FTC Blogs

FTC and NASCO to explore consumer protection and charitable solicitations

Americans are among the most generous people in the world, contributing more than $373 billion to charity in 2015, according to The Giving Institute. Not only are Americans giving more to charity, but evolving marketing practices and new technologies have introduced different ways for organizations to accept donations and new challenges for consumer protection law enforcement and education.

FTC to Explore Charitable Solicitations

Americans are among the most generous people in the world, contributing more than $373 billion to charity in 2015, according to The Giving Institute. We’re all familiar with phone calls, mailers, and TV and radio spots seeking donations, but the times are changing. Evolving marketing practices and new technologies have introduced new ways to solicit contributions and donate. That’s just one of the reasons the FTC and the National Association of State Charities Officials (NASCO) are hosting a workshop on March 21, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Prize Scams: Don’t Pay to Play

You get a phone call from an excited caller saying you’ve won a trip, a car, or a lot of money. Next, they ask you to send money before you get the prize. That is a sure sign of a scam. Recently, we’ve heard about a spike in prize scam calls. Although there are some legitimate contests, remember: there are a lot of scams. Here are a few ways to spot a prize scam:

Scammers are spoofing news sites to promote health products

Scammers will do just about anything to rip you off. They will create fake websites, use fake endorsements from public figures, lie about the effectiveness of their products, and much more. We did some investigating and found that a number of shady companies selling “brain booster” pills are using these exact tactics to promote their products. Here’s how:

Trial and error

Imagine a series of promotions that involve pain relief promises, cognition claims, endorsements, 30-minute radio ads, “risk-free” money-back guarantees, “free” trial offers, negative options, telemarketing, and upsells of buying club memberships. What could possibly go wrong for consumers?

Where would you like to start?

Participation is voluntary, but live up to what you promise

To facilitate the transfer of data, many U.S. companies that do business internationally participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) system. It’s voluntary, of course, but if companies say they participate, that representation – like other objective claims – must be truthful. That’s the lesson of three proposed settlements just announced by the FTC.