Counsel, FTC's Division of Consumer and Business Education
School’s out and your kids have days overflowing with fun and free time. You might be at the amusement park concessions while they’re riding the SuperVomitron Adventure Ride. Or maybe they’re at the pool bellyflopping with friends. Whatever the kids are up to, many parents like being able to stay in constant contact by getting them a mobile phone. If so, it’s time to teach them to think about safety and responsibility when using it.
My grandma kept an eye out for cheaters. (No, not that kind.) Back in the day, if a salesman knocked on her front door, she waved them off. Before caller ID, she hung up on telemarketers. But a call from a phony debt collector? She might have fallen for that one. Especially if the debt collector said she was responsible for her grandchild’s debt.
In the largest FTC debt collection refund program to date, the FTC is returning nearly $4 million to people who were harassed by Asset & Capital Management Group, a debt collection business that used dozens of fake names.
It’s no secret that servicemembers and their families face particular challenges and stresses. Scam artists are skilled at knowing exactly how to exploit those challenges. They’ll lie or try any trickery to make a grab for a servicemember’s cash. That’s why the FTC has teamed up with the Department of Defense, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office of Servicemember Affairs, and Military Saves on Military Consumer — a campaign to empower military and veteran communities with tips and tools to be informed consumers.
With aging, stress and being just plain busy, you might sometimes feel like you’re forgetting more things than you used to. So when an ad suggests a pill can reverse 10 to 15 years of memory loss, you might be tempted to buy it.
You may want to rethink that — even if the ad includes supposed backing by scientists, statistics and satisfied customers.
It’s like a scene out of a strange sci-fi movie. You get a call, look at the caller ID, and see that your own number is calling. Weird! No, this isn’t an alternate reality where your future self is calling the present you. It’s a scammer making an illegal robocall.
Have you ever thought about having your very own solar system — that is, solar panel system? There are several ways to get solar power at home: you can buy a rooftop system, lease a system, or sign a power purchase agreement (PPA) to buy power a system produces. If you’re thinking of using solar power at home, consider the costs and benefits of the arrangements.
Associate Director, Division of Consumer & Business Education, FTC
At the FTC, one of our goals is to stop scammers and end their schemes. Sometimes, that requires persistence. Take the case announced today by the FTC and the Florida Attorney General against Lifewatch, Inc., a company that sells medical alert systems, mostly to older people.
Whether in a hotel or airport across the world, or in the coffee shop just down the street, chances are you’ve used free Wi-Fi hotspots. While convenient, they’re often unsecure. So how can you reduce your risk? Encryption — having your information scrambled into code — is key to staying secure online.
“The Federal Trade Commission works for America’s consumers in every community.” I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve said those words, or heard them from my colleagues – and that’s a good thing. Since fraud affects every community in our country, it bears repeating: the FTC works for your community.