FTC Blogs

Too close to call

Got a question about a product or an account from a big-name online retailer that makes you want to speak directly to their customer service representative? What do you do first? Go to their website, of course. Can’t find a phone number there? Then you may do what seems like the next best thing and just type the company name into a search engine. But the FTC warns consumers that it’s a mistake to assume that all toll-free numbers that pop up in a search are legitimate customer service lines. Some are run by scammers out to hijack your credit card number or install malware on your computer.

Supporting veterans at the VFW’s national conference

I recently spent a few days meeting many of our nation’s veterans at the annual VFW and Lady’s Auxiliary conferences in Pittsburgh. An estimated 12,000 delegates, dignitaries and guests convened in the Steel City, a little more than 100 years after the VFW was formally organized there by veterans of the Spanish-American war. This year’s convention included a speech by President Obama, workshops about veterans’ assistance, informational exhibits, a health fair, organizational business meetings and awards presentations.

Life happens…

What’s going on in your life today? Preparing to graduate? Have a changing family dynamic? Returning from military service? Or just moving into this country?Big life changes seem to come frequently, and they don’t just impact your daily routine — they can affect your finances, too. Here are some ideas to help you land on your feet when you face a change.

Card cracking: Not what it’s cracked up to be

The scam is called card cracking and it may start off innocently enough. You see a post on a social media site announcing a contest. Or maybe a webpage that claims to have a celebrity affiliation is offering a gift card giveaway. The variations are endless, but here’s the tip-off that fraud is afoot. At some point, you’re asked for your bank account information, PIN number, or online banking credential. That’s when you can bank on the fact that those “innocent” offers aren’t what they’re cracked up to be.

Are you following the “leads”?

Ever complete an online application to get the best rate on a loan? Or enter your email address on a website to learn more about colleges you’d like to attend? Getting products and information this way can be convenient and very fast. But the information you share may go through the hands of middlemen you may not know exist. These companies are called “lead generators.”

Leading questions?

It’s a common occurrence. People looking online for a product or service – say, a loan or an educational program – find themselves on a site that asks for their personal information. The idea is that consumers will be connected with a company in that business. That exchange of information might offer an easy way to put buyers and sellers together. But sometimes the data wends its way through multiple hands before reaching the business selling what the consumer is looking for.