Consumer Information Blog

Identity theft target turns the tables

I admit it; when my email inbox is full, my eyes may drift past some messages. But my co-worker’s story has motivated me to pay better attention. She noticed an odd email her husband got and looked into it. It turned out that someone had stolen his personal information and used it to buy things.

Image of IdentityTheft.gov home page

Buying contacts? You should see a prescription first

The FTC’s Contact Lens Rule makes it easier to comparison shop – which can help you save money. You see (no pun, intended), the Rule gives you the right to get your prescription from your eye doctor – whether you ask for it or not – at no extra charge. You can use the prescription to buy contacts wherever they are sold – from an eye doctor, from a store, or online. Cost and quality can vary a lot from seller to seller, so it pays to shop around for the best deal.

Your eye doctor must give you your contact lens prescription after your fitting. It’s the law

Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

The FTC’s best of 2015

Here at the FTC, we spend most of our time working to protect your consumer rights and promote fair competition among companies. We conduct investigations, bring cases, give people tips and advice, help businesses comply with the law, and advocate for consumer-friendly policies around the world.

Every once in a while, we take a moment to measure our impact and consider what we’ve accomplished. That lets us explain our approach to people and companies that want to know, and helps us plan for the future.

In that spirit, today we released the FTC’s Annual Highlights for 2015.

Image of FTC's Annual highlights

Official-sounding calls about an email hack

There’s a new twist on tech-support scams — you know, the one where crooks try to get access to your computer or sensitive information by offering to “fix” a computer problem that doesn’t actually exist. Lately, we’ve heard reports that people are getting calls from someone claiming to be from the Global Privacy Enforcement Network. Their claim? That your email account has been hacked and is sending fraudulent messages. They say they’ll have to take legal action against you, unless you let them fix the problem right away.

21st Century Oncology breach exposes patients’ info

Have you received a letter from 21st Century Oncology warning that your personal information was exposed? 21st Century Oncology is a medical company. Many of the doctors who work with it practice under their own names or the names of medical groups. Some treat patients who are not cancer patients.

The company recently announced that a cyber intruder broke into a company database containing information about more than 2.2 million past and present patients, including patients’ names, Social Security numbers, physicians’ names, diagnoses, and treatment and insurance information.

The company recently sent patients letters about the breach that included an offer of one year of free credit protection services. Here are some things to know if you got a letter.

Closing time for fake debt collector

It’s fine to play “let’s pretend” when you’re young; you can be an astronaut today and an inventor tomorrow. But grown-ups who pretend to be debt collectors and lie to get peoples’ money are headed for trouble. At the request of the FTC and the Illinois Attorney General, a federal court has shut down a network of businesses and operators that falsely claimed to be debt collectors collecting real payday loan debts.

Person standing next to the word DEBT

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

FTC and states wrap up largest charity enforcement action ever

Last May, we told you that the FTC, along with all 50 states and the District of Columbia, announced a complaint against four sham charities. Children’s Cancer Fund of America and the Breast Cancer Society agreed to shut down, but Cancer Fund of America (CFA) and Cancer Support Services (CSS) refused – until now.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

FTC sues VW over false clean diesel claims

Being green isn’t always easy. So when Volkswagen (VW) said it developed technology that greatly reduces emissions of harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx) in its TDI “Clean Diesel” vehicles, environmentally-conscious consumers responded favorably, and sales of TDI vehicles in the U.S. increased substantially. The FTC is challenging a number of claims VW made about its diesel engine automobiles.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Identity theft protection – you can do it!

You’ve probably seen ads offering “identity protection” services. In fact, nobody can guarantee you won’t experience identity theft. Those services offer identity monitoring and repair — things you can do yourself, for free.

If you’re open to being a do-it-yourselfer, here are some free and low-cost alternatives to buying identity theft protection services.

Shopping for energy

As you turn on the A.C. this spring, saving money on utilities might come to mind. Some states let you choose your energy supplier for electricity or natural gas. Maybe you're getting offers from companies, asking you to switch from your local utility company. Before you make a move, here are some questions to ask.   

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

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