FTC Blogs

Stemming unproven stem cell therapy claims

Old West nostrum sellers used to market treatments for a broad range of diseases with the slogan “Good for what ails ya.” California-based Regenerative Medical Group used a current buzzword in science – stem cell therapy – to peddle what they claimed were treatments for conditions as varied as cerebral palsy and autism to Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and macular degeneration.

Cybersecurity resources for your small business

Small businesses are concerned about ransomware, email imposters, and other common cyber threats. So FTC staff hosted roundtables to ask business owners what we can do to help. You came from different parts of the country and different economic sectors, but your answers were consistent and you didn’t mince words: 1) You want straightforward advice that’s easy to implement; and 2) You want consistent guidance from the different federal agencies that deal with cyber threats and data security.

$3 million FCRA settlement puts tenant background screening at the forefront

When people are looking to rent a house or apartment, the most important “screening” isn’t on the windows of the prospective new place. It’s the tenant background screening that goes on behind the scenes, the results of which can make the difference between home sweet home and homeless.

Scams near you, by the numbers

Every day, people across the country are telling the FTC what happened to them. Maybe they lost money to a scam, lost their identity, or just spotted something that looked fishy and wanted somebody to know. All of that information helps FTC and other law enforcement agencies investigate and bring cases against scammers. And, every year, we roll up all that data and give it back to you in an annual data book. Now, though, you don’t have to wait a year to find out what’s happening.

Scammers demand gift cards

Gift cards are a great way to give a gift. But did you know they are also a scammer’s favorite way to steal money? According to the FTC’s new Data Spotlight, more scammers are demanding payment with a gift card than ever before – a whopping 270 percent increase since 2015. Gift cards are for gifts, not for payments. If someone calls with urgent news or a convincing story and then pressures you to pay them by buying a gift card, like an iTunes or Google Play card, and then giving them the codes on the back of the card – stop. It’s a scam.

The gift of data – and a few words about gift cards

When people take a moment to report fraud, identity theft, or questionable business practices to the FTC, they’re giving consumers everywhere a “gift” of sorts. We use those reports – we get millions every year – to warn others about the latest scams. They also serve as an important source of information for our law enforcement efforts.

FTC sues American Immigration Center for claiming false government affiliation

When the FTC warns consumers about government imposter scams, we’re usually referring to bogus calls that falsely claim to come from the IRS or some other official office. But as a case just announced by the FTC demonstrates, that’s not the only kind of false government affiliation that can deceive consumers.

Scammers Increasingly Demand Payment by Gift Card

Through Consumer Sentinel we hear from people across the country about frauds they encounter in the marketplace. One thing we learn from these reports is how scammers want to be paid. People are telling us that they’re increasingly being told to pay with gift cards – specifically, by giving someone the PIN number off the back of a gift card. Often people are specifically asked for certain brands, like iTunes and Google Play cards.