If you’ve listened to the radio, glanced at a pop-up ad or checked your spam folder, you’ve no doubt been subjected to highly questionable ads that guarantee you “free” iPods or iPads if you do a whole lot of fine print stuff, and more. Apple is fed up with being associated with such offers, and is attempting to shut them down. [More]
Law enforcement officials and child advocacy groups say the Super Bowl is a prime occasion for child prostitution, with pimps taking advantage of the influx of tourists, money and mayhem to sell sex with underage prostitutes. [More]
If you were planning on picking up a sturdy switchblade or gravity knife from one of the Home Depots in NYC for your next home improvement project, or because you wanted to stab someone, you should note that they’re no longer available. That’s because last week, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office persuaded that store and 13 other retailers to stop selling such knives. They’re generally illegal in New York, and the retailers have agreed to surrender their inventory and forfeit any profits they made from illegal knife sales over the past four years. [More]
Frustrated at the number of marijuana dispensaries that have sprouted up since voters allowed its legal medical use in 1996, the L.A. City Council today voted to shut down the majority of them and relocate the rest to the industrial zones. Mayor Villaraigosa will have to sign the ordinance before it goes into effect. [More]
William wrote to us this weekend to point out how little Microsoft does to fight phishing attacks on their hugely popular Xbox LIVE network. It’s unfortunate they don’t take this sort of crime more seriously, since so many kids—who by all rights should have less experience with phishing—are on Xbox LIVE. Below is what two different Xbox CSRs told William when he contacted them to complain about phishing attacks.
Yesterday, as part of “Operation Loan Lies,” the FTC and 19 states filed 189 lawsuits, cease-and-desist orders, and other legal actions to shut down loan modification consultants who prey on desperate homeowners. The scammers offer to help solve foreclosure problems for a hefty fee; instead, they fail to modify the loan at all while collecting payments for their services, sometimes even encouraging homeowners to stop communicating with their lenders completely or to send payments to the consultants instead of the bank.
Los Angeles seems to have a lot of trouble policing commerce-related things. Advertisers put up $100,000 illegal billboards overnight and never have to take them down, and now apparently medical marijuana stores are running rampant. The Los Angeles times says that since the city enacted a moratorium on new dispensaries in 2007, the number has grown from 186 to more than 600.
The iPhone blog says that AT&T is going to start contacting iPhone owners who aren’t using an official iPhone data plan and force them to sign up for one. The crackdown supposedly starts tomorrow in the Atlanta and Austin markets, and expands nationwide by the end of the month.
Subway spokesman and occasional thin guy Jared Fogle may soon be out of work thanks to a new FTC rule banning commercial testimonials that warn “results not typical” or “individual results may vary.” Under the new rule, marketers using, say, body builders to advertise weight loss pills are also going to have to show an average lardass whose results might be more typical. You can guess how advertisers are reacting to the change…
As part of their inquiry, FTC staff made undercover purchases from the sites. No one asked the clandestine buyers to provide verification of a prescription and the shipped drugs did not include doctors’ instructions or dosage information, officials said.
Here’s something everyone can be thankful for—the Chinese, Europeans, and tangentially everyone in America and the rest of the world who have spent the better part of last year dodging lead bullets from the factory nation. The European Union’s consumer chief has said that China has made “quantum leaps” in improving its safety protocols, and will therefore not face a ban in the EU.
Worried that the whole tainted export thing might further poison their image, China this week revoked the export licenses of 750 toy factories citing quality control problems. The move came just as the Senate Commerce Committee passed the CPSC Reform Act, which would strengthen domestic toy safety standards and impose penalties of up to $100 million on companies that sell dangerous toys.
Despite the announcement of the license suspensions, Chinese regulators said 99 percent of toy exports in southern Guangdong Province, near Hong Kong, met quality standards.