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Consumer Alert

September is National Preparedness Month: Make a plan now

Colleen Tressler, FTC, Division of Consumer and Business Education
Extreme weather and natural disasters can occur with little warning. Communities spared in the past have suffered devastating losses this year, and many are still recovering. National Preparedness Month is a great time to get ready for whatever may come your way.
Consumer Alert

After Atlantic storm Lee, send scammers packing

Gema de las Heras
Atlantic storm Lee brought near-hurricane strength winds and torrential rains to many New England residents — many already affected by wildfires and severe flooding this summer. When you’re doing your best to recover from the destruction caused by back-to-back natural disasters, the words “I can help” may sound like music to your ears. And that’s exactly what scammers count on to try to steal your money or personal information. So how do you weed out the scammers and get real help?
Consumer Alert

What do fraud and bad business practices look like in the Latino community?

Cristina Miranda
Scammers target everyone. But scams and reported bad business practices can play out differently in different communities. Sometimes, scammers set out to target a particular community. Sometimes, they tell a group to pay in specific ways. (Specific ways that make it very hard to get their money back, after they discover the scam.) There are also businesses who harm communities by using tactics that trick people into use their services. So, what do scams and bad business practices look like in the Latino community?
Consumer Alert

Looking for a remote job for a cause you care about? Here’s how to know if it’s a scam

Royal Rose
If you’re looking for a remote job, you might be interested in companies that support a cause. But scammers know that and use your interest to draw you in. If, for example, you’re an LGBTQ+ person or ally, a job that says you can “help LGBTQ+ people in need from the comfort of your own home” might sound great. But what happens if you take that next step?
Consumer Alert

Pay your student loans — not scammers

Ari Lazarus
You’ve probably heard the news — federal student loan repayments are starting again in October. But scammers might try and tell you they can help you avoid repayment, lower your payments, or get your loans forgiven — for a price. Here’s how to spot and avoid these scams.
Consumer Alert

Help spot scammers after Hurricane Idalia

Gema de las Heras
Figuring out the full extent of Hurricane Idalia’s damage could take weeks or even months. But we already know that scammers will follow the path of the storm and try to take advantage of people doing their best to recover. While storms are unpredictable, there are ways to spot the tactics these scammers use — even if they change some of the details — so, read on.
Article

Phone Scams

People lose a lot of money to phone scams — sometimes their life savings. Scammers have figured out countless ways to cheat you out of your money over the phone.

Consumer Alert

Vetting a business or coaching opportunity before you buy in

Alvaro Puig
The FTC charged that a business opportunity and coaching scheme bilked consumers out of tens of millions of dollars. The scheme grew on the back of baseless claims about how much money customers could make.
Consumer Alert

Potential scams following Tropical Storm Hilary in Southern California and Western states

Gema de las Heras
In the wake of Tropical Storm Hilary’s wind damage and catastrophic flooding — to say nothing of the California “hurriquake” — scammers are likely to follow. As people in affected areas try to rebuild and recover, scammers will say they’re a government official offering help, or a contractor who can do the work you need quickly. Help and quick action are good…but how do you spot the scammers?  
Article

Auto Loan Refinancing Scams

Are you having trouble paying your car loan and thinking about doing business with a company that promises to get you a loan with lower monthly payments? Not all refinancing companies play by the rules. Learn how to recognize, avoid, and report auto loan refinancing scams.
Consumer Alert

How to make sure your donations count when weather disasters strike

Colleen Tressler
Throw a dart at a map of the U.S. and chances are you’ll land on a community that suffered severe weather this year. Whether it’s landslides on the West Coast, extreme ice storms in the South, spring tornadoes across the Midwest, recent flooding in the Northeast, or the wildfires consuming the Hawaiian island of Maui, communities have experienced devastating losses ― and many are still recovering. With any weather disaster, you may consider a charitable donation to help those affected. But how you can avoid charity scams?
Consumer Alert

Picking up the pieces after the Maui wildfires

Colleen Tressler
Wind-driven wildfires are causing devastation to the Hawaiian island of Maui. Nobody knows how long it will take to recover from the destruction, but we do know it won’t be long before scammers start trying to cash in. As the smoke begins to clear, here’s some advice to help you spot, avoid, and report disaster-related scams.
Consumer Alert

You got the apartment! Spot rental listing scams before you pay

Royal Rose
You’ve found it: A listing for the perfect off-campus apartment. The rental agent told you to send a security deposit by wiring money. Sound fishy? That’s because it is. But can you spot other rental listing scams — before you pay?
Consumer Alert

Asked to wire money? Cut the cord

Terri Miller
If someone asked you to mail them $200 in cash, would you do it? Probably not. Wiring money is just like sending cash in the mail. Once it’s gone, you probably won’t get it back — which explains why scammers tell you to pay that way. You’d think twice before mailing your hard-earned money — do the same thing before you wire money. Here’s what to know.
Consumer Alert

How to spot and avoid post-disaster scams in the Northeast

Colleen Tressler
As recovery efforts continue in areas of the Northeast hit hard by devastating flooding, scammers aren’t far behind. Your tragedy is an opportunity for them, and they'll try to take advantage. If one of the recent storms damaged your home, you might get offers to do things like help you clean up debris or get financial help. The offer might even seem to come from a government official. But how do you know what’s real?
Article

Avoiding and Reporting Gift Card Scams

Only scammers will tell you to buy a gift card, like a Google Play or Apple Card, and give them the numbers off the back of the card. No matter what they say, that’s a scam. No real business or government agency will ever tell you to buy a gift card to pay them. Always keep a copy of your gift card and store receipt. Use them to report gift card scams to the gift card company and ask for your money back.