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.
Okay. FTC videos may not have a star-studded array of Hollywood actors, but they are entertaining. What’s more, they offer practical, useful, and memorable messages that can save you money, time, and aggravation.
Many of us don’t think twice about our home wireless router after setting it up. And it might be tempting to rush through the set-up process. Here’s why you should pay close attention while setting up your router, and afterwards.
You never got your high school diploma, but realize now is the right time. You find a high school diploma program, work hard studying and taking exams, and finally, get a diploma. Or so you think. When you go to enroll in college, you find out the diploma you got from the program that advertised “real” high school diplomas isn’t accepted. Which means your diploma doesn’t count.
According to the FTC, that’s what happened to people who enrolled in Stratford Career Institute’s online distance education school.
Robocalls can be more annoying than a lingering head cold. Recently, some people got robocalls that seemed to be about health insurance and the Health Insurance Marketplace, but the calls were a con. The callers were phishing for personal information. People who work in the Marketplace don’t make cold calls, and they never ask for personal information. If you get a call like this, hang up.
Assistant Director, Division of Financial Practices, FTC
Making a plan is one thing. Sticking to it: quite another. During 2015, the FTC made a plan to address some new and troubling issues in debt collection. Throughout the course of the year, we stuck to that plan – bringing a record number of new cases, banning bad debt collectors, talking with industry, and finding new ways to do outreach.
We’re hearing from our colleagues that those pesky government imposters are at it again, using the FTC’s name to try to con people into paying them for something. Whether it’s to clean up your credit report, give you a prize, resolve a complaint against you, or pay off a debt you owe, they’re all lies. The message may be a call or an email, but it isn’t from the Federal Trade Commission, or any other federal agency.