September is National Preparedness Month and a good time to prepare your family, pets, and property for extreme weather situations. The FTC has information to help you prepare for, deal with, and recover from different aspects of a weather emergency.
Starting October 1, people will have new ways to buy health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. As opening day approaches, the media will no doubt carry more stories about the Health Insurance Marketplace, how to enroll, and where to get legitimate help. Now that’s the kind of news you can use.
One other piece of news that’s useful: federal and state agencies are working together to encourage consumers to report scammers who use the Health Insurance Marketplace as bait.
Yet another text message. Who’s this one from? Seriously? A debt collector?
Getting texts from debt collectors might be annoying, but it’s not illegal. What is illegal is an incomplete disclosure and a harassing or deceptive attempt to collect money. For example, it’s against the law for debt collectors to pretend to be attorneys or falsely threaten to sue you, regardless of how they communicate — through texts, through letters, or through phone calls.
Assistant Director, Division of Privacy & Identity Protection, FTC
To some scammers, older Americans are an attractive target — over a lifetime of saving, they may have built up a nest egg for retirement or equity in their home. Like Willie Sutton, scammers go where the money is. So banks and other financial institutions play a key role in protecting their customers from abuse and exploitation. Financial institutions are often in the best position to recognize suspicious activity relating to an account.
Attorney, Division of Consumer & Business Education, FTC
Whether you’re setting out on your own or teaching people about financial issues like making and saving money, using credit, or managing debt, it pays to have some everyday strategies.
Managing your finances takes time and effort—and can raise lots of questions. That’s why we’re hosting a Hispanic Heritage Month Twitter chat in Spanish this Thursday, September 26, at 1 p.m. Eastern/10 a.m. Pacific. FTC staff will be ready to take your questions – in Spanish.
With cold and flu season just around the corner, you might be considering ways to boost your immune system. Before you spend any money on a dietary supplement that claims it can prevent or treat the common cold, you might want to read up on two recent FTC cases.
Here’s a heads up: we’ve updated our kids’ guide on online safety, and we’re giving away copies… for free! We encourage you to order as many as you’d like. And here’s an idea: share the Heads Up publication with the kids in your life during National Cyber Security Awareness Month coming up in October.
What would you do if you thought your insurance benefits were on the line?
The FTC has charged AFD Medical Advisors in a telemarketing scheme that allegedly targeted older people and convinced them to pay $299 for a "YourRXCard" or "RXrelief' prescription benefit card that would supposedly give them big discounts on prescription drugs. According to the FTC, the company claimed it was affiliated with Medicare, Social Security, or legitimate insurance companies, and led people to believe they had to buy the cards to continue receiving their existing insurance benefits.