Consumer Information Blog

Identity theft… by mobile phone

Identity theft can happen to you – and your mobile phone. It has even happened to the FTC’s Chief Technologist, Lorrie Cranor, and other FTC colleagues.

How does it happen? You might get a bill for a new mobile phone that you didn’t order. The thief used your personal information to open a new account. Or maybe your phone stops working entirely because a thief used your information to upgrade to a new phone and then shut off the phone you’re using.      

What can you do to reduce the risk of mobile phone identity theft?

Fake friends, fake news, phony weight-loss promises

An email from a friend urges you to try new weight-loss pills. There’s a link to an article about a celebrity’s amazing results with the pills, and the article’s author says he even tried this miracle product himself.

With all these trusted sources, why wouldn’t you give it a try?

Silver and golden opportunities?

You may have seen TV ads that claim buying gold is an easy way to earn easy profits, or build a safe retirement investment. While buying gold might help diversify your investment portfolio, is it always a good way to build your retirement? Or might it be an investment scheme disguised as a golden opportunity?

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

How to avoid imposters: 4 videos you need to see

A person pretends to be someone you trust and tries to convince you to send them money. They’re called imposter scams, and scammers use all kinds of angles to make their stories sound believable. If you — or your friends and family — haven’t been targeted by one yet, it’s almost certain you will be.

Learn how to fight fraud – at your library!

Book lovers flock to their local library to pick up a favorite classic or the latest bestseller. But today library visitors also want and need a whole lot more. In addition to providing traditional services, librarians help diverse groups of people navigate a complicated world, including how to avoid scams.

As for scams, there’s one thing we know for sure: we’re all consumers – and we’re all targets for fraud. Scammers are good at what they do. They’re professionals who know how to create confusion and prey on emotions to throw people off-balance just long enough to take advantage. Our job is to give people a heads-up so that maybe they don’t get knocked off balance and they don’t get ripped off.

 

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Student debt relief schemes targeted by FTC

Do you have a lot of student debt? Wish it would disappear? You’re not alone. Scammers know that people are struggling with debt. They’re targeting borrowers with phony student loan debt relief schemes that can make things worse.

Today the FTC and the State of Florida announced lawsuits against two student loan debt relief schemes — Consumer Assistance Project and Student Aid Center. The FTC also announced a settlement in a case we wrote about earlier this year.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

FTC bans hundreds of mortgage assistance and debt relief operations

On the heels of the FTC’s List of Banned Debt Collectors comes the sequel: The FTC’s List of Banned Mortgage Relief and Debt Relief Companies and People. Why would someone be banned? Well, here’s the story.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Federal student tax? No such thing.

Imposters posing as IRS agents are trying to trick college students into paying a “federal student tax” – a tax that doesn’t even exist.

Before you get on the brain train…

What if you could substantially improve your school grades, standardized test scores, athletic performance, and future earning abilities? You might be interested, right?

That’s just what ads from LearningRx Franchise Corporation, the company that runs a network of more than 80 learning centers, promised its “brain training” programs could do. Some ads went further, claiming the programs are clinically proven to help permanently overcome the symptoms of ADHD, autism, age-related cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, strokes, and traumatic brain injuries. Customers often spent thousands of dollars for the company’s programs, which could take months to complete.

But before you get on the brain train, know this: These claims are unproven, according to an FTC complaint. Learning Rx has agreed to settle the FTC's charges.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

Privacy in your hands

Do you know how to keep your personal and financial information safe? Or what to do if a scammer misuses your information? Now is a great time to find out. May 16-20, 2016 is Privacy Awareness Week, an initiative of the Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities Forum. The Forum lets privacy agencies in the region share information about privacy practices and rules.

This year’s theme is Privacy in Your Hands, and focuses on practical steps you can take to help keep your information private and safe year-round.

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