Colleen Tressler, Consumer Education Specialist

When disaster strikes, you can be sure that scam artists will be close behind. The latest example is the massive mudslide in Oso, Washington. The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, and Bob Ferguson, Washington State Attorney General , urge consumers to be on guard against scam artists who try to take advantage of the tragic situation.

Colleen Tressler, Consumer Education Specialist

The FTC’s Used Car Rule has been the law of the land since 1985. It requires used car dealers to post a Buyers Guide on cars they offer for sale. The Guide gives customers important warranty and other information to help them make an informed buying decision. So when Abernathy Motor Company failed to display a single Buyers Guide on all of the used cars for sale at its Jonesboro, Arkansas location — even after the FTC warned the company about the violation — the agency said it’s time to pay the piper. Each violation could result in a civil penalty of $16,000.

Amy Hebert, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Have you ever gotten one of these calls? Someone says they’re with a government agency or the sheriff’s office and threatens that you’ll be sued or arrested if you don’t pay a supposed debt. But really, the people contacting you are imposters looking to scare you into sending them money.

Nicole Vincent Fleming, Consumer Education Specialist

So, you’re about to begin a new job search, and you’re ticking items off your to-do list. You’ve set up an online account so you’ll know about new job openings. You’ve polished your resume — and your shoes. You’ve run through some possible interview questions with a friend. Have you requested your annual credit report from www.annualcreditreport.com ? No? Well, go ahead.

Andrea Arias, Attorney, Division of Privacy and Identity Protection

Most consumers know that creditors use information about them and their credit experiences – like the number and type of accounts they have, their bill paying history, and whether they pay their bills on time – to create a credit score, which helps predict how credit worthy they are. (And if they don’t, they can learn about credit scores at the FTC’s Consumer Center.) What most consumers don’t know is that data brokers offer companies scores for other purposes unrelated to credit – for example, for marketing, advertising, identity verification, and fraud prevention. Businesses use these scores to decide which transactions require further scrutiny, what offers and prices to offer certain consumers, and even in what order to answer a consumer’s customer service call.

James Lander, Director, Military Saves

Military Saves Week , February 24 – March 1, 2014, is a time to review your finances, decide what you want to save for, and set up a system that will allow you to save automatically. That’s why the Military Saves Week theme is Set a Goal. Make a Plan. Save Automatically. Did you know that only half of Americans report having good savings habits? Even if you are already saving, it’s good to take a look at your goals and decide if you can save more or start a new savings goal. Join thousands of others who are pledging to pay down debt, save money, and take financial action during Military Saves Week.

Amy Hebert, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC,

It sounds pretty good: you walk into a store like any other customer. Then 20 minutes later, you’re done, ready to write a report that will earn you $50. And then you can do it again. If Shopper Systems and some companies like it were to be believed, mystery shopping jobs like this were not only widely available, but could generate “insane profit.” All for just $2.95 for training and a week’s trial, then $49.95 a month after that for an up-to-date list of interested retailers — and you’d be free to cancel any time. But they couldn’t be believed, the FTC says.

Nicole Vincent Fleming, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

You’ve heard it a million times: Don’t click on links in an email unless you know who sent it and what it is. But sometimes the link in an email is just so darned convenient. For example, you ship a package to a friend, and then you get an email with a link to track the delivery. It’s safe to click that link, right? Maybe not.

Aditi Jhaveri, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

The most romantic day of the year is almost here. And while you’re daydreaming about the great chemistry between you and your Valentine, you also might think about whether you’re a financially compatible couple. So how can you tell if you’ve got fiscal attraction?

Colleen Tressler, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Who’s calling now? That number doesn’t ring a bell. Hold the phone, says the Federal Trade Commission. You could be a potential victim of the growing "one-ring” cell phone scam. Here’s how it works: Scammers are using auto-dialers to call cell phone numbers across the country. Scammers let the phone ring once — just enough for a missed call message to pop up. The scammers hope you’ll call back, either because you believe a legitimate call was cut off, or you will be curious about who called.

Pages