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Consumer Information Blog

Scammers reportedly using fake unemployment benefits websites as phishing lures

At a time when many people left jobless by the pandemic are struggling to get by, scammers reportedly are using websites that mimic government unemployment insurance (UI) benefits websites. These sites trick people into thinking they’re applying for UI benefits, and they wind up giving the scammers their personal information.

Indoor TV antenna? Make sure you know what you’re getting

Any TV set made since 2007 has a digital tuner that lets you watch over-the-air (OTA) channels for free, if you get an inexpensive indoor antenna. These channels usually include local broadcast channels, including high-definition or “HDTV” signals. But an OTA antenna won’t get you free “premium” channels, which you can only get from cable, satellite, or online content services. Don’t believe an OTA antenna ad that says it can.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Scams will follow new COVID-19 rescue plan

The pandemic is still taking a toll on every kind of well-being we have. The new American Rescue Plan, just signed into law, gets the ball rolling to help out on many people’s financial well-being. Payments will soon be coming by direct deposit, checks, or a debit card to people eligible for the payment. You can learn more about who’s eligible, and the timing, at IRS.gov/coronavirus. But let me tell you what will NOT happen, so you can spot and avoid the scammers who are right now crawling out from under their rocks.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

What to do if you’re billed for an SBA EIDL loan you don’t owe

Did you get a bill for a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan, but you didn’t apply for one? It’s likely that an identity thief applied for the loan using your personal or business information. The SBA has new guidance about reporting the fraud, and the FTC has tips to help you clear up any credit problems it may cause. 

Dishonest magazine companies target inmates

If someone you care about is in jail or prison, you might be thinking about getting them a magazine subscription. The FTC wants you to know that some magazine subscription companies might make promises they don’t keep — and you could wind up paying money for magazines that arrive late or never arrive.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Fake prize offers don’t pay

During National Consumer Protection Week, we'd like your help to reach people who may be cut off from social networks, and would like a friendly call. While you're catching up, share our tips about spotting and avoiding prize and lottery scams.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

When it’s not really the government calling

Lots of people are having trouble sleeping, thanks to the pandemic and all the parts of our lives it’s affecting. And it doesn’t help when you get a call saying you owe the government money. Oh, and, they add, you’ll go to jail if you don’t pay up immediately. That’s a scam, and nothing to lose sleep over. For those who are a little more cut off from people than usual, these calls might feel more real and worrying than they are. If you know someone might be cut off from others right now, reach out to them to make sure they know these calls are scams.  

MoneyGram fraud refunds get closer

If you used MoneyGram to send money to a scammer between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2017, you may get a prefilled claim form in the mail soon. To be eligible for a refund, you must fill out the form and mail it back within 90 days from the date on the form.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Fraudulent fundraiser uses illegal robocalls to harass consumers

In 2015, the FTC and state partners sued and shut down four sham charities that harassed millions of people with more than 1.3 billion illegal robocalls about donating to charity. The FTC and 46 charity state regulators from 38 states and the District of Columbia are holding the fundraisers that made those illegal calls accountable in a lawsuit announced today. 

The next time you get a call with a pre-recorded message from charity fundraisers, remember these tips:

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Caught in a bad romance

It’s day four of National Consumer Protection Week and we’ve been discussing ways we can look out for each other during the pandemic. Today’s topic – romance scams. Beyond the job losses and economic fallout of the pandemic, the loneliness and isolation brought on by our virtual lives has real consequences. This might explain why romance scams reached a record $304 million in losses reported to the FTC in 2020. That’s up about 50% from 2019.

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