News From Our Blog

Protecting servicemembers from predatory auto loans: Harry and Ari’s story

By Ashley Gordon, CFPB

Watch Harry and Ari’s story

Protecting consumers from predatory financial products and services is part of our mission and something we take very seriously. We received a Tell Your Story from the father of a servicemember that led to us opening an investigation into an auto loan program. The program, which targeted servicemembers, was found to have deceptive marketing and lending practices. The investigation led to an enforcement action against auto lenders requiring them to refund approximately $6.5 million to over 50,000 servicemembers. Ari, a servicemember, and his father Harry, shared their story with us, and here’s what they had to say:

 “It’s very important to speak up because there are people within the government that are there to help us get through challenging financial situations,” Harry said. “It’s very important for any citizen to speak up and just tell your story.” Ari mentioned that: “The fact that the CFPB took action in the name of servicemembers across the entire country… really shows us that someone’s in our corner.”

 We were glad to be there for Harry and Ari - they shared their story with us and got the help they needed. To learn more about their story, share your own, or find resources for servicemembers check out www.consumerfinance.gov/yourstory.

"Miracle" diet drugs, "All Natural" supplements - there are tons of health scams out there. Be aware and avoid them.

Beware: Scholarship and Financial Aid Scams

Scholarships and financial aid do not require upfront fees. While there are legitimate companies who will help guide you through the financial aid and college application process for a fee, disreputable companies may ask you for money up front and provide nothing in return. Red flags to watch out for include the following:

  • A “money-back guarantee” to secure a scholarship. Don’t believe it. Unscrupulous companies attach conditions that make it impossible to get the refund.

  • "Secret scholarships." If a company claims to have inside knowledge of scholarship money, they’re lying. Information on scholarships is available freely to the public. Ask your librarian or school counselor.

  • Telling students they’ve been selected as “finalists” for awards. If they ask for an up-front fee, head for the nearest exit.

  • Asking for a student’s checking account to “confirm eligibility.” If they want bank account information or your credit card number to confirm or reserve a scholarship, it’s a scam.

  • Quoting a relatively small “monthly” or “weekly” fee. Then asking for authorization to debit your checking account for an unspecified length of time. Ongoing fees are a sure sign of a scam.

  • Unsolicited offers. Whether it’s an e-mail, phone call, or it arrived in your mailbox, if you didn’t request the information, ignore the offer.


Learn more about education scams to avoid.

Consumers Beware: 5 Tips to Keep you Scam-Free this Summer

For the majority of Americans who plan to take a vacation, attend a concert, or work on their home or garden this summer, this season comes with its own unique consumer challenges. Here are the top five scams and frauds to be alert for this time of year:

  1. Don’t buy gas additives that claim to increase fuel mileage. Even though gas prices go up in the summer, the Environmental Protection Agency has not found any product that significantly improves gas mileage, and some could damage a car’s engine or increase exhaust emissions.

  1. Unlicensed home repair or landscaping contractors may come to your door to offer services. Always research contractors, pay for services upon completion—not ahead of time— and consider using a signed contract outlining the work to be done and the exact price.

  1. Interested in a summer concert or festival? If you buy tickets from a major vendor, remember surcharges and additional fees may be tacked onto the listed price. Some venues require the same credit card used to purchase tickets be presented when the tickets are picked up, so if you’re buying tickets for someone as a gift, they may have difficulty getting them at will-call.

  1. When renting a beach or lake house for vacation, make sure the property actually exists. Do your homework before paying— check out the owner or rental company, consult maps and read the lease carefully. Pay with an online payment service or a credit card so you can dispute the charges if something goes wrong.

  1. When flying, make sure you’re aware of the airline’s baggage charges and their policy when it comes to bumping passengers. A lot of airlines “bump” depending on how late you checked in, so check in ASAP!

For more advice on protecting your money, order the Consumer Action Handbook, and follow USA.gov on Facebook and Twitter. If you have your own consumer questions, ask us using the hashtag #AskMarietta, and we’ll answer them live during a Google hangout on Tuesday, June 24 at 3 p.m. ET.  

Don’t let your kids be victims.