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Military Consumers and Sentinel: A deeper dive

Last week, we gave you an overview of the latest Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book. Today, let’s look a bit more closely at the data from military consumers. We got more than 113,000 reports from military consumers in 2017. Although not all of them gave details about their military status,more than 28,000 are servicemembers, their family members, and inactive Reserve or National Guard, and more than 78,000 are military retirees or veterans. Here are a few interesting take-aways.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

FTC continues to crack down on student loan scams

A lot of us have student loans – and some of us have trouble paying them every month. Some companies claim to resolve that issue by saying they can help you pay them down quicker, cheaper or get them forgiven altogether. Be cautious – some of these companies are running scams.

Here are some tips to avoid student loan repayment scams:

New Medicare cards coming soon

New Medicare cards are coming soon. Here’s what you need to know about your new card. Plus, how to avoid related scams.

Welcome to National Consumer Protection Week 2018

As the nation’s consumer protection agency, the FTC stands up for consumer rights. Every day, we work to shut down scammers and protect consumers everywhere. But we care just as much about empowering you. That’s why National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), now in its 20th year, is so important. We hope you’ll join us to spread the word about consumer protection in your community. Read on to find out what you can do – and how we can help.

The top frauds of 2017

The numbers are in, the counts have been made, and today the FTC announced what we heard from you during 2017. Here are some highlights:

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Tips for using peer-to-peer payment systems and apps

Online peer-to-peer, or P2P, payment systems let you send money to people quickly. I’ve used them to collect money from the parents on my daughter’s soccer team and to send money to my brothers when we’ve bought a gift for a friend. Personally, I almost always know where my phone is, but I can’t say the same for my checkbook.

The use of these services is a growing trend—I just read an article that estimates there will be more than $700 billion in peer-to-peer payments in the U.S. in 2018. There are several mobile peer-to-peer apps out there already and banks are also getting into the game. If you use a peer-to-peer payment system, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Plan to tune in: #NCPW2018 Facebook Live chats

During National Consumer Protection Week 2018, March 4-10, the FTC will co-host four Facebook Live chats (including one in Spanish) with other federal partners. Tune in to find out how to avoid frauds and scams, including imposter scams, and what you can do about identity theft.

Cancer patients: don’t make your side effects worse

If your friend or loved one has cancer, you may have searched online for products to help them manage side effects from treatment. Unfortunately, some products you find online don’t live up to the promises in their sales pitches. Learn about evaluating the claims you see when you shop for health-related products.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

Phishers send fake invoices

We’ve recently heard that scammers are recycling an old phishing attempt. In this version, scammers, posing as a well-known tech company, email a phony invoice showing that you’ve recently bought music or apps from them. The email tells you to click on a link if you did not authorize the purchase. Stop – do not click on the link. That’s the new twist on an old scam.

Shopping for a VPN app? Read this.

You probably know by now that using your mobile device on the public Wi-Fi network of your local coffee shop or airport poses some risk. Public networks are not very secure – or, well, private – which makes it easy for others to intercept your data. So, what can you do to keep your mobile data private and secure while out and about? Some consumers have started using Virtual Private Network (VPN) apps to shield the information on their mobile devices from prying eyes on public networks. Before you download a VPN app, you should know that there are benefits and risks.