It's National Consumer Protection Week!

It's National Consumer Protection Week!

The FTC has designated this week National Consumer Protection Week, so all scams will be put on hold and businesses won’t overcharge you until next Sunday. What, no? That’s now how it works? Ah… it looks like it’s more about consumer education, which is also a good thing since that will help consumers protect themselves year round. For adults, here’s a whole page of various scam prevention tips, fact sheets, and videos. If you’re an educator, you can enroll in the National Financial Capability Challenge and get an “educator toolkit” to help you teach students how to be smart consumers. There’s a section for businesses too, with information on how to protect customers’ personal info and deter ID theft. [More]

Don't Fall For Job Scams

Don't Fall For Job Scams

The Federal Trade Commission has a website at www.ftc.gov/jobscams with information on the types of scams you’re likely to find in Help Wanted listings. They’ve also put together a short video (below) that describes how scammers try to charge job hunters fees to pay for job certification, or to provide access to executive-level interviews, or to acquire study materials that are supposedly crucial to passing a hiring exam. It’s a good refresher course in what to look out for when you’re answering ads. [More]

Beware Online Discounts That Vanish As You Check Out

Beware Online Discounts That Vanish As You Check Out

Omie Ismail at LiveCheap warns online shoppers to look out for discounts that disappear before you finalize purchases. [More]

Don't Let An Unknown Caller Talk You Into Downloading Software

Don't Let An Unknown Caller Talk You Into Downloading Software

In the wide world of scams, this combination of a phone call and computer malware is sort of a novel twist. Jay likes to string phone scammers along to waste their time, so he managed to get quite a few details about how this particular scam works. If you’ve got naive family members with access to computers, either take away their computers or tell them never to download software from a stranger on the phone. [More]

Is This Captcha Code Trying To Tell Us Something?

Is This Captcha Code Trying To Tell Us Something?

A Consumerist reader writes, “So it’s been a while. I’m starting to get desperate. Why don’t I check out a new dating site I just heard about? My first concern is always, ‘Is it a scam site or is it real? What happens to my credit card info if it is a scam?’ So in the process of signing up, I received this warning.” Look on the bright side, OP, at least it didn’t make you type “Herpes.” [More]

Scams That Came Of Age In 2009

Scams That Came Of Age In 2009

Get-poor-quickly schemes abounded in 2009, and Mark Huffman Consumer Affairs sifted through the best of the best to come up the top 10 scams of 2009. [More]

H1N1 Phishing Email Making The Rounds

H1N1 Phishing Email Making The Rounds

The Centers for Disease Control have issued a warning that there’s a new, swine flu-themed phishing email going around. It says something about an imaginary State Vaccination H1N1 Program, and asks you to create an account on the cdc.gov website–and if you click the link, malicious code may be installed on your system. Obviously you have brain worms if you fall for this. [More]

You Can't Use A Barnes & Noble Gift Card For Ebooks

You Can't Use A Barnes & Noble Gift Card For Ebooks

Update: Barnes & Noble says they’re changing this policy. If you or someone you know is getting a nook, Barnes & Noble’s version of the Kindle, this year and you want to use a gift card to fill it with books, forget it. For mysterious reasons, the retailer won’t allow it. (By contrast, Amazon does.)

Chase Raises Interest Rate On Closed Account

Chase Raises Interest Rate On Closed Account

David closed his Chase credit card account instead of accepting a rate increase earlier this year. That should have been the end of it, but it turned out Chase later went ahead and increased the interest rate anyway.

FTC Files Contempt Charge Against BlueHippo For Continuing To Rip Off Customers

FTC Files Contempt Charge Against BlueHippo For Continuing To Rip Off Customers

Today the FTC lodged a contempt charge against scammy no-credit-needed electronics seller BlueHippo, saying that the company hasn’t honored its prior agreement to stop scamming customers. BlueHippo agreed to pay back $3.5 million nearly two years ago to reimburse customers who never received the computers they pre-paid for, but the FTC says since then the company has sucked another $15 million out of customers.

Why You Shouldn't Let Telemarketers Help You Donate

Why You Shouldn't Let Telemarketers Help You Donate

Earlier this week we posted a warning to watch out for calls from people asking for donations on behalf of local police or fire departments. Today an alleged former employee—who says he quit after two days of training and one day of seeing what it was really like on the call center floor—wrote in to tell us a little more about how a company on the other side of that phone call works.

Don't Donate Money To Public Safety Organizations Over The Phone

Don't Donate Money To Public Safety Organizations Over The Phone

The website Consumer Affairs (which is not related to us or our owners in any way) is warning people in Oregon to watch out for calls from people asking for donations on behalf of local police or fire departments. It’s a good reminder to everyone that telephone solicitations should be ignored: “At best, the solicitor will probably take the lion’s share of your donation. At worst, the caller is an outright fraud,” the site reports.

Ameriprise Bans "Customer Advisor" For Posting Link To Consumerist

Ameriprise Bans "Customer Advisor" For Posting Link To Consumerist

Hey, we helped get an Ameriprise customer banned from the financial company’s consumer advisory panel! Sorry about that, Brendan.

Skimmers Rig Door Instead Of ATM

Skimmers Rig Door Instead Of ATM

Last week, a customer in Long Beach, New York, discovered a skimmer attached to the outside of a local ATM branch instead of on specific machines. We’ve talked a lot about being wary of any suspicious add-ons at the ATM, but in this case the criminals were collecting card info as people swiped to enter the building—although they still had pinhole cameras set up to record PINs next to each keypad.

Beware Scammers Installing City-Mandated "Whole House Water Systems"

Beware Scammers Installing City-Mandated "Whole House Water Systems"

A city in Florida has just warned its residents of a weird scam: someone’s been hanging pink notices on doors around town that say, “Due to the water quality in this area, we will be installing whole-house water treatment systems.” You’re supposed to fill out the back of the notice and leave it out for further contact. Remember, don’t let anyone remodel your home on behalf of the city. It probably goes without saying, but still.

Ameriprise Website Riddled With Security Vulnerabilities For At Least Five Months

Ameriprise Website Riddled With Security Vulnerabilities For At Least Five Months

[Note: The original headline for this post mistakenly identified Ameritrade as the subject of the post. It is actually Ameriprise Financial. I deeply regret the error.] Since March of this year, security expert Russ McRee of HolisticInfoSec.org has sent 6 messages to Ameriprise Financial warning them of easily exploitable security holes on their website. They ignored every request, while at the same time reassuring customers that “No one without the proper web browser configuration can view or modify information contained on our systems.”

Beware Fake Gift Card Balance Websites

Beware Fake Gift Card Balance Websites

A reader just ran into a gift card scam while trying to unload an Apple gift card via CraigsList. If you’re directed to a website that asks you to put in your gift card information in order to show the balance as “proof” that you’re legit, you’re being conned.

Wave Of Fake Debt Collectors Hints At Possible Data Breach

Wave Of Fake Debt Collectors Hints At Possible Data Breach

The Better Business Bureau has released a warning to be aware of scammers calling to threaten people with arrest “within the hour” for defaulting on payday loans. What makes them stand out from normal debt collecting scammers is these callers have huge amounts of personal info on their victims, including Social Security and drivers license numbers; old bank account numbers; names of employers, relatives, and friends; and home addresses.