FTC cracks down on scammers amid economic downturn - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

FTC cracks down on scammers amid economic downturn

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WASHINGTON. - The sour economy has become a sweet time for scam artists.

The Federal Trade Commission says it's getting tough on a new wave of cons.

The FTC has been tracking these types of scams for years, but they've noted a sharp rise in complaints that coincides with the recession.

"Rising unemployment, shrinking credit, record-setting foreclosures, and disappearing retirement accounts are causing consumers tremendous anxiety about making ends meet," said David Vladeck of the Federal Trade Commission.

The economic downturn is creating a boom for con artists and the Federal Trade Commission says it's working to put them out of business.

"Their scams promise jobs, access to free government grant money or the chance to make a living by working at home. But these promises deliver nothing. They raise people's hopes and then they drive them deeper into a hole," Vladeck said.

The FTC and 14 states have joined forces in a crackdown dubbed Operation Short Change, going after scammers who use everything from print ads and automated phone calls to the Internet and TV.

"These schemes target men and women, urban and rural communities, people of all backgrounds," Assistant Attorney General Tony West said.

The FTC says be careful if it sounds too good to be true.

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