FTC Blogs

Sham charities inflate gift-in-kind numbers to deceive donors

Charities rely on generous donations – cash and gifts-in-kind – to help people in your community, across the country, and around the world. Gifts-in-kind are non-cash donations – things like food, clothing, equipment and medical supplies. Normally, charities give those gifts directly to people in need, or to other charities for redistribution. But a recent complaint against four sham charities by the FTC and law enforcement partners in every state and the District of Columbia shows that’s not always what happens.

Enhancing permissions through contextual integrity

This is the third post in my series on privacy and security in mobile computing, which builds on the Commission’s 2013 mobile security workshop. In my last post, I concluded that – despite a history of usability concerns – permissions in mobile operating systems are clearly an improvement over the opacity of traditional operating systems.

Shutting down a sweepstakes scam that sought out seniors

In the past few years, you’ve heard warnings from us about different scams that offered prizes like money, jewelry, or vacations – all in exchange for a fee. And we’ve heard from you to the tune of more than a quarter of a million complaints about prize and sweepstakes scams in the last three years. Thanks in part to those complaints, today the FTC put a stop to a sweepstakes scam targeting older people.

3 dos, 3 don’ts, and 1 don’t-even-think-about-it

It’s a text that would make most people take notice: ALERT ALERT ALERT .. YOUR PAYMENT WAS DECLINED DUE TO AN INSUFFICIENT ACH TRANSACTION…CALL 866.597.3075. But it wasn’t really an alert. There wasn’t a declined payment. And an “insufficient ACH transaction” isn’t even a real thing.

It was a deceptive text message sent by debt collectors to illegally lure purported debtors into contacting them.

Sharing thoughts about the sharing economy

These days, the sharing economy is all around us. One person might use her smartphone to get an Uber ride to a dinner arranged through Feastly. Another might hire a Taskrabbit to clean up his garden for spring and order custom pots for his flowers from a seller on Etsy. But do these new services come with risks to competition and consumers? And how should regulations governing traditional suppliers be tailored to apply to them?

Did you get a consumer complaint notification from the FTC? It’s a scam.

Thanks to emails and calls from people who sensed something wasn’t right, we’ve heard that an FTC imposter scam we’ve written about before is back. The email tells you there’s a complaint against your business, and wants you to click on a link. Here’s what one of the scammy emails said:

If the FTC comes to call

It’s a question we’re asked a lot. “What happens if I’m the target of an FTC investigation involving data security?” We understand – no one wants to get that call. But we hope we can shed some light on what a company can expect.

First things first. All of our investigations are nonpublic. That means we can’t disclose whether anyone is the subject of an investigation. The sources of a data security investigation can be news reports, complaints from consumers or other companies, requests from Congress or other government agencies, or our own initiative.

Sham charity operators turn the Big C into a Big Con

If you know someone with cancer, you may have considered donating to a cancer-related charity. Many legitimate charities use donations to find treatments and cures. Some support patients and families. But there also are bogus charities that lie, exploit your generosity, and use donations to help their managers, their friends, and their families, not the causes described to donors.