Emily Wu, Attorney, Federal Trade Commission
Lots of people are having trouble sleeping, thanks to the pandemic and all the parts of our lives it’s affecting. And it doesn’t help when you get a call saying you owe the government money. Oh, and, they add, you’ll go to jail if you don’t pay up immediately. That’s a scam, and nothing to lose sleep over. For those who are a little more cut off from people than usual, these calls might feel more real and worrying than they are. If you know...
Ari Lazarus, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC
National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) 2021 is coming up next week, and we’d love for you to join us for some virtual events. NCPW is a time when the FTC joins with local, state, and national partners to bring you information and advice on scams, identity theft, and other consumer protection issues. Here’s a preview of some events you can join: Monday, March 1 - Friday, March 5 Follow FTC and USAGov on social media for quick, shareable consumer...
Ari Lazarus, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC
We've been sharing the U.S. Department of Education's flexibilities for federal student loan borrowers. Understanding these options can help you make more informed decisions about paying your bills and prioritizing your debts. The benefits have been extended. So, just to recap, what does this mean for you if you have a federal student loan? This program gives temporary payment relief to borrowers with qualifying federal student loans. But some...
Emily Wu, Attorney, Federal Trade Commission
Winter often brings the blues, but when it brings Arctic blasts, burst pipes, power outages, and even icicles indoors, scammers aren’t far behind with weather-related scams. Scammers know severe weather may have shut off your electricity, heat, and water and might pose as your utility company. They might call to say that they’re sorry your power went out and offer a reimbursement, but first they need your bank account information. They might...
Emily Wu, Attorney, Federal Trade Commission
As the Coronavirus pandemic continues, so does its financial impact. For people who need help with rent or mortgage payments, or have student loans, there may be some good news about the federal relief response. Renters — The temporary stop on evictions for certain renters now runs through March 31, 2021. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information on who is eligible and the steps to take. Homeowners — If you’re struggling to...
Jim Kreidler, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC
Valentine's Day will be here soon so we're talking about romance scams. Lots of people have profiles on dating apps to meet someone — maybe even more so in these virtual times. And many people have built successful relationships from an online start. But what if, instead of finding a potential partner, you find a scam? Romance scams reached a record $304 million in losses reported to the FTC in 2020. That’s up about 50% from 2019. So how can you...
Jim Kreidler, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC
Using your own vehicle to deliver packages for Amazon and earn extra money. Sounds good, right? But has Amazon been keeping the tips its drivers are making when delivering for its Amazon Flex program? According to the complaint the FTC issued today, the answer is yes. In its app and numerous marketing materials, Amazon advertises that drivers can earn $18 to $25 per hour — plus 100% of customer tips. According to the FTC, during a two-and-a-half...
Lisa Lake, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC
If you’re facing eviction for any reason, there are organizations out there who can help you. But there are also fake “organizations” and “charities” who can hurt you. COVID-19 has created an even greater opportunity for scammers to target people — people who are just trying to get help with paying their rent or taking care of other financial needs. Scammers may call, email, or text, saying you can get money for rent. Or they may say they can get...
Colleen Tressler, Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC
With every passing day, the news on COVID-19 vaccine distribution seems to change. One reason is that distribution varies by state and territory. And scammers, always at the ready, are taking advantage of the confusion. Besides a big dose of patience, here are some tips to help you avoid a vaccine-related scam, no matter where you live: Contact a trusted source for information. Check with state or local health departments to learn when and how to...
Cristina Miranda, Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC
The US Department of the Treasury and the IRS are working hard to get a second round of Economic Impact Payments (EIP) to people. You might have already gotten your payment direct deposited into your bank account. That started on December 29th. You might have gotten a check in the mail. But, like last time, some people will get their payment in the mail on an EIP VISA debit card. Don’t be surprised if the way you get this second round of payments...