Colleen Tressler, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

The FTC protects consumers by stopping unfair, deceptive or fraudulent practices in the marketplace. We conduct investigations, sue outfits and individuals that break the law, and inform people and businesses about their rights and responsibilities. In 2015, the FTC filed more than 100 law enforcement actions, obtained more than 175 orders against defendants, and refunded more than $22 million to consumers. The FTC is a civil law enforcement...

Andrew Johnson, Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC

There’s a new twist on tech-support scams — you know, the one where crooks try to get access to your computer or sensitive information by offering to “fix” a computer problem that doesn’t actually exist. Lately, we’ve heard reports that people are getting calls from someone claiming to be from the Global Privacy Enforcement Network. Their claim? That your email account has been hacked and is sending fraudulent messages. They say they’ll have to...

Colleen Tressler, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Buying a home is exciting. You saved for the down payment, scheduled the move, and are dreaming of planting new roots. Closing is right around the corner… unless a scammer gets your settlement fees first. The Federal Trade Commission and the National Association of Realtors® are warning home buyers about an email and money wiring scam. Hackers have been breaking into some consumers’ and real estate professionals’ email accounts to get...

Pablo Zylberglait, Senior Attorney, Bureau of Consumer Protection, FTC

Picture this: It’s dinner time. The kids are screaming. Then the phone rings just as you sit down. It could be important, so you run through the toys to the phone. You answer, but all you hear is silence. After a few seconds, a recorded message reminds you that it may be time to have your carpets cleaned and they offer a great deal this month. Or you’ve won a trip. Or you can lower your credit card interest rate. Does this sound familiar? Well,...

Colleen Tressler, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Exceptionally talented sports legends, musicians, and actors all have something in common – halls of fame. At the other end of the spectrum are banned debt collectors. They, too, get special recognition… in the FTC’s hall of shame. A year ago, the FTC first issued its list of banned debt collectors – individuals and companies whose behavior was so egregious that courts have banned them permanently from participating in the debt collection...

Amy Hebert, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Are you a former student of DeVry University — or of any other college — who’s heard from a company that’s promising to get your loans forgiven after you pay them a fee? We have an important piece of advice: don’t do it. It’s never a good idea to pay an up-front fee for the promise of debt relief. Once you pay, you might not get anything in return. And you might be paying for something you can do yourself for free. The FTC has been hearing about...

Alvaro Puig, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

We hear first-hand stories from people around the country about how scammers are targeting people in every community . And while the techniques the scammers use may vary, there’s one thing these scams have in common: sometimes, the first step in avoiding a scam is talking about it with someone you trust. That’s exactly what Maria Juarez did. Maria, who lives with her husband and two kids in a small Texas town, got a phone call one day. The...

Colleen Tressler, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

Patience is a virtue. So is persistence. Three years ago, the FTC temporarily halted a sophisticated scheme run by Ideal Financial Solutions, Inc., a Nevada corporation, that defrauded millions of consumers out of tens of millions of dollars. Here’s how it worked: The defendants bought consumer payday loan applications, including Social Security numbers and bank account numbers, from data brokers and payday loan websites. Ideal Financial...

Jessica Rich, Director, Bureau of Consumer Protection, FTC

Sunday marks the start of the eighteenth annual National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW). It’s a time to learn about and share information to help people make more informed buying decisions and recognize, guard against, and report scams and fraud. The more than 100 agencies and organizations involved in NCPW are on the front lines of consumer protection every day, and are committed to giving you the resources you need to navigate today’s...

Colleen Tressler, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

The FTC received more than 3 million complaints in 2015 . That’s up from 2.5 million in 2014. Some of the increase can be attributed to the fact that more people know to complain to the FTC about bad business practices, frauds and scams. Technology helped, too — more complaints are reaching the FTC through the convenience of mobile apps. The top three complaint categories are still debt collection, identity theft, and imposter scams. The FTC...

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