FTC Blogs

The Clayton Act: 100 years and counting

One hundred years ago today, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Clayton Act, just weeks after signing the Federal Trade Commission Act. Together, these statutes gave the federal government new tools to deal with the growing threat of the trusts: a bipartisan five-member Commission to police against “unfair methods of competition,” and a new law designed to stop certain business combinations and conduct before they caused widespread harm.

“Free” products weren’t really free

The story: a company says its product will help you lose weight without diet changes or exercise, and you can try it free — 100% satisfaction guaranteed.The reality: the company can’t support — or deliver on — those weight loss claims. If you give your credit or debit account number, you get charged $60 to $210 every month — and it’s almost impossible to get a refund.

How to guard against Ebola-related charity scams

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the unprecedented Ebola epidemic in West Africa has taken the lives of more than 4,000 people. Many people are asking how they can help. If you’re looking for a way to give, the Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, urges you to do some research to ensure that your donation will go to a reputable organization that will use the money as promised.

Debt Collection and the Latino Community: Will you be at the roundtable?

The FTC has been taking a 360° look at debt collection and credit reporting lately – workshops, reports, education, and law enforcement. On October 23, 2014, we're hosting a roundtable in Long Beach, California, with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to get perspectives on how these issues affect Latino consumers, especially those who have limited English proficiency.

Beware of mystery shopper scams

I confess… I once was a mystery shopper. Decades ago, I shopped at stores to see what they were charging for certain products and visited restaurant chains to evaluate the food and service. I wrote up a report, sent it in, and received a check for my work. Nothing I could make a living from, but it helped fill the gas tank. Back then, it didn’t occur to me that responding to a mystery or secret shopper ad could set me up for a scam. Now I know – if you’re looking to make extra money as a mystery shopper, it pays to do some homework to make sure the job is real.

Extension letter?

At the FTC, we consider policy developments or proposed rule changes one rung at a time. An integral step in that process is the public comment period. If you have clients interested in two matters pending at the FTC, they have more time to put pen to paper.

Avoid a vacation property rental scam

Ready to start booking your next vacation? Maybe you’re thinking about renting a house or condo. These days it’s easy to connect directly with property owners who advertise their vacation homes online, and you’ve probably heard wonderful stories from people who rent vacation properties. We have, too. But we’ve also heard from people who’ve fallen for vacation rental scams.

A lesson for WordSmart: Tell the truth

If you’re a parent, you want to see your child succeed in school. So it may seem like a wise investment when a company claims that its products will improve your kids’ grades, test scores, IQ, reading speed and comprehension and even offers a money-back guarantee. The problem? The FTC found that a company making these claims, WordSmart Corporation, allegedly had no substantiation to support them and relied on outright lies to generate business.