FTC Blogs

FTC takes action against stalking apps

You know that eerie feeling that someone is following your every move? If someone secretly installed a “stalking app” or “stalkerware” sold by Retina-X Studios, LLC, onto your mobile device, that strange sensation could be way more than a feeling. A complaint against the developer and marketer alleges violations of the FTC Act and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Rule.

Charity fraud awareness, here and abroad

Today is the start of International Charity Fraud Awareness Week (ICFAW), a coordinated international effort to help charities and donors avoid charity fraud. The FTC joins state charities regulators across the country, the National Association of State Charities Officials (NASCO), and international partners in this campaign. By joining forces, we can reach more people and more charities with information and advice. Money lost to bogus charities and scammers means less donations to help those in need. And no one wants that, either here or abroad.

Great American Fake-Off? FTC cases challenge bogus influencer metrics and fake reviews

There isn’t a competition to find ways to use social media to mislead consumers. (At least we hope there isn’t.) But with apologies to fans of a certain British baking program, separate FTC actions just might qualify two companies as “Star Fakers” for fabricating followers and skewing reviews. The cases demonstrate why cooking up deceptive tactics could land your business on an episode of The Great American Fake-Off.

Cosmetic company wrote fake reviews

Do you rely on product reviews to decide if something is good enough to try or buy? Real product reviews are great at helping us make better informed decisions. But you might wonder if some of these reviews – on websites, in blogs and on social media – are from real customers who used the product. And you should, because some companies use fake reviews to paint a pretty picture and boost their bottom line.

Fake followers: A social media hoax

Influencers, celebrities and other people with strong online followings can be, well, influential. When considering whether you want to buy something or use a service – especially when you’re buying online – you might look at a person’s or company’s social media. A bigger following might mean something to you, maybe telling you something about their legitimacy or how good their product or service is.

Charity fraud awareness, here & abroad: How businesses can help charities defend against cyber threats

It’s International Charity Fraud Awareness Week, a global effort to help charities and donors avoid charity fraud. The FTC has united with state charities regulators, the National Association of State Charities Officials, and international partners in the campaign. By joining forces, we can reach more charities with information and advice. This year, the focus is on what charities can do to help defend against cyber threats.

What Do Not Call complaints are telling us

Have you gotten a call from an imposter, maybe someone pretending to be with the Social Security Administration, IRS, or a tech support company, this year? If so, you’re not alone. Calls from imposters were the most-reported topic of unwanted calls to the FTC over the past year (FY2019). You can see our annual report on Do Not Call complaints, with state-specific data. But here are some key takeaways.

Aloe, goodbye: company’s claims lacked proof

You may have heard of using aloe vera for sunburn relief. A Florida company claimed its aloe products would relieve joint and muscle pain, diabetes, acid reflux and more — and that health studies confirmed its claims. Not so, says the FTC. Under an FTC settlement, the company will pay a financial judgment of $537,000 and must stop making health related claims that aren’t supported by the necessary scientific evidence.