Consumer News from FTC.gov
You probably read customer reviews to learn what people say about their experiences with a business or product. The Consumer Review Fairness Act (CRFA) protects people’s ability to share their truthful experiences and opinions. The FTC enforces the CRFA, and recently sued three businesses (and two of their owners) for violating that law.
A while back, we warned you about the “one ring” scam. That’s when you get a phone call from a number you don’t know, and the call stops after just one ring. The scammer is hoping you’ll call back, because it’s really an international toll number and will appear as a charge on your phone bill — with most of the money going to the scammer. Well, the scam is back with a vengeance, and the FCC just issued a new advisory about it. Read the FCC’s advisory for more detail, but the advice from both agencies remains the same if you get one of these calls:
Parents be warned: some dating apps – like FastMeet, Meet24 and Meet4U – allow adults to find and communicate with children. Concerned parents should remove these apps if they’re on children’s devices. You also can set your kids’ devices so they must get parental approval before purchasing any new apps. Here are a few more things you should know.
Crowdfunding is one way to support a project you believe in and get rewards for that support. But the project you’re backing is only as good as the people behind it. Some dishonest people can take your money but produce nothing – no product, no project, and no reward.
The popularity of video streaming services has taken off in the past few years. It’s become easier to stream video through smart TVs, streaming boxes that connect to your not-so-smart TV, and even streaming sticks. These devices let you stream video through popular apps like Hulu, Netflix, SlingTV, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube TV. Unfortunately, there are other apps that let you watch illegal pirated content. And hackers are using those apps to spread malware. Here’s what you need to know.
Online games and websites for kids are everywhere these days – to the point that it’s commonplace to see toddlers playing with them, too. And while the internet has positive ways for kids to explore and learn, privacy concerns are lurking. To help protect children’s privacy, the FTC enforces the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which requires websites and online services to get consent from parents before collecting personal information from kids younger than 13.
April 22 is Earth Day and a great time to consider e-cycling or donating your used electronics.
Following last week’s devastating fire that destroyed much of the famous and historically important Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, fundraising efforts have begun. Many generous people may decide to donate money toward rebuilding efforts – and scammers know that. They’re ready to take donations, too, so here are some things to consider before you give to an organization or a crowdfunding project:
If you need to borrow money to consolidate credit card debt, make home or auto repairs, or pay other unexpected bills, a personal installment loan may be an option.
You’ve probably shared your contact information online to, say, get details about a job opening. Usually, that’s fine. But sometimes you might be looking for one thing and wind up getting something else – like calls about stuff you never asked for or wanted.
Have you gotten calls about supposed problems with your Social Security number from callers pretending they’re with the Social Security Administration (SSA)? If so, you’re not alone. Our latest Data Spotlight finds that reports about SSA imposters are surging, while reports about IRS imposters have taken a dive.
Congratulations students and parents! It won’t be long before young people across the country will put on their caps and gowns to celebrate their graduations. Many graduation speakers offer advice, some based on their own life experiences. The FTC has some practical advice to offer, too.
When I was young, I wanted the shoes that would make me run faster and jump higher. Now, I wish my brain would run a little faster when I can't remember my account passwords. Unfortunately, some shady outfits have been trying to “help” people like me by making some mind-blowing claims to sell their dietary supplements.
Food delivery services can be a convenience for people with busy lives. Free trial offers and online reviews can help people decide which service they want to use. But when reviews are deliberately skewed and subscription terms are hidden, that’s not just unhelpful. It’s against the law.
If friends know you’re shopping for diamond jewelry, they may say, “Remember the 4Cs: color, cut, clarity and carat.” Here are three more important letters for jewelry shoppers: F-T-C. The FTC enforces laws against false advertising and created the Jewelry Guides, which show jewelry businesses how to avoid making deceptive claims. FTC staff recently looked through diamond jewelry ads on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and other sites to find out what shoppers are seeing.
Not another robocall! We’ve all felt that way. Wondering what to do about robocalls? Check out this new video:
Last year, the FTC and state charity regulators joined in Operation Donate with Honor to stop sham veterans charities from lying to donors. Today the FTC is announcing that it shut down two more operations that collected donations with false promises of helping veterans and military service members.
Some good charities do great work to help first responders, our everyday heroes. Unfortunately, a few charities say they’ll help law enforcement officers, firefighters or their families, but do very little. They spend the vast majority of donations on fundraising, salaries and other expenses. That’s what happened with the Disabled Police and Sheriffs Foundation (DPSF). The FTC and the State of Missouri announced today that they stopped this sham charity.
Many of us would gladly take advantage of a free computer tune-up from a big-name retailer. We wouldn’t suspect the tune-up might be a tech support scam. But according to a recent FTC complaint, that’s exactly what happened at Office Depot and OfficeMax stores.