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Free cruise? Try illegal robocall with an upsell.

The recorded message made it sound easy — take a phone survey and get two free tickets to go on a cruise. But, you guessed it, it wasn’t that simple. The call was an illegal robocall. And those free tickets came with a catch.

Today the FTC announced charges against the operators of a “free cruise” telemarketing scheme that made millions of illegal robocalls and dialed numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry. The callers also faked caller ID information so it looked like the call was coming from a local number.

Protecting small business from imposters

Opening a business requires planning, elbow grease, and probably some paperwork to register your new company with your state or local government. And that’s where some not-so-honest outfits may try to confuse you into thinking they’re from the government and that you need to pay money to complete your registration. Their mailings look like an official bill for documents to complete your registration – and may even include what looks like a government seal. To convince you it’s legit, the mailer may include your business identification number. To get you to pay, the mailer claims that you need to hurry up and pay or you could be in legal hot water.

But here’s the thing: the people behind the mailers are not from the government and you probably don’t need the paperwork they’re talking about, at least not to complete your registration. At best, you’ll get overcharged. At worst, they could be scammers who steal your money or account information. What can you do to steer clear of these schemes?

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Would you rather save $5,000 or lose 5 pounds?

If you picked the money, you’re not alone. As we start 2020, many of us are making financial resolutions. Of course, saving more or paying down debt sounds great, but getting started can feel overwhelming. Don’t worry – the FTC has five ideas for things you can do to start the new year off right.

Mind your work-at-home business

Starting a work-at-home business can give you the flexibility to set your own hours and be your own boss. But when you search online or get ads by email, you’ll often find scammers instead of a real opportunity.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

Getting bombarded by scam calls? You’re not alone.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) scam is the number one scam reported to the FTC right now.

As soon as a caller threatens you, or demands you pay them with a gift card or by wiring money, it’s a scam. Even if the caller ID tells you otherwise.

Car wrap scam targets college students

If you have a car, you know how expensive the upkeep can be. Gas, maintenance, parking – the whole lot. So what if a company offered to pay you to drive around – which you were already doing – with their branding wrapped onto your car? It could sound like a good deal.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Tips for holiday gift card shopping

Gift cards are one quick way to get through your last-minute holiday shopping list. But before you give (and get) gift cards, here are a few things you need to know.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

FTC settlement against University of Phoenix

Most people go to college to earn a degree and get a good job. In a competitive job market, it helps to have connections. So when a college or university claims it has relationships with well-known employers, that may convince you to attend. But beware: Claims like this may be a ploy to attract new students — and your tuition dollars. In fact, the FTC says that’s just what one for-profit university did as part of an extensive advertising campaign.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

What to ask before buying internet-connected toys

What’s on your holiday wish list? Perhaps a smart speaker for your kids’ bedroom, or a cuddly cool internet-connected smart toy to help them learn? Before you give one of these connected toys, read this handy list of questions. They can help you know what to look out for with an internet-connected smart toy, and how to protect your kids’ data.

Supplements for joint pain: don’t believe the hype

If you experience joint pain when you walk or move, promises for a quick and inexpensive cure can be hard to resist. But don’t believe the hype. And don’t assume the people you see in the ads are real.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

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