FTC Blogs

Don’t bank on a “cleared” check

Fake check scams take advantage of what we don’t know about how banks handle check deposits. Scammers do know, and they trick people into sending them money before the bank spots the fake. The FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network database shows that people reported more than 27,000 fake check scams in 2019, with reported losses topping $28 million dollars. And the data suggest that fake check scams disproportionately harm young adults – especially people in their twenties.

Leadership Changes in the Anticompetitive Practices Division

I am pleased to announce the appointment of a new manager in the Bureau of Competition: Patty McDermott has joined the Anticompetitive Practices Division as Deputy Assistant Director. Patty has served in the FTC’s Health Care Division since 2014, and received the Commission’s Louis D. Brandeis Award in 2018 for leading the trial team in FTC v. AbbVie. Before joining the FTC, Patty worked in private practice and clerked for the Honorable Cameron McGowan Currie in the U.S.

What to know about the Economic Impact Payment debit cards

If you’re still waiting for your Economic Impact Payments, you might be getting a debit card instead of a check in the mail. This, of course, is the money that’s meant to give relief due to the Coronavirus pandemic. You may have already gotten your payment by direct deposit or by check. But if you’re still waiting, watch your mailbox for either a check or a VISA debit card. And know that the government will never, ever call, text, email, or ask you to click on a link they sent to activate your card or get your money.

FTC says Bronx Honda discriminated against African-American and Hispanic consumers

The FTC’s complaint against Bronx Honda alleges the company jacked up what consumers had to pay by fabricating fees, inflating charges, and sneaking in stealth add-ons. The lawsuit also alleges the defendants discriminated against African-American and Hispanic consumers by charging them higher financing markups and fees, in violation of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and Reg B.

On “Failing” Firms — and Miraculous Recoveries

Over the past few years, the Bureau has faced a surprising number of failing firm claims by merging parties. Even when the economy was booming, we heard many iterations of the same argument: The acquired firm is failing. The acquiring firm is failing. Both firms are failing (which presumably would justify the merger on the basis that if you tie two sinking rocks together, they’re more likely to float). The entire industry is failing.

50 more FTC warning letters say “Enough!” to questionable coronavirus claims

Elderberry, hydrogen peroxide, iodine, mushrooms, and horse milk. (Horse milk?) The FTC just sent 50 more warning letters to companies promoting products or services advertised to prevent or treat coronavirus. Here’s the latest list of who’s been warned, what they’re selling, and some of what they’re saying.

This “game” is a chain letter scam

Are you tempted to play “The Circle Game,” join a “Blessing Loom,” or jump on a “Money Board”? These are some of the names for an online scam that’s making the rounds at a time when millions of people are out of work and scraping for cash. It promises a big return for a modest investment. Don’t fall for it. You’re virtually guaranteed to lose your money, or pull in friends and family who will lose theirs.