Tax identity theft is the theme of the week, but it’s not the only tax scam we’re talking about. Complaints to the FTC about IRS imposter scams have shot up over the last year — by almost 50,000 complaints.
Here’s what happens: You get a call from a scammer pretending to be with the IRS, saying you’ll be arrested if you don’t pay taxes you owe right now. You’re told to wire it or put it on a prepaid debit card. They might threaten to deport you or say you’ll lose your driver’s license. Some even know your Social Security number, and they fake caller ID so you think it really is the IRS calling.
Attorney, Division of Privacy and Identity Protection
FTC blog posts don’t usually come with parental advisory notices, but in the case of Craig Brittain and his now-defunct revenge porn website, isanybodydown.com, we might need to make an exception. Because, in case you missed it: revenge porn.
Unlimited talk, text, and data for $45 per month with no contract? That sounds like a great deal, but according to a recent FTC lawsuit, millions of people who bought unlimited mobile plans from Straight Talk, Net10 Wireless, Simple Mobile, and Telcel America didn’t get what they paid for. And now they may be eligible for refunds.
Sorry, folks, I don’t have any cake to share for this celebration, but don’t let that stop you from participating in Data Privacy Day. There are practical things you can do today, and every day, to protect your personal information. Here are a few scenarios where people may share more information than they intend.
When we think of being connected to the internet, mobile phones, tablets and computers pop to mind. But lots of things are connected these days. Refrigerators, fitness wrist bands, smoke detectors and even light bulbs could have digital sensors that transmit information about you to other objects, databases or people over the internet.
Have you heard about green coffee bean extract? You might have seen seemingly trustworthy celebrities touting these “magic” weight loss pills on TV. Or maybe you saw ads online or displays in stores promoting green coffee bean extract — “As Seen on TV.” But if you spend your money on a product that promises miraculous weight loss without diet or exercise, the only thing you’ll lose is your money.
Assistant Director, Division of Marketing Practices, FTC
When the headlines change, scammers follow: Natural disaster? Charity scams will follow. Medicare open season? Health care scams will follow. So we know from experience that, when immigration is in the headlines, scams will follow.
Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re in the immigration process – or would like to be – regardless of what’s in the news.
Every year, National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), encourages people and businesses to learn more about avoiding scams and understanding consumer rights. This year, NCPW takes place March 1-7, 2015. NCPW highlights free resources from government agencies and consumer organizations to help people make smarter buying decisions and spot rip-offs.
If you’re behind in paying your bills, you may be contacted by a debt collector, but that doesn’t mean a collector can treat you unfairly. Under federal law, debt collectors — including collection agencies, lawyers who collect debts on a regular basis, and companies that buy delinquent debts and then try to collect them — can’t use abusive, deceptive or unfair practices to collect from you. But not all debt collectors play by the rules.