Assistant Director, Consumer & Business Education, FTC
FTC staff has a proud history of collaborating with legal services and victims’ rights groups, sharing legal resources and information and training hundreds of advocates throughout the country about a number of important consumer protection issues. Along the way, we’ve gotten many questions about how to help people reduce their risk of identity theft — and how to help them recover from the crime.
Drumroll, please! We've got a new national hero, or rather, heroes. Judges for the FTC Robocall Challenge selected two winners to share the $50,000 prize for Best Overall Solution to block illegal robocalls. Serdar Danis and Aaron Foss will each receive $25,000 for their proposals. Additionally, judges selected Daniel Klein and Dean Jackson from Google for the Robocall Challenge Technology Achievement Award. Organizations that employ 10 or more people were eligible for the Technology Achievement Award — there's no monetary prize, but there's all the glory that a National Hero status brings.
If you've ever gotten a text message on your cell phone telling you that you've won a free prize, you're not alone. During the past year, the FTC has gotten tens of thousands of complaints about unsolicited text messages.
Acting Director, Bureau of Consumer Protection, FTC
National Consumer Protection Weeks begins today, and it’s the biggest and best NCPW in 15 years. Thanks to 64 federal, state and local agencies and nonprofits that are putting the spotlight on the critical consumer protection work they do year-round, consumers have easy access to a tremendous variety of timely, useful information about recognizing and reporting frauds and scams, managing credit and debt, using technology, and staying healthy and safe.
If you’re thinking about applying for an online payday loan, you might be dealing with a direct lender – or you might be dealing with a loan aggregator. A direct lender lends you the money; a loan aggregator is a middleman – a company that collects your personal and financial information on a loan application and shops it around to lenders who might offer you a loan.
Tax season is here. It’s time to get your files and forms in order. You may be well-versed in W-2s and 1099’s, but do you know that an identity thief can mess up your tax files or even get to your tax refund before you can file for it?
You read the news to get the facts. But what happens when that “newsy” site isn’t news at all?
A company that used fake news sites to push acai berry supplements and other weight loss products has agreed to settle FTC charges. The agency has already stopped others that used wanna-be news sites and phony testimonials from supposed reporters to push their products. The M.O. is to make people think the site — and the reporters — are part of legitimate and trusted news organizations, name-dropping CNN and Consumer Reports, among others, to add credibility. But the fact is the sites were ads, masquerading as news.
Last October, the FTC challenged innovators to create solutions to block those annoying — and illegal — robocalls. We’re happy to announce that we received 744 eligible submissions before the FTC Robocall Challenge closed on January 17, 2013. You can check out a brief description of each entry in the Challenge submission gallery. Way to go, innovators!