FTC Blogs

FTC to Small Businesses: Gather Round

Legend has it that King Arthur gathered his knights at a round table. Because the table had no head, it signaled that everyone seated at it was respected, and their contributions were welcome. At the FTC, we love the concept of a round table. It's a way to bring together stakeholders for a mutually beneficial discussion.

Refunding $10 million after tech support scam

The FTC is mailing partial refunds to about 37,000 people who bought unnecessary tech support products and services from Inbound Call Experts, also known as Advanced Tech Support. People are eligible for refunds if they bought the company’s products and services between April 2012 and November 2014, and filed a refund claim with the FTC before October 27, 2017.

Bitcoin + online chain referral = illegal scheme

Ever get a chain letter in the mail or online? Then you know the drill — you send money to a person at the top of the list, then take their name off and add yours to the bottom before sending the letter to more people. If the letters keep going, you’re supposed to make money as your name moves up the list. In fact, most people are guaranteed to lose money. Chain letters have been around for decades. Today’s twist: online chain referral schemes involving cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and Litecoin.

It’s time for a FTC Blockchain Working Group

Today, the FTC announced a lawsuit against four individuals alleging that they have promoted one or more fraudulent “chain referral schemes.” Such schemes are not new – in fact, the FTC has brought chain referral cases for years. What makes today’s announcement interesting is that the alleged schemes used bitcoin, a cryptocurrency.

Got Toys"R"Us gift cards?

If you’ve been following the news, you’ve probably seen that the iconic Toys"R"Us is winding down its business operations in the U.S., and closing its stores across the country, including stores in Puerto Rico. At this time, according to Toys"R"Us, you have only until April 15, 2018 to use your Toys"R"Us gifts cards.

Military Consumers and Sentinel: A deeper dive

Last week, we gave you an overview of the latest Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book. Today, let’s look a bit more closely at the data from military consumers. We got more than 113,000 reports from military consumers in 2017. Although not all of them gave details about their military status,more than 28,000 are servicemembers, their family members, and inactive Reserve or National Guard, and more than 78,000 are military retirees or veterans. Here are a few interesting take-aways.

1,000 posts, but who’s counting? (We are, actually.)

When the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection started the Business Blog in 2010, we promised readers “a minimum of ho-hum, a maximum of how-to, and as little yadda yadda yadda as a legal website can manage.” More than 1,000 Business Blog posts later and we’re still striving to keep things engaging and enlightening (although being a legal website and all, we’ve succeeded is cutting out only two of the yaddas).

FTC continues to crack down on student loan scams

A lot of us have student loans – and some of us have trouble paying them every month. Some companies claim to resolve that issue by saying they can help you pay them down quicker, cheaper or get them forgiven altogether. Be cautious – some of these companies are running scams. Here are some tips to avoid student loan repayment scams: