Consumer Information Blog

Grandpa spots scammers

One of my favorite parts about working at the Federal Trade Commission is hearing stories of folks avoiding a scam. A recent story involves Lou, who picked up the phone and spotted the scam almost as soon as he heard the young man call him “Grandpa.” The caller said he’d been arrested for drunk driving, needed money for bail, and wanted Lou to call a “lawyer” who would explain everything. (All while not telling “Mom.”)

Launder payments for a scam. Get caught, too.

At the FTC, one lawsuit can lead to another. Two years ago, the FTC shut down Money Now Funding, a scam that promised people they would earn thousands to find and refer small businesses in need of a loan. Fast forward to the present, and the FTC is suing the people and payment processing businesses it says laundered more than $5 million in credit card charges that Money Now Funding collected from its victims.

Two people standing facing each other and talking

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Scammers impersonate the National Institutes of Health

Consumers are reporting another government imposter scam – this time the scammers are pretending to be calling from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). According to reports, callers are telling people they’ve been selected to receive a $14,000 grant from NIH. To get it, though, callers tell people to pay a fee through an iTunes or Green Dot card, or by giving their bank account number.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

A costly low-cost trial offer

You’ve probably seen online ads with offers to let you try a product – or a service – for a very low cost, or even for free. Sometimes they’re tempting: I mean, who doesn’t want whiter teeth for a dollar plus shipping? Until the great deal turns into a rip-off. That’s what the FTC says happened in a case it announced today.

The defendants sold tooth-whitening products under various names, and hired other companies to help them market the products. These affiliate marketers created online surveys, as well as ads for free or low-cost trials – all to drive people to the product’s website. What happens next is so complicated that we created an infographic to explain it.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

Want cosmetic contact lenses? Get an Rx!

You might want to think twice before buying cosmetic contact lenses – and the reason may surprise you.

What are cosmetic contacts? They’re contact lenses meant to change the way your eye looks, rather than correct your vision. Change can be a good thing – but you’re gonna need a prescription for it.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

Here’s a big reason to complain about unwanted calls

Tired of getting unwanted calls like illegal robocalls? We don’t even need to ask, right? Maybe you’ve wondered if filing a complaint actually makes a difference?

Your complaints are vital to the work we do (more on that in a minute). But today we’ve got another great reason to keep those complaints coming.

Planning to watch the eclipse? Read this first

On Monday, August 21, 2017, sky-gazers across the country will watch the solar eclipse. If you’re planning to watch, you’ll need to use eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewers. Be sure to get the kind that actually protects your eyes.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

Know your debt collection rights

Know someone who’s behind on their bills? Maybe debt collectors are calling for payment? Our new debt collection video can help you understand your legal rights – and may lower your stress level.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

At work on India-based imposter scams

Imposter scams like phony tech support scams and IRS impersonator calls continue to hit computers and phones across the country. And the scammers behind them continue to make it tough to track them down by masking their caller ID information and sending money through obscure and tangled routes. What we do know is that many of these scammers are based in India.

That’s why, at a recent FTC-led roundtable in Washington, DC, law enforcers, technologists, consumer advocates, and representatives from the Indian government and industry met to look at what more we can do to fight imposter scams. This event was the latest in a series of events in the U.S. and India.

Avoid international travel document scams

If you are planning a trip outside the US, you have probably been collecting tips on everything from great restaurants to comfortable walking shoes. Here is our contribution: when you search for information online, you may find official-looking websites that offer travel documents, information and services. But some official-looking sites are copycats — imposters — that can put your money and personal information at risk.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

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