Acting Assistant Director, Division of Consumer and Business Education
Once upon a time, a long time ago, a company called Lane Labs marketed products made out of shark cartilage, claiming they could treat and cure cancer. Only, not so much. The FTC sued the company in 2000, they settled, and paid a hefty sum. The court also barred them from making claims about the health benefits of a product unless they had scientific evidence to support those claims.
Here at the FTC, we think about scams all day long. What are the scammers’ new angles? How can we keep ahead of them? We hear from people about the scams they see, and we turn that into tips people use to spot and avoid scams.
But scammers find FTC staff, just as they find the rest of America. In fact, someone claiming to work for the IRS called my house just last week.
Counsel, FTC's Division of Consumer & Business Education
You’ve seen the attention-grabbing ads. Get DIRECTV’s satellite TV packages for as little as $19.99 a month for a year! Throw in HBO and Showtime – “free for 3 months.” It’s enough to make you “ditch cable now” and head straight into orbit with satellite TV. But before you pop the corn and head to the couch, listen to this. The FTC says DIRECTV didn’t give consumers the whole scoop and their viewers got stuck with charges they didn’t know about or approve.
I don’t know about you, but I’m about ready to say “uncle” to Old Man Winter. This year’s record-breaking snowfalls, downed trees, roof collapses, mudslides, flooding and frozen pipes are leaving overwhelming clean-up and recovery in their wake. If you’re thinking about hiring someone to help you dig out, keep these tips in mind.
The email says it’s a court notice from the Bureau of Defaulters Agency-FTC with your arrest warrant record attached. It says you’ve ignored their efforts to contact you, so now your Social Security Number is on hold by the federal government, you’ll be prosecuted for fraud, and you’ll owe all kinds of money when you’re found guilty. You’ve got just 24 hours to respond.
It’s not true. There is no Bureau of Defaulters, and the FTC doesn’t send emails like this to people.
We all know that robocalls can be annoying. They can also be illegal. It’s against the rules for companies to try to sell you something under the guise of a political or charity-related robocall. But we’ve found that not everyone plays by the rules.