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.

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.

Pages