It's a world full of scams out there, and as times get tougher the scams seem to come faster and smarter.
Who's there to counter the forces of hoax? In the government, that task falls primarily to the Federal Trade Commission.
Of course, the FTC doesn't have the dollars to compete for air time with the likes of that one singing offer for free credit reports, or with the army of mortgage scammers, home-repair hucksters and exiled Nigerian princes.
But it does have some video style of its own and has produced a serious of videos on various consumer topics, available on the FTC YouTube channel or at www.ftc.gov/video.
As for the credit reports, if you live in a place with airwaves you've probably seen that lovable guitar-playing slacker singing in a variety of demeaning locations, apparently as a result of failing to keep tabs on his credit.
But that particular service gets takers to sign up for a credit monitoring service, for a monthly fee--although you can charge that.
The government-sanctioned, truly free credit-checking site is AnnualCreditReport.com, as described in this FTC video.
The FTC also has videos on identity theft, mortgage scams, phishing and several other issues--even cancer treatment scams.
And particularly effective is a series, "Real People, Real Stories," that has people tell their actual stories of financial problems, the threat of foreclosure and the sometimes-fraudulent "foreclosure rescue" services that only made the problem worse.
The FTC may not reach everybody, but it's working to online, and with DVDs distributed where people who need them might get to see them.
So for looking out for little guys in a predatory world--and for leveraging their resources with creativity and good storytelling--FTC.gov/video is the Government Video Website of the Week!
Read more about the FTC's video efforts and distribution network in the March issue of Government Video.
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