Consumer Information Blog

Scam-spotting help for recent refugees

People who’ve recently arrived in the US have a lot of adjustments to make. For many refugees and immigrants, and some of the social services groups who help them, the basics come first: figuring out language, food, shelter, and work. Understanding how to avoid fraud isn’t high on the list – until a scam finds a recent arrival.

That’s why the FTC has created new materials to help refugees and immigrants spot, avoid and report scams. We worked closely with the International Rescue Committee to create a short handbook to help anyone identify a sure sign of a scam.

Can a video game app improve your vision? Let’s see…

My mom always told me that my vision would get worse from sitting too close to a screen and playing video games — not better. But according to the FTC, Carrot Neurotechnology said you could improve your vision by buying and playing its $9.99 Ultimeyes video game app. People bought the app because they believed it would help them see better, but in a case announced today, the FTC says there isn’t enough scientific proof that the app will work.

Image from Ultimeyes advertisement

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

Their “debt” collection days are over

Calling people and pushing them to pay debts they don’t really owe?

Posing as law enforcement and fake government agencies like the “Federal Crime Unit of the Department of Justice”?

Threatening to sue or arrest people — or tell their family and employers about a debt?

Reciting people’s Social Security and bank account numbers to seem legit?

Yup, this fake debt collection scheme did it all, illegally collecting more than $5.2 million in fake payday loan debts.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Does green label = green product? It should.

How do you decide which products to buy? Price tags, product labels and ads likely play a part in your choice. They tell you about ingredients, how much product you get for the price, and whether a product has qualities that matter to you — like being environmentally safer.

Blog Topics: 
Homes & Mortgages

Tick-tock goes the clock on old debts

Here’s a fun way to think about a tricky topic. You know the scene in Lewis Caroll’s Alice in Wonderland when the white rabbit hops off saying “I’m late! I’m late! For a very important date!”? Imagine the rabbit is a debt collector. The important date? It’s his last chance to legally make you pay money you owe. Why he’s late? The debt collector has run out of time to sue you for an old and unpaid, or time-barred, debt. For more, follow me down the rabbit hole...

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Revenge of the nannies

Are you a nanny or caregiver who lists your services on sites like care.com, sittercity.com, or craigslist.com? A few months ago, we warned about a scam that targets caregivers like you. Here’s a reminder: a con artist emails or texts an offer to hire you. The scammer also sends you a check and asks you to deposit it, keep some money for your services, and send the rest to someone else to — supposedly — pay for special items or medical equipment. But the check is fake, and it can take weeks for a bank to discover the forgery. If you deposit the check and withdraw the funds, you’ll wind up owing the bank all that money.

How to write an effective complaint letter

Having a problem with a product or service can be frustrating. When you’re trying to resolve a problem with a company, the first step should be to discuss your concerns with a representative of the business. If a phone call or email doesn’t resolve the problem, consider writing a complaint letter. Use this sample letter and these tips to write an effective complaint.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

FTC: Video reviews of Xbox One were deceptive

It’s no surprise that gamers excited about the release of a new gaming console would go online to see what people are saying about it. But they might be surprised to learn that some people who posted video reviews were paid to say positive things—and didn’t disclose that. That’s what the FTC says happened in the days leading up to the launch of Microsoft’s Xbox One, according to a complaint filed today by the agency.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Are they your battle buddy – or just unbelievable?

If you serve – or have served – in the military, chances are you feel a pretty tight bond with your brothers- and sisters-in-arms. If you share a common experience with someone, it only makes sense that you trust them, want to associate with them, or even do business with them.

But here’s something to bear in mind: scammers count on your trust in fellow servicemembers – and use it against you. A con artist might have actual service experience or they might be lying about it. Either way, they’re highly skilled at exploiting a military connection to get in good with you. Once they have your trust, they use it to deflect any questions and to throw you off track while they cheat you. It’s known as affinity fraud – when someone uses their membership in a group to scam another member. It could be someone claiming you can trust them because of the shared experience of serving in the military.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Spotting an illegal pyramid scheme 101

Your social media feed is abuzz with stories of people making serious money selling an energy drink. Not one to miss out an opportunity, you do a quick search and come across a viral video. The guy making the pitch insists you can make thousands of dollars a month. “Forget working 9 to 5. Join the Young People Revolution!” he says. You think to yourself, “I’m young people! And I can totally get on board with a revolution.”

Slow your roll, my friend. Before you shell out a wad of cash and start making pitches to your friends, you should know that the FTC just filed a complaint against the company behind the pitch.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

Pages