I confess… I once was a mystery shopper. Decades ago, I shopped at stores to see what they were charging for certain products and visited restaurant chains to evaluate the food and service. I wrote up a report, sent it in, and received a check for my work. Nothing I could make a living from, but it helped fill the gas tank.
Back then, it didn’t occur to me that responding to a mystery or secret shopper ad could set me up for a scam. Now I know – if you’re looking to make extra money as a mystery shopper, it pays to do some homework to make sure the job is real.
Attorney, Division of Consumer and Business Education
Ready to start booking your next vacation? Maybe you’re thinking about renting a house or condo. These days it’s easy to connect directly with property owners who advertise their vacation homes online, and you’ve probably heard wonderful stories from people who rent vacation properties. We have, too. But we’ve also heard from people who’ve fallen for vacation rental scams.
If you’re a parent, you want to see your child succeed in school. So it may seem like a wise investment when a company claims that its products will improve your kids’ grades, test scores, IQ, reading speed and comprehension and even offers a money-back guarantee. The problem? The FTC found that a company making these claims, WordSmart Corporation, allegedly had no substantiation to support them and relied on outright lies to generate business.
Ongoing efforts by the FTC and its federal and state partners to stop mobile cramming have resulted in a whopping $105 million dollar settlement with AT&T — the biggest to date with a prominent mobile phone carrier. Even better news for affected AT&T customers? They might be eligible for a refund.
You just bought the latest smartphone. You loaded all your favorite apps — online banking, GPS, even an app to track your health.
But now your phone is full of information about you — how much money you have, where you are and whether you’ve gained a little weight. Your information can cause problems if it’s in the wrong hands. Want to protect it? These tips are for you.
How low can scammers go? As low as stealing from older consumers to line their own pockets. The FTC says some scammers claimed to be calling on behalf of the government to verify information for a new Medicare card or Medicare-related package. In fact, it was a ruse to get people’s bank account information to make unauthorized withdrawals from their accounts.
You know you need to eat a variety of healthy foods every day to stay healthy. But you may wonder if that’s enough. Should you also be taking supplements? Which ones and how much? Are they safe? Do they work? Will they interact with your medications?
Where can you go to cut through the hype and get reliable information? The federal Office of Dietary Supplements is one excellent source.