When women are targeted for scams

Women make up slightly more than half of the US population, according to the US Census Bureau. Which means that about half of the people affected by the big cases we bring – say, against AT&T for throttling “unlimited” data, ASUSTek for security flaws in their routers, or Lumosity for overstating the science behind their brain training games – are women.

Except that sometimes, offers – and scams – are targeted. Maybe to Spanish-speakers. Or older adults. Or people looking for work. Or women. It’s Women’s History Month, and here’s a look at the work we’ve done to shut down scammers who targeted women during the past few years:

  • All that glitters: Oro Marketing was a telemarketer that targeted Spanish-speaking women with the “opportunity” to sell brand-name products for a profit. The goods delivered (cash on delivery) were unusable junk, and when people tried to refuse shipment or return the goods, the company harassed and threatened them. The good news? The company and its owner are now forever banned from doing business in the telemarketing industry.
  • Revenge porn: You read that correctly. Craig Brittain solicited sexually explicit pictures – mostly of women, posted them on his website, and sometimes included the person’s name, address, email, and phone number. He then offered a service (also run by him) where someone could pay hundreds of dollars to have their images removed. The FTC shut down the website and forced him to destroy all the images.
  • Magic underwear: Two companies ran ads claiming that their caffeine-infused shapewear would take inches off hips and thighs, and reduce the appearance of cellulite. And sometimes, according to the FTC, they didn’t have the science to back those claims. The companies had to make partial refunds and promise not to make unsubstantiated claims again.
  • “Revolutionary formula”: Lunada Biomedical’s ads told women over 40 that Amberen would relieve symptoms of menopause and perimenopause – including weight gain and hot flashes. Except, according to the FTC, they didn’t have the scientific evidence to support those claims. This case is ongoing.

Those are just a few of the cases we’ve brought where women were the targets. When you see a scam, tell us. Every report makes a difference.

This article by the FTC was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.