Blog topic: Avoid Scams

Get ready for National Consumer Protection Week!

It’s about that time again. Are you ready?

Every year, National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), encourages people and businesses to learn more about avoiding scams and understanding consumer rights. This year, NCPW takes place March 1-7, 2015. NCPW highlights free resources from government agencies and consumer organizations to help people make smarter buying decisions and spot rip-offs.

Don’t let tax scammers get away with it

Tax season is getting close — and for some people, so is an experience with tax identity theft or IRS imposters. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job. You usually find out something’s wrong after you file your tax return.

Also, IRS imposters work year-round — posing as the IRS when they call and say you owe taxes. They even threaten to arrest you if you don’t put money on a prepaid debit card and tell them the card number. They might know all or part of your Social Security number, and can fake caller ID information to make it look like it really is the IRS calling. But it’s not. Ever.

Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week logo

Blog Topic: Avoid Scams

How NOT to use a gift card

Thinking about giving a fancy new gadget as a holiday gift? Or maybe there’s something on your wish list that Santa forgot to bring? If so, you might be tempted by an ad for high-tech at a low price. But if a merchant other than asks you to pay using an Amazon gift card, it’s probably a scam. In fact, Amazon’s gift card terms don’t allow you to use Amazon gift cards to make payments anywhere besides and a few specific sites.

Blog Topic: Avoid Scams

Refunds for customers crammed by T-Mobile

Some current and former T-Mobile customers are about to get their money back.

As part of a $90 million dollar proposed settlement, T-Mobile is refunding customers who were unfairly billed third-party charges by the company.

Blog Topic: Avoid Scams

Package delivery scam — delivered to your inbox

Expecting packages shipped to your home this holiday season? You’re not the only one… scammers are, too.

Image of computer

Seen and heard: Diversity Visa Lottery scams

Many people around the world dream of getting a “Green Card” that allows them to live and work in the United States. The U.S. Department of State runs the Diversity Visa Immigrant Program, also known as the Diversity Visa Lottery. People from certain countries who apply and are selected in a lottery drawing could qualify to be “Lawful Permanent Residents.” Unfortunately, the FTC has seen websites that claim to be affiliated with the program, but are not.

What to know about webcam hackers

Have you seen news reports about foreign websites showing live feeds from unsecured wireless cameras — like nanny cams, baby monitors, and security cameras — in the U.S. and around the world? It’s creepy stuff, but there are steps you can take to protect your camera from prying eyes.

IP camera

Online sellers stung by scammers spoofing PayPal brand

Selling your used stuff online has become commonplace. So have scams taking advantage of the good names of reputable online companies. At the FTC, we’ve heard from people stung by scammers spoofing PayPal. The scam generally goes like this: You post a high-value item, like a used car, for sale online. In no time at all, you get an email from a buyer willing to pay full price — or more! But he sets conditions; he is only willing to pay by PayPal or insists the sale must happen right away. What’s really going on? A ruse to steal your personal information, money or merchandise.

Here are some suspicious situations to look for and steps to safe selling online.

Blog Topic: Avoid Scams

FTC cracks down on tech support scams

“Your computer is damaged ... we’ll help you fix it.” It’s the latest twist on tech support scams: Scammers sell software online that claims to increase your computer’s performance. They lure you to their websites with pop-up ads or web searches. Then, they tell you to call a phone number to activate or register the software. On the phone, they ask for remote access to your computer and then tell you that your computer has many errors that need to be fixed immediately.

Free pizza? Nope — just free malware

It’s Pizza Hut’s 55th anniversary, the email says, and you can join in the celebration by getting a free pizza at any of its restaurants. Just click on the “Get Free Pizza Coupon” button.

Don’t do it. There’s no free pizza. Clicking on the coupon will just install malware on your computer.