Jennifer Leach, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

As an agency with civil law enforcement authority, the FTC likes a criminal bust as much as anyone. And, just last month, our colleagues at the Department of Justice (DOJ) and US Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) delivered a good one . Listen to this: If the companies didn’t have the product someone ordered, they sent something else. And if the consumer refused delivery, the same telemarketers called back and threatened arrest, deportation, and fines on utility bills. The threats were fraudulent, but they sounded real enough to the consumers who got them.

Jennifer Leach, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

If you’re lookin’ for love (sometimes in all the wrong places), chances are you’ll wind up on an online dating site at some point. Those who use dating sites can attest: you’ll meet some nice people there – and you’ll probably meet some weird people, too. You’ll have good dates and bad (and great and awful). And, unfortunately, as some people can attest, you might just meet some scammers. We hear these stories all the time, and they tend to go a little like this: “I met this really nice woman on [fill in the name of the dating site]. Her membership was about to expire, so we switched to email. She’s from the US, but she’s working in [fill in the name of another country]. We connected right away, and we’re planning to meet. But things are a little tight for her right now because of [fill in reason for no money]. So I wired her the money for the ticket….”

Nicole Vincent Fleming, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Imagine getting an official-looking letter — with a seal, signed by a judge — that says you owe a lot of money for an unpaid payday loan. Awfully intimidating, right? Especially if it included your correct name, address, and maybe even your Social Security number. In a new twist on an old scam, criminals are impersonating law firms, judges, and court officials. They send out scary letters and make threatening phone calls about phantom debts to try to convince people to send them money.

Cristina Miranda, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Strapped for cash? You might think an online payday loan is a quick and easy way to help stretch your money. But before you enter your bank account or any other personal information on a payday loan website, back away from the keyboard! That online payday loan might be a window to a scam. A federal court has granted the FTC an order for contempt in the matter of Suntasia Marketing, Inc ., a company previously involved in a telemarketing scheme that bilked consumers out of millions of dollars. This time around, the scammers took advantage of people looking for online payday loans by tricking them into completing an online application. The catch? The website and application were a pretense – an attempt to get people’s bank account information.

Carol Kando-Pineda, Counsel, FTC

Veterans and their families deserve truthful information when choosing how and where to use their military education benefits. Are you getting the straight scoop on what your program will cost, the likelihood of graduating and the chances for getting a job in your field? If you’re not getting the information you need to make an informed decision, the FTC and its agency partners want to know. A new, streamlined complaint process makes it easier for veterans to share their complaints about their education.

Nicole Vincent Fleming, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Another day, another announcement about a data breach. As news trickles out about retailers that have been hacked, you may be wondering what you can do to protect yourself from fraud. Even if you’re not sure that your accounts have been affected, you can do a few things to protect your accounts, your money, and your credit reputation.

Bridget Small, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

The Federal Trade Commission has sued one of the world’s reputedly biggest spammers and the company it says he used to send thousands of false, alarming and threatening emails disguised as information about the Affordable Care Act (ACA). According to the FTC, months before people could enroll for coverage under the ACA, the emails played off headlines about impending deadlines for selecting health insurance, pressuring recipients with messages including “Today is the deadline" and "Activate here before it's too late."

Carol Kando-Pineda, Counsel, FTC

Veterans and their families deserve truthful information when choosing how and where to use their military education benefits. Are you getting the straight scoop on what your program will cost, the likelihood of graduating and the chances for getting a job in your field? If you’re not getting the information you need to make an informed decision, the FTC and its agency partners want to know.

Amy Hebert, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Quick: name a way your kids could rack up hundreds of dollars in charges in under 15 minutes without you being the wiser. One answer: through an app on your iPhone or other Apple device. Today, the FTC announced that it has reached a settlement with Apple , resolving allegations that the company didn’t get parental consent for many of the charges racked up by their children in kids’ games.

Aditi Jhaveri, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

The clock is ticking, and you’re on the hook to find just the right gift this holiday season. Perhaps you’re shopping at the last minute; maybe the giftee is really picky; or, if you’re like I am, maybe you just don’t feel like dealing with wrapping paper! Regardless, a gift card or certificate may seem like a great solution: it’s a quick buy for you and it presents plenty of options for that person on your list. Take your pick: choose among traditional gift cards from retailers and restaurants, bank gift cards that can be used anywhere the brand is accepted, e-gift cards, and certificates from promotional coupon sites. As you go shopping for gift cards, remember to read the fine print before you buy. Yeah, time is precious and you may not have enough of it to read the details, but there are a few important things to look for:

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