Colleen Tressler, Consumer Education Specialist

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...

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...

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...

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...

Bridget Small, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

A homeowner who’s worried about foreclosure or desperate to refinance might listen to a caller who promises to help. Unfortunately, not all cold-calling telemarketers do what they promise. Enter the Federal Trade Commission’s nearly $3.6 million settlement with Prime Legal Plans. Claiming to represent a non-profit, Prime Legal Plan’s telemarketers called homeowners nationwide, and promised expert legal help — for a fee — to stop foreclosure...

Colleen Tressler, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

The FTC warned people last summer about illegal prerecorded sales calls from scammers pitching safety alert systems for older adults. And now, the FTC and the Florida Attorney General have acted to temporarily halt and freeze the assets of an Orlando-based operation that not only used illegal robocalls to pitch so-called “free” medical alert devices to older consumers, but also lied about the cost and quality. The FTC and the Florida AG are...

Nicole Vincent Fleming, Consumer Education Specialist

They’re baaaack! No, not poltergeists. Scammers. And they want your last penny. We’ve written before about tech support scams — where a caller claims that your computer has a terrible virus and needs immediate attention. The scammer asks for remote access and then charges you for “fixing” a problem that wasn’t there. Now, they’re working the phones again, and they claim that if you paid for tech support services, they can get you a refund. We’ve...

Cristina Miranda, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Looking to make some extra cash? So are scammers. Listen to this one about a telemarketing resale scam targeting Spanish-speakers nationwide. A recent lawsuit filed by the FTC claims that Cream Group, Inc., also doing business as Oro Marketing, Inc., offered Spanish-speaking women the chance to buy brand-name clothing, purses, and perfumes at below market prices for resale to friends, family and their communities for a profit. Telemarketers took...

Nicole Vincent Fleming, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service recently distributed thousands of checks totaling $46 million to people who lost money in scams that involved MoneyGram, a popular money transfer service. According to law enforcement officials, from 2004 to 2009, MoneyGram turned a blind eye to scam artists and money launderers who used the company to commit fraud. During that time, tens of thousands of people in the U.S. lost money to a variety of money...

Aditi Jhaveri, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

If you’ve been following the news this holiday season, you’ve probably heard that Target shoppers may have been affected by the recent data breach . Target notified their customers of the breach via email. Unfortunately, scammers follow the news, too. Scam artists may send out phony “Target” emails pretending to help, but they actually want to trick you into giving them your personal information. And they are skilled at making the emails look...

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