Bridget Small, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Here’s a tip that’s worth repeating: Don’t click on a link in a text message you get on your phone that says you’ve won a terrific prize or a gift card. Don’t reply either. It’s probably a scam. The Federal Trade Commission settled charges with a group of marketers that were part of a scheme that sent millions of unsolicited spam text messages promoting supposedly free merchandise like $1,000 gift cards for Wal-Mart and Best Buy. People who...

Colleen Tressler, Consumer Education Specialist

The FTC announced its top 10 consumer complaints for 2013 today. Of the more than 2 million consumer complaints received… Identity theft leads the field, with 14 percent of total complaints filed. Thirty percent of those were tax- or wage-related, which continues to be the largest category within identity theft complaints. Coming in at a close second: Debt collection, with 10 percent. Completing the trifecta: Banks and lenders, with 7 percent...

Cheryl Warner, Office of Public Affairs, FTC

To highlight National Consumer Protection Week , the FTC will host a Twitter chat to answer consumers’ questions about common scams on Tuesday, March 4 at 2:00 p.m. EST. The chat will cover scams involving government imposters, text and email, identity theft, working at home, timeshares and fake debt collectors. Follow @FTC , and use the hashtag: #NCPW2014. See FTC Twitter chats to learn more. The NCPW website has more information for consumers...

Amy Hebert, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Ever thought about responding to an enticing email or ad saying you could make money working from home? Then you might be interested to hear about the FTC’s case against the Coaching Department and its related companies, which the FTC alleges strung people along in a three-part scam that raked in tens of millions of dollars. For out-of-work people who got caught up in this business opportunity scam, it was a problem that went from bad to worse...

Amy Hebert, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Free grants for regular people? The chance at some string-free money might seem like a godsend. But promises of free grants are just another scam to get your money. That was the case with Cash Grant Institute, the FTC says. In fact, the man behind the scam — Paul Navestad — was ordered to pay more than $20 million. But he didn’t. So today the FTC announced that a federal judge has ordered Navestad to be jailed until he pays up. Here’s the...

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-...

Nicole Vincent Fleming, Consumer Education Specialist

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. Scammers are sending emails that look like courtesy messages from legitimate companies — especially shipping companies...

Cristina Miranda, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Don’t reply to — or click on — a link for a random text message you see on your phone saying that you’ve won a prize, gift card or an expensive electronic like an iPad. It’s most likely a scam. According to a text spam settlement announced by the FTC , two groups of companies known as SubscriberBASE Holdings, Inc., and Threadpoint, LLC, hired spammers to send millions of unsolicited texts to lure...

Colleen Tressler, Consumer Education Specialist

Scam artists are forever trying to trick people into clicking on links that will download malware to their computers. But the latest scam takes the tricks to a new low. Scammers are sending bogus emails with the subject line "funeral notification." The message appears to be from a legitimate funeral home, offers condolences, and invites you to click on a link for more information about the upcoming "celebration of your friend’s life service."...

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...

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