FTC Blogs

Government imposter scams top the list of reported frauds

Pretending to be someone people trust is what scammers do. They may claim to be a well-known company or a beloved family member, but data from the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network suggest that pretending to be the government may be scammers’ favorite ruse. Since 2014, the FTC has gotten nearly 1.3 million reports about government imposters. That’s far more than any other type of fraud reported in the same timeframe. This spring, monthly reports of government imposter scams reached the highest levels we have on record.1

FTC sends $11.6 million to small businesses stung by supply "unvoices"

On her Control album, Janet Jackson posed the musical question, “What have you done for me lately?” It’s a fair question for small businesses to ask the FTC and the most recent answer would be “Sent 29,333 refund checks averaging $396 and totaling $11.6 million to companies and nonprofits tricked into paying invoices  unvoices, really – for merchandise they didn’t order.” While we’re on the subject, t

FTC sues marketers of student loan “debt relief” – and financer who helped it happen

Every spring at colleges across the country, many graduates receive a diploma in their hand – and an albatross around their neck. The burden of student loan debt weighs heavily on American families. And given the pressures on cash-strapped employees, businesses say they’re paying a price in productivity.

Making CBD health claims? Careful Before Disseminating

Companies and consumers are talking in a different way these days about cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical compound derived from the cannabis plant. But even as the conversation changes, one thing remains the same. Before making claims about purported health effects of CBD products, advertisers need sound science to support their statements.

$170 million FTC-NY YouTube settlement offers COPPA compliance tips for platforms and providers

Had you asked yesterday, we would have said the largest financial remedy for violations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Rule was $5.7 million. Today’s $170 million total monetary judgment against YouTube and its parent company Google raises the stakes when it comes to COPPA compliance. Filed jointly with the New York Attorney General’s Office, the record-breaking FTC settlement offers three primary takeaways for other companies.

Settlement with operator of post-secondary schools offers an education about lead generation

Colleges are known for team sports, but it’s an unfortunate fact that consumer deception can be a team sport, too. A proposed FTC settlement with Career Education Corporation, American InterContinental University, Colorado Technical University, and related defendants alleges they used illegal game plans to lure consumers to their post-secondary and vocational schools.

Where is your online search leading you?

Dishonest companies set up websites that look like legitimate places to get information on finding a job, joining the military, or getting government benefits. But they might not help you with any of those things. Instead, they’ll take your personal information and sell it to other companies. The companies that buy those “leads” then try to pitch you products or services you didn’t ask for.