Starting a small business is a big deal. That’s why people might consider getting a business coach to help. But what if the coach doesn’t help, but actually hurts your interests? Unfortunately, that’s what happened to thousands of people who wanted to start home-based internet businesses.
Consumer News from FTC.gov
Moving can be daunting, but for millions of Americans, the biggest relocation challenge might be related to their jobs: getting a professional license in a new state. The obstacles aren’t just paperwork and fees. Licensing requirements often vary from state to state so you might have to take additional courses or get specialized on-the-job experience – even if you’ve been working in the same profession for years.
Have you gotten a call, a letter, an email, or a text message about a debt that sounds fishy? Don’t take the bait, because “phantom” debt collectors try to pressure people into paying debts they don’t really owe. In its effort to crack down on phantom debt collectors, the FTC has charged a North Carolina operation with collecting over $30,000 in fake debts, despite consumer complaints that the debts weren’t real.
The FTC has been cracking down on deceptive tech support operations that call or send pop-ups to make people think their computers are infected with viruses. Recently, a woman who lost money to one of the defendant’s in the FTC cases got a call from someone who claimed to be with a company the FTC sued. (It was a lie. In reality, the company has closed.)
Skimmers are illegal card readers attached to payment terminals — like gas pumps — that grab data off a credit or debit card’s magnetic stripe without your knowledge. Criminals sell the stolen data or use it to buy things online. You won’t know your information has been stolen until you get your statement or an overdraft notice. Here are tips to help you avoid a skimmer when you gas up.
Some people have gotten an email that claims to be from Maureen Ohlhausen, the FTC’s Acting Chairman. But it’s not. The email asks you to give your bank account information – so, it says, you can get money from the government’s settlement with Western Union. The email is a scam to steal your financial information.
Before you head to the eye doctor, take 30 seconds to watch a new video from the FTC about your eyewear prescription rights.
If you feel smothered by your monthly bills, a call from someone who says they can reduce or eliminate your debts might sound like the answer to your problems. But in many cases, unscrupulous people are behind these calls. They don’t have any intention of helping you, but are very interested in taking your money. How can you tell if you’re dealing with a debt relief scammer? Because they ask you to pay them before they do anything for you.
That’s what the FTC and the Florida Attorney General said happened in a massive debt relief scam they were able to stop last month. The defendants told people they would pay, settle, or get rid of their debts. But they didn’t.
Three years ago, the FTC created its first fotonovela – a graphic novel to help Spanish-speakers spot and stop frauds targeting Latino communities. To date, we’ve published seven fotonovelas on topics from notario fraud to government imposters. They’ve been very popular – almost a million copies have flown off our shelves – and today we are announcing our newest fotonovela, La familia Rivera evita las estafas de telemercadeo (The Rivera Family Avoids a Telemarketing Scam).
Do you know somebody who had a NetSpend debit card but had trouble activating it? If so, this blog post is for you. NetSpend Corporation is providing refunds to settle FTC charges that people couldn’t get access to the money they’d put into their NetSpend account.
If you think you’re losing your hearing, consider seeing a doctor or other health professional who specializes in hearing loss. If a hearing aid is right for you, it’s a good idea to do some research. A hearing aid can be expensive. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
Score one for people on the Do Not Call list. Earlier this week, the Court imposed a record-setting $280 million civil penalty against Dish for calls to people on the Do Not Call list, abandoned calls, calls to people who had told Dish they did not want to receive calls, and for assisting and facilitating telemarketers who engaged in practices in violation of the Telemarketing Sales Rule.
Identity theft can happen to anyone. I’m a fraud investigator, and I’d like to tell you about my identity theft. Knowing how to respond will help you if you ever have to recover your identity.
Our new fotonovela, Talking about Scams, tells the story of Eva and her husband, Pablo, who learn how talking about a scam can help someone avoid falling for a scam.
You might have seen ads for companies that say they can reduce your debt – sometimes for cents on the dollar. All you have to do is pay them. But these offers are not always what they seem.
On June 8, @MilConsumer and @StopFraudCo (the Stop Fraud campaign of the Colorado Attorney General’s Office) will host a chat to discuss avoiding travel and vacation scams.
Over the years, lots of rip-offs have been built around exotic “investment” strategies that were pitched as simple. Recently, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission ssued warnings about investment scams using “binary options” as a hook.
Not familiar with binary options? Then you’re probably better off keeping your money in your pocket. In fact, you can stop reading now, unless you’re fascinated by financial products with poor performance records and a tendency to attract scammers.
When shopping for a big-ticket item, you probably do some research. Whether talking to friends, perusing a store, or checking online reviews, you want to get the most for your money. You might even look for reviews or certifications from independent review organizations to help make your decision.
What if you found out that some of those “independent” review organizations were actually owned by the company whose products they were promoting? That’s just the case with a recent FTC settlement announced today [link to PR] involving the owners of several trampoline companies. The problem? The owners also ran several trampoline review websites that claimed to be independent organizations and featured product reviews supposedly written by impartial experts. The truth is, the owners were running these websites, writing the reviews, and using them to promote their own products.
The FTC will mail more than $1.9 million in refund checks to people who bought Pure Health and Genesis Today green coffee bean extract supplements from stores including Walmart. More than 38,500 people will get back 100% of the money they paid for the products.
Amazon will make up to $70 million in refunds available to customers who were charged for unauthorized in-app purchases made by a child. You may be eligible for a refund from Amazon if you were billed for unauthorized charges made by a child, and the charges were for in-app purchases made between November 2011 and May 2016.