Are you a former student of DeVry University — or of any other college — who’s heard from a company that’s promising to get your loans forgiven after you pay them a fee?
We have an important piece of advice: don’t do it. It’s never a good idea to pay an up-front fee for the promise of debt relief. Once you pay, you might not get anything in return. And you might be paying for something you can do yourself for free.
It should be clear by now: if you make illegal robocalls to people on the Do Not Call list, you’re headed for trouble. Trouble — in the form of a Federal lawsuit — just found an operation that the FTC says bombarded people with more than 1.3 million robocalls pitching energy savings.
We hear first-hand stories from people around the country about how scammers are targeting people in every community. And while the techniques the scammers use may vary, there’s one thing these scams have in common: sometimes, the first step in avoiding a scam is talking about it with someone you trust.
Patience is a virtue. So is persistence. Three years ago, the FTC temporarily halted a sophisticated scheme run by Ideal Financial Solutions, Inc., a Nevada corporation, that defrauded millions of consumers out of tens of millions of dollars. Here’s how it worked: The defendants bought consumer payday loan applications, including Social Security numbers and bank account numbers, from data brokers and payday loan websites. Ideal Financial used the information to take money from consumers’ bank accounts — without their OK or even their knowledge. So the court froze the defendants’ assets and appointed a receiver to control the business while awaiting trial. Fast forward to March 2016.
Attorney, Division of Consumer & Business Education, FTC
The consumer movement, trust-busting, the women’s movement, and the work of the FTC have traveled parallel (and often intersecting) paths. Women’s History Month offers us a chance to consider the contribution women have made to the mission of the FTC and the unprecedented moment in women’s history we’re witnessing at the FTC today.
Sunday marks the start of the eighteenth annual National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW). It’s a time to learn about and share information to help people make more informed buying decisions and recognize, guard against, and report scams and fraud.
The more than 100 agencies and organizations involved in NCPW are on the front lines of consumer protection every day, and are committed to giving you the resources you need to navigate today’s marketplace.
To help you decide whether to get a new product, many marketers will let you try it “for free,” or “risk-free,” or “at no obligation.” Trouble is, some sellers lure you into these so-called “free” trials… and then keep billing you after the trial is over. Some even sign you up for other products or services you don’t want.
Here’s a quick video on how to protect yourself from the perils of so-called free trials. Because, sometimes, “free” can turn out to be quite expensive.
The FTC received more than 3 million complaints in 2015. That’s up from 2.5 million in 2014. Some of the increase can be attributed to the fact that more people know to complain to the FTC about bad business practices, frauds and scams. Technology helped, too — more complaints are reaching the FTC through the convenience of mobile apps. The top three complaint categories are still debt collection, identity theft, and imposter scams. The FTC took aggressive action in 2015 to help address each area and will continue to make each a high priority in 2016.
If you feel in over your head with debt, a company’s promise to lower your mortgage or student loan payment might seem like a lifeline. Unfortunately, dishonest companies promising debt relief can make a bad situation worse.
Today the FTC announced it filed charges against Good EBusiness for debt relief schemes that targeted people struggling to pay off mortgages and student loans. People paid thousands of dollars in fees, the FTC alleges, only to find themselves out the money with no relief in sight.