New FTC site helps protect you against scams - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

New FTC site helps protect you against scams

SPOKANE, Wash. - The recent wave of foreclosures has given rise to a new crime wave.

Companies who claim to be able to "rescue" homeowners from foreclosure, but end up ripping off consumers.

Victims sometimes fall prey to companies that sound like the government-backed Hope Now Alliance.

"They offer desperate consumers what they think is a quick fix and typically what they do is they take your money. They do little or nothing and consumers end up losing their home. They make a bad situation worse," said Len Gordon of the Federal Trade Commission.

In addition to cracking down on such operations, the Federal Trade Commission launched a new website with tips and warning signs for consumers.

It's called Money Matters.

"The idea is to give consumers some confidence in one place that they can go for important information regarding their credit, regarding their house, regarding job scams," Gordon said.

Like those work at home offers promising big bucks but often, you have to pay a fee to get started.

"One of the things that all of these scams across the board have in common is almost all of them want a big upfront fee. And that's one thing that consumers should really be alert for," Gordon said.

The site has tabs on scams, credit cards, managing your money, dealing with debt, your home and jobs.

"For the most part, fraud prays on consumers not knowing what's going on and not understanding what's happening. So if we can get the consumer educated, it's much harder for the bad guys to convince the consumer to fork over their money," Gordon said.

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