Andrew Johnson, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

It’s hard to pass up a job opportunity that promises a large income and the flexibility of working entirely from home. Especially when the opportunity appears at the top of your online search results and includes video testimonials of success stories, making it seem legitimate. The problem is, most of these job opportunities are scams and won’t deliver on their promises. Today, the FTC announced that a federal court put a temporary stop to a...

Colleen Tressler, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Another day, another scam. Case in point: the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reports that scammers are telling people they can pay their bills using so-called “secret accounts” or “Social Security trust accounts” and routing numbers at Federal Reserve Banks. In exchange for personal information, like Social Security numbers, people get what they think is a bank account number at a Federal Reserve Bank. But this really is just a way to get your...

Rosario Méndez, Attorney, Division of Consumer & Business Education, FTC

Usually, when I pay with a check, I write it out and sign it, or I direct my bank to send it on my behalf. But what if a check is drawn on my account but I didn’t write it, sign it, or tell my bank to send it? It can happen if someone has your bank account number: they can use your number to create a check that takes money out of your account. Now, if you’d already agreed to the charges, there’s no problem. But what if you didn’t? That means...

Amy Hebert, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

You’re online, ready to buy concert tickets the second they go on sale, and then … they’re sold out. Were you beaten by a ticket bot? Here’s what you need to know. What are ticket bots? They’re computer programs that quickly buy up the best seats so the tickets can be resold elsewhere for more money. The Better Online Ticket Sales Act of 2016 makes it illegal to use computer software like ticket bots to game the ticket system for public concerts...

Cristina Miranda, Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC

Consumers are reporting another government imposter scam – this time the scammers are pretending to be calling from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). According to reports, callers are telling people they’ve been selected to receive a $14,000 grant from NIH. To get it, though, callers tell people to pay a fee through an iTunes or Green Dot card, or by giving their bank account number. If you get a call like this from someone asking you to...

Rosario Méndez, Attorney, Division of Consumer & Business Education, FTC

You’ve probably seen online ads with offers to let you try a product – or a service – for a very low cost, or even for free. Sometimes they’re tempting: I mean, who doesn’t want whiter teeth for a dollar plus shipping? Until the great deal turns into a rip-off. That’s what the FTC says happened in a case it announced today . The defendants sold tooth-whitening products under various names, and hired other companies to help them market the...

Bridget Small, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

If you are planning a trip outside the US, you have probably been collecting tips on everything from great restaurants to comfortable walking shoes. Here is our contribution: when you search for information online, you may find official-looking websites that offer travel documents, information and services. But some official-looking sites are copycats — imposters — that can put your money and personal information at risk. The FTC’s i...

Rosario Méndez, Attorney, Division of Consumer and Business Education

Fake debt collectors will say anything that will scare you into paying them. Today, the FTC stopped imposters who pretended to be lawyers. They threatened people with lawsuits and jail time to collect debts that didn’t exist. These imposters often used the names of real small businesses or names that were very similar to those of existing businesses. When these real businesses started receiving calls from people trying to reach the “debt...

Rosario Méndez, Attorney, Consumer and Business Education, FTC

Some scammers specialize in tricking people into paying for things they didn’t order. They often target businesses because they know that, in some businesses, the people who order supplies and the people who pay the invoices might not talk all the time. The scammers bet on the bill-payer assuming the invoices are for things the company actually ordered. And if the scammers are right, they can cash in big. That’s what happened to businesses that...

Lisa Lake , Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

If you’ve created a product or service you’re eager to sell, it makes sense to get patent or trademark protection. But some information that looks official might really just a scam to get your money . The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the FTC want you to know that there are companies pretending to be the USPTO or a partner of the USPTO. They’re tricking patent and trademark holders into paying them “fees” for services, but they’re...

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