Consumer Information Blog

The stuff of schemes

You’ve heard of the “right stuff” — the mix of bravery and brass that author Tom Wolfe told us powered the nation’s first astronauts to conquer space. Well, here’s the wrong stuff — a work-at-home envelope-stuffing scheme that bilked more than 50,000 people out of over $7 million.

In a case announced today, the FTC charged that convicted felon David Brookman and his companies falsely promised that people could earn $5,000 a week by stuffing envelopes with flyers and mailing them.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money

Deceptive car ads give consumers a bum steer

Sign & Drive Leases: ZERO DOWN!!!!!! ALL LEASES ARE Zip, Zero, Zilch — Nothing Down

Sound appealing? That’s exactly what some people around Massillon, Ohio thought when they read those claims in full-page newspaper ads from two local car dealers. But the FTC says ads for Progressive Chevrolet and Progressive Motors didn’t properly disclose restrictions on the offer.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Tips for Cyber Monday success

Each year, Cyber Monday promises unbelievable savings – but before you start snagging deals, here are some tips to help you save money and protect your personal information.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

The FTC’s top 10 holiday shopping tips

Whether you’re shopping by phone, mail or online this holiday season, here are a few tips to help you shop wisely and save a few bucks, too.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Is your information being used for job-related ID theft?

Has your Social Security Number gone to work without you? If someone has used your SSN to get a job, that’s identity theft.

You may be able to discover the identity theft before the IRS sends you a tax bill for income that never passed through your pockets. MyE-Verify, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) website, also available in Spanish, is part of E-Verify. DHS created E-Verify to help employers check government records to make sure their employees can work legally in the U.S. MyE-Verify lets you see all the employers that checked your records using E-Verify. If you see an employer you don’t know, it may mean that an identity thief is at work.

Hundreds of millions say “Do Not Call”

In Hollywood, you get glitz and glamour when you make it to the “A” list. Here in Washington, I prefer the peace and quiet I get from being on the national Do Not Call list. I’m in good company, too. As of October 1, 2015, the Do Not Call list includes more than 222 million numbers.

Do Not Call Audio Tip

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

How not to pay a telemarketer

You get a call from a telemarketer selling a fancy new product, and after talking, you decide you want to buy it. That’s when he asks you to wire money for payment, specifying cash pickup. Do you do it?

The answer: No way. Don’t send the money. If you wire money, you can’t get it back. And, thanks to recent changes to the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule — aka the TSR — it’s just plain illegal.

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

A sensitive subject

If you have a friend or family member dealing with opiate addiction or dependence, you know it’s a sensitive subject. And you want to be supportive if your loved one is trying to overcome addiction to heroin or another opiate.

You may have seen various opiate withdrawal or detox supplements on the market — made with vitamins, minerals, and herbs — that promise fast and easy results and a path to becoming drug-free. But before you recommend them to a loved one, you should know that dietary supplements and herbal remedies have not been proven to work for successful opiate withdrawal.

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

Have you taken a dietary supplement? Read this.

There are lots of reasons you might take a dietary supplement — to feel healthy, to feel younger, to manage pain, or just to get more nutrients. But while some supplements have proven benefits, some may not work the way their ads claim, and others might be downright dangerous for your health. Yes, even the ones that claim to be “all-natural.”

Today, the FTC along with other federal agencies announced a joint sweep of actions against companies that have misled people about the safety, effectiveness, or contents of their dietary supplements. Specifically, the FTC brought cases against marketers who didn’t have scientific proof that their supplements worked.

dietary supplements image

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

Secret Sister Gift Exchange – Don’t pay or yule be sorry

Have you already decked your halls in lights, timed to blink to the strains of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer? Even if you haven’t reached that level of early enthusiasm, the holiday spirit is starting to spread already. If you spend any time on social media, you may have seen posts about the Secret Sister Gift Exchange.

SSGE encourages you to mail a gift worth $10 dollars to a stranger at the top of the list. Supposedly, in return, you’ll get a pile of presents from other participants. SSGE and come-ons like it encourage you to hop on board an enticing cash- or gift-giving experience. Sounds like a good time, right? Sorry, Blitzen, stop that sleigh!

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

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