Consumer Information Blog

When dead debt comes back to life

With Halloween almost here, we’ve got a question for you — are your zombie-fighting skills up to snuff?

We’re not talking about fighting just any zombie — this time your undead enemy is zombie debt.

Zombie debt is debt you think is dead, gone, and forgotten, but has somehow come back to life. Here are some tips for battling zombie debt when a collector resurrects it.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Copycat scammers and the visa lottery

Each year, the U.S. State Department holds a Diversity Visa (DV) lottery and millions of people from eligible countries enter their names. They hope to win a chance to apply for a U.S. visa and become legal permanent residents. The State Department runs the only legitimate site for the lottery: www.dvlottery.state.gov, and there’s no fee to enter. If you get an email or see a website that claims to be about the DV lottery, but asks you to send money, don’t click on a link or give up personal information.

Image of narrator of Diversity Visa Lottery video

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Don't forget the debt

When a loved one passes away, the last thing on your mind is hassling with debt collectors. But you may have the job of managing the deceased’s assets – and you could find yourself handling an estate that includes outstanding debts. Keep these considerations in mind.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Gamers: Avoid the phishing hook

Did you ever get an email that seemed legit, but it asked you to click a link or give up some personal information? Well, if you play massive multiplayer online games, be warned: phishers are looking for ways to get those emails into your inbox.

Take notice: How your credit history can affect your monthly bill

When you apply for things like cable or satellite TV, mobile phone service, or internet service, the company might review your credit report. They can use the information in your credit report to give you less favorable terms, meaning they can charge you more for the service than someone with a better credit history. That’s called risk-based pricing. The law says it’s OK as long as the company lets you know about it by sending you a Risk-Based Pricing Notice.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Fake kidnappers cause genuine loss

Phone scammers spend their days making trouble. They waste our time, tie up our phone lines and harass us with ugly language. Some do much, much worse. The FTC has heard from people who got calls from scammers saying, “I’ve kidnapped your relative,” and naming a brother, sister, child or parent. “Send ransom immediately by wire transfer or prepaid card,” they say, “or something bad will happen.”

They’re lying. They didn’t kidnap anyone, but they hope you’ll panic and rush to pay ransom before checking the story.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Your online life after death

OK, so I know you don’t really want to talk about this – but here goes: we’re all going to die someday. Maybe you’ve already started thinking ahead: planning for your funeral, the care of loved ones and disposal of your property. But what about your online life? All the digital files, photos, posts and other accounts you leave behind might cause a lot of inconvenience – even fraud or identity theft – for your loved ones to clean up. Here are a few tips to figure out a plan for your online life after death.

FTC & NCUA offer cyber security tips

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, so the FTC and the National Credit Union Administration are teaming up on a live Twitter chat to talk about tips to protect your information. During the chat, the FTC will share tips and tools from Consumer.FTC.gov and OnGuardOnline.gov. NCUA will share resources from MyCreditUnion.gov on how consumers can protect their finances.

Scam du jour: Chip card scams

Recently, I told you about the new credit and debit chip cards designed to reduce fraud, including counterfeiting. Now, I'm reporting on scammers who are trying to take advantage of the millions of consumers who haven't yet received a chip card.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

When post-disaster scams strike

It’s been a year of weather woes, with South Carolina being the latest victim – floods have swept across much of the state. You can be sure it’s only a matter of time before scammers come calling to wreak a different type of devastation.

Here are some ways to arm yourself against scammers who use weather emergencies to cheat people.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

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