Lisa Lake, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

An email from a friend urges you to try new weight-loss pills. There’s a link to an article about a celebrity’s amazing results with the pills, and the article’s author says he even tried this miracle product himself. With all these trusted sources, why wouldn’t you give it a try? Because it’s all a sham, that’s why. The email is not from a friend, but from a spammer who hacked into someone’s email account. The link they sent leads to a fake...

Cristina Miranda, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

You may have seen TV ads that claim buying gold is an easy way to earn easy profits, or build a safe retirement investment. While buying gold might help diversify your investment portfolio, is it always a good way to build your retirement? Or might it be an investment scheme disguised as a golden opportunity? According to a complaint filed by the FTC , DiscountMetalBrokers, Inc. advertised itself as a legitimate seller of gold and silver, yet...

Carol Kando-Pineda, Counsel, FTC's Division of Consumer & Business Education

Book lovers flock to their local library to pick up a favorite classic or the latest bestseller. But today library visitors also want and need a whole lot more. In addition to providing traditional services, librarians help diverse groups of people navigate a complicated world, including how to avoid scams. As for scams, there’s one thing we know for sure: we’re all consumers – and we’re all targets for fraud. Scammers are good at what they do...

Andrew Johnson, Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC

Imposters posing as IRS agents are trying to trick college students into paying a “federal student tax” – a tax that doesn’t even exist. Students from many colleges are telling the FTC that the calls go something like this: the so-called IRS agent tells you that you owe a “federal student tax,” and often has some piece of information that makes the call seem legit. Sometimes it’s the name of your school, or another piece of information about you...

Amy Hebert, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

One thing we know about scammers — they want money, and they want it fast. That’s why, whatever the con they’re running, they usually ask people to pay a certain way. They want to make it easy for themselves to get the money — and nearly impossible for you to get it back. Their latest method? iTunes gift cards. To convince you to pay, they might pretend to be with the IRS and say you’ll be arrested if you don’t pay back taxes right now. Or pose...

Andrew Johnson, Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC

Your phone rings. You recognize the number, but when you pick up, it’s someone else. What’s the deal? Scammers are using fake caller ID information to trick you into thinking they are someone local, someone you trust – like a government agency or police department, or a company you do business with – like your bank or cable provider. The practice is called caller ID spoofing, and scammers don’t care whose phone number they use. One scammer...

Lisa Lake, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Looking for a good time and good eats at a good price? Getting a deal on a food festival or other event is terrific. But don’t let scammers leave a bad taste in your mouth by taking a big bite out of your money — and giving you nothing in return. While there are many legitimate festivals advertised online, we’ve read news reports and consumer complaints about scam artists who promote fun-and-food-filled days of crab feasts, concerts and similar...

Andrew Johnson, Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC

Scammers are trying to get personal information from people by pretending to help with applications for disability benefits and claims. A recent alert from the Social Security Inspector General warns of this phishing scam, and — whether or not you’ve started an application for benefits — these scammers could contact you. They’re taking a shot in the dark, hoping that you have started an application, and hoping you’ll give them a little more info...

Christopher Koegel, Assistant Director, Division of Financial Practices, FTC

At the FTC, we sue abusive debt collectors and try to do right by people who’ve been harmed by unlawful practices. But we also try to protect people from being harmed in the first place. That’s exactly why I’m here: to warn you about debt collectors calling about debts that the FTC knows are bogus. The bogus debts supposedly are payday loans from these companies: USFastCash, 500FastCash, OneClickCash, Ameriloan, United Cash Loans,...

Colleen Tressler, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

The devastation caused by earthquakes in Ecuador and Japan have left people asking how they can help. If you’re looking for a way to give, the Federal Trade Commission urges you to do some research to ensure that your donation will go to a reputable organization that will use the money as promised. Urgent appeals for aid that you get in person, by phone or mail, by e-mail, on websites, or on social networking sites may not be on the up-and-up...

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