity is stolen? How can you make identity protection part of your routine? Get answers to these and other identity theft questions during our Twitter Chat July 10 at 2 pm (EDT). FTC staff will host a one-hour session with our partners at DoD’s Military One Source and Military Saves.
Attorney, Division of Consumer & Business Education, FTC
A new variation of the fake check scam is making the rounds. It works like this: scammers place ads on the internet or send mass emails to attract people looking for extra money. They claim they will pay to shrink-wrap your car with an advertisement of a popular company. All you have to do is drive your car as you normally would.
Health insurance is changing under the Affordable Care Act. Starting on October 1, 2013, people who are uninsured or who buy their own coverage can sign up for health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Why write about this now, if enrollment doesn’t start until October? Because we’ve already heard from consumers and other federal agencies that scammers are trying to convince people to act, and give up money or personal information. Scammers want to get to you before you have time to think.
It’s summertime. For kids, that might mean days at the pool, sleep-away camp, summer school…and hours on some computer or mobile device, if they can possibly get away with it.
Starting today, parents might feel a little better about their younger kids’ privacy online. That’s because changes to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) rule take effect today. The act requires operators of websites or online services directed to kids under 13 to give notice to parents — and get their verifiable consent — before collecting, using, or disclosing a kid’s personal information. The rule also applies to general audience sites that know they’re collecting information from kids under 13, and to sites and online services that have actual knowledge they’re collecting information from sites directed to children. The rule applies to apps, too, not just to websites.
If you want easy access to reliable consumer tips and advice while you’re on-the-go, check out the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) new mobile-friendly navigation for our library of consumer information.