FTC Blogs

Stop a debt collector’s empty threats

Calls from debt collectors can add to the stress of having financial problems. When those calls involve harassment, threats and intimidation, the situation can get even worse — especially if you don’t know your rights. The FTC enforces the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to protect consumers from deceptive, abusive, or unfair debt collection tactics. On June 23, 2014, the FTC filed a joint complaint with the State of New York against National Check Registry for violating the FDCPA by allegedly using outrageous and intimidating methods to get people to pay debts immediately — often debts that were in dispute.

A contest to combat robocalls

“Rachel from Cardholder Services” is one of the most notorious — and most annoying — robocallers ever. Advances in technology have made it cheap and easy for Rachel and her buddies to send out thousands of calls every minute — and to spoof caller ID information, hiding their true location and identity. It’s the perfect environment for telephone spam. Because technology is the crux of the problem, the FTC is tapping one of the world’s largest hacking conferences for some high-caliber technical support. The FTC is sponsoring a contest at DEF CON 22 in Las Vegas, Aug. 7-10, to inspire innovative tech solutions in the fight against illegal robocalls.

Putting the “mod” in order modification

Back in 1998, the must-have toy was a Furby, and if you were a parent with a kid of a certain age, you had to find one. In those days, Toys “R” Us was the nation’s largest toy retailer, and the company attracted antitrust attention when it announced that it would stop carrying toys made by any manufacturer that sold the same toys to discount club stores, such as Costco. That policy would have prevented nearby club stores from carrying the same Furby sold at Toys “R” Us (creating problems for that parent hoping to avoid a toddler meltdown).

The business directory scam strikes again

You work at a small business, nonprofit, church or local government agency, and you get a call:  Someone wants you to confirm your contact information for a directory. Sure, no problem.    But there is a problem:  Soon, you’re opening an invoice for hundreds of dollars for a listing in an online business directory — something you never asked for or wanted.

Throwing the book at directory scammers: 5 B2B frauds to watch out for

Wily deception. Masters of impersonation. International intrigue. We could be describing PBS’ re-imagining of Sherlock Holmes, but we’re not. We’re talking about a scam that’s been around almost as long as the famous resident of 221B Baker Street – and still leaves small businesess barking like the Hound of the Baskervilles.

Debt Collection & the Latino Community: October 23 Roundtable in Long Beach, CA

On October 23rd, 2014, staff from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will be at The Pointe Conference Center at California State University in Long Beach to co-host a roundtable featuring consumer advocates, industry leaders, state and federal regulators and academics. “Debt Collection & the Latino Community” will examine debt collection issues pertaining to Latino consumers who have limited English proficiency.

This time it's personal

Ask most people to name the streets in the neighborhood where they grew up and they’ll tell you Maple Lane or Sycamore Drive. Ask a military kid – ask this military kid – and she’ll mention Tank Destroyer Boulevard and Hell on Wheels Avenue. Years ago, if you drove down Tank Destroyer and exited the East Gate of Fort Hood, the neon signs advertising “zero down,” “E-Z credit,” or “low monthly payments” lit up the Central Texas sky like a discount aurora borealis.