Scam Alerts

The telltale signs of a pyramid scheme

What’s the difference between a multilevel marketing program and a pyramid scheme? Pyramid schemes are illegal.

If the money you earn is based on your sales to the public, the company may be a legitimate multilevel marketing plan. Here are some signs that the company is operating a pyramid scheme: Continue Reading >

Lights out for fake utility bill collectors

The caller sounds convincing: If you don’t pay your utility bills immediately, your gas, electricity or water will be shut off. They ask you to pay using a specific — and unusual — method.

Be warned: The call probably is a trick to steal your money.

The Federal Trade Commission, state and local consumer protection agencies, and utility companies have gotten a slew of complaints from consumers about utility bill scams. Here are a few signs you may be dealing with a scammer: Continue Reading >

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Scam Alerts

Dreams Deferred

When Langston Hughes wrote about a dream deferred (and asked whether it dries up like a raisin in the sun), he wasn’t necessarily thinking of scams. But many Spanish speakers found their immigration dreams deferred (if not ended) and their money taken by a Baltimore-based couple who promised help with immigration services. Continue Reading >

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Scam Alerts

“Pending FTC complaint” emails are fakes

Have you gotten an email with the subject line “Pending consumer complaint” that looks like it came from the FTC? The email warns that a complaint against you has been filed with the FTC. It asks you to click on a link or attachment for more information or to contact the FTC.

These emails pull out all the stops to look official: They have an FTC seal, references to the “Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA)” and a “formal investigation,” and what look like real FTC links. The truth is that they’re fakes. Continue Reading >

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Scam Alerts

Fake IRS collectors are calling

This time of year is often taxing for many consumers. Scams aimed at stealing taxpayers’ money make the season more stressful. Continue Reading >

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Scam Alerts

Mind your business (opportunity)

Many people dream about being their own boss. Controlling their own schedule, running things their way, and being in charge of their own earning potential? What’s not to love?

Chasing that dream wisely, though, means knowing the difference between a legitimate opportunity and a scam. Continue Reading >

Dialing for Dollars

There’s a new scam going around – and if your family name is from South Asia, there’s a chance you already know about it. If the scam sounds familiar, that’s because it’s been around for years, targeting one group, then another. Right now, the people being targeted seem to be from India and Pakistan; tomorrow: who can say? Continue Reading >

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Scam Alerts

We want to get your money back!

“They got me.”

If you’ve ever been taken in by a bogus product or service, that may be the first thing you think just as you get that sinking feeling in your stomach.

Fortunately, the FTC’s mission is to get them – the scammers and cheats – and to return the money they made back to you. Continue Reading >

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Scam Alerts

USCIS Recognizes National Consumer Protection Week

USCIS is celebrating National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) March 2-8, 2014. Each year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) coordinates NCPW to encourage consumers to take advantage of their consumer rights and make better-informed decisions.USCIS is committed to helping you avoid becoming victims of immigration scams. We want to provide customers with information on common scams as well as tips on how to avoid becoming a victim, obtain authorized legal services, and to report scam activity.A few common immigration scams include:  Continue Reading >

Get Smart: Protect Yourself, Your Friends and Your Family from ID Theft and Fraud

Identity theft is when someone steals your personal information and uses it pretending to be you, usually to get money but sometimes just to be mean. It can happen in many ways, but now that we have so much personal information on our computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones, these devices are tempting targets for ID thieves. They don’t even need to steal your phone or computer – they can get the information it contains without your even realizing it. And if they need more information about you, they may try to trick you into providing it. Continue Reading >

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