Consumer Information Blog

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

Door-to-door sales and the FTC’s Cooling-Off Rule

Have you ever been invited to an in-home sales party and felt pressured to buy something? Well, if you regret your purchase, the FTC’s Cooling-Off Rule may be able to help. But time is of the essence.

The Rule gives you a 3-day right to cancel a sale made at someone’s home or workplace, or at a seller’s temporary location — like a hotel room, convention center, fairground or restaurant.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Scammer seeks assistant

Online scammers are recruiting. They’re looking for people to help them transfer money and stolen goods. Of course, they don’t come right out and say that’s what they want. Instead, they claim to offer work at home jobs or pretend to be your romantic partner and ask you for a ‘favor.’ The scammers’ goal: to use your bank account, personal information and address to help them steal money.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

What’s the deal with “Rachel from Card Services”? Your top 3 questions answered.

Rachel and her cohorts — Anne, Tiffany, Michael, Heather and others — from “Card Services” have been annoying people for years with their illegal robocalls. And the FTC is working hard to stop them — both bringing cases and hosting competitions to develop robocall-blocking technology. So, what’s the deal with these calls, and why won’t they stop? We’ve got answers to your top 3 questions.

FTC puts germ-free claims in a new light

Salmonella, E. Coli, H1N1, MRSA. Yuck. If you’re looking to kill some germs, there’s no shortage of products out there to help you do the job. But do all of the products work like their ads say they will?

In the case of Angel Sales and Zadro Health Solutions, two companies that claimed their ultraviolet (UV) light devices could kill nearly all viruses and bacteria, the FTC says there wasn’t enough proof.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

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