Office of Technology Research and Investigation, FTC
If you shop online — and who doesn’t? — you might notice that some websites let you pay with bitcoins. Virtual or crypto currencies like Bitcoin can be a fast way to pay online, or in person with a mobile app.
But using virtual currencies comes with risk. Their value goes up and down — sometimes sharply — depending on demand. In addition, payments made with virtual currencies aren’t reversible and don’t have the same legal protections as some traditional payment methods. Once you hit send, you can’t get your money back unless the seller agrees. That’s why it’s important to know who you’re buying from and what policies they have regarding refunds, returns, and disputes.
You see the ads on TV, in the newspaper, and online. They push the benefits of a reverse mortgage for homeowners over 62: pay off your existing mortgage, supplement your income, pay for healthcare expenses, and more. But is a reverse mortgage right for you? That depends. While a reverse mortgage may increase your monthly income, it can put your retirement security at risk if you’re not careful.
Recent storms and flooding plaguing the Midwest and Southeast could impact car buyers across the country. Vehicles damaged by floods in those area can be cleaned up and taken out of state for sale. You might not know a vehicle is damaged until you take a closer look or have a mechanic check it out.
Assistant Director, Consumer and Business Education, FTC
You might like your financial advisor to predict the future in ways that could help you get rich. But legitimate advisors won’t promise to know what comes next – and you shouldn’t invest with anyone who guarantees you riches. It’s kind of a rule of thumb about investing: there are no guarantees, and anyone who promises you big money is likely running a scam.
Attorney, Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC
Earn rewards for supporting a project you believe in? That’s what “crowdfunding” is all about.
Here’s how it works: “Creators” think of projects. To pay for those projects, they ask for small amounts of money from lots of people, usually through online platforms like Kickstarter or Indiegogo. Often, creators offer rewards to contributors. So far, so good … as long as the creators keep their end of the bargain.
I’m a fan of Tim Allen’s role as an accident-prone handyman on the 90’s hit TV comedy, Home Improvement. But in reality, hiring a good contractor isn’t something you just fall into. It helps to know the signs of a home improvement scam.
If you’re looking for Section 8 housing assistance, here’s something you need to know: scammers have made websites that look like registration sites for Section 8 waiting list lotteries. If you pay a fee or give your personal information, the scammers will take it. And you still won’t be on a real Section 8 waiting list. In fact, there is no fee to register for a Section 8 waiting list.
Attorney, FTC Division of Consumer and Business Education
A data breach at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) – and you’re a current or former federal employee whose personal information may have been exposed. What should you do? Take a deep breath. Here are the steps to take.