Following disasters, Americans often rally to help. You may be considering ways you can provide assistance, like donating to a charity or fund. Unfortunately, in times like these, legitimate charities face competition from scammers who either collect for a charity that doesn’t exist or aren't honest about how their “charity” will use the money you give. The Federal Trade Commission offers these tips to help ensure that contributions reach those who need them.
Children's Online Privacy Protection
The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), passed by Congress in October 1998, requires the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to issue and enforce rules concerning children's online privacy. The FTC issued the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule in November 1999; it has been in effect since April 21, 2000. The Rule's primary goal: to place parents in control over what information is collected from their children online. Learn more about the Chlidren's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
Computers and Technology (On Guard)
Practical tips from the federal government and the technology industry to help you be on guard against Internet fraud, secure your computer, and protect your personal information. Learn more about protecting yourself against Internet fraud.
Credit and Insurance — Prescreened
Many companies that solicit new credit card accounts and insurance policies use prescreening to identify potential customers for the products they offer. Learn more about the FTC's prescreened offers of credit and insurance.
Credit and Loans
Almost every day, you are involved in some type of financial transaction requiring an educated decision — Whether you are shopping for a mortgage or auto loan, checking the accuracy of your credit report, dealing with debt collectors, or looking for ways to protect your personal financial information. Learn more about credit and loan information.
Cross-border fraud is a serious problem — and it appears to be growing. For example, consumers in the U.S. and other countries lose billions of dollars each year to telemarketers operating from "boiler rooms" across the border who pitch bogus products, services and investments. They also lose money to Internet scam artists who operate anonymously from places outside the U.S. The most common cross-border frauds pushed by telemarketers, spam emailers or misleading advertisements involve phony prize promotions, foreign lottery schemes, advance-fee loan rip-offs, travel offer scams, and unnecessary credit card loss "protection." Learn more about cross border fraud.
"Do Not Call" Registry
The National Do Not Call Registry gives you a choice about whether to receive telemarketing calls at home. Most telemarketers should not call your number once it has been on the registry for 31 days. If they do, you can file a complaint at the Federal Trade Commission website. You can register your home or mobile phone for free. Learn more about the National Do Not Call Registry from the Federal Trade Commission.
When a loved one dies, grieving family members and friends often are confronted with dozens of decisions about the funeral — all of which must be made quickly and often under great emotional duress. What kind of funeral should it be? What funeral provider should you use? Should you bury or cremate the body, or donate it to science? What are you legally required to buy? What other arrangements should you plan? And, as callous as it may sound, how much is it all going to cost? Learn more about consumer rights under the funeral rule.
Gas Saving Tips
Important information that can save you money: gas tank, driver's seat; steering wheel, under the hood, tires, and trunk. Learn more about saving gas.
Home Energy Savings
Whether you are buying a refrigerator, thinking about ways to reduce your home heating and cooling bills, or trying to save money on gas, there are ways that can save you money in every room of your home. Learn more about saving energy.
Are you taking steps to protect personal information? Safeguarding sensitive data in your files and on your computers is just plain good business. After all, if that information falls into the wrong hands, it can lead to fraud or identity theft. Learn more about protecting personal information.
Get the facts on how to invest wisely and avoid fraud. Be wary of swindlers and scam artists. Learn more about investing wisely and avoiding fraud.
Phony job opportunities, postal job scams, bogus work-at-home schemes, and fake charities are among the many types of postal fraud when they use the mail. Learn more about mail fraud schemes.
Office Supply Scams
Has your business ever been targeted by an office supply scam? Could it? Office supply fraud costs its victims — large and small businesses, as well as schools, government agencies, and nonprofit institutions — an estimated $200 million per year. These scams generally involve the deceptive sale of products that businesses purchase on a regular basis — like printer paper, copy toner, light bulbs or cleaning materials. Learn more about office supply scams.
Do you receive lots of junk email messages from people you don't know? It's no surprise if you do. As more people use email, marketers are increasingly using email messages to pitch their products and services. Some consumers find unsolicited commercial email - also known as "spam" – annoying and time consuming; others have lost money to bogus offers that arrived in their email in-box. Learn more about spam e-mail.
Weight Loss Scams
Misleading weight loss advertising is everywhere, preying on consumers desperate for an easy solution. But claims for diet products that promise weight loss without sacrifice or effort are bogus and, in some cases, dangerous. Learn more about misleading weight loss advertising.