FTC Collects $3.5 Million From TeleCheck For Failing To Investigate Disputes Or Correct Errors

FTC Collects $3.5 Million From TeleCheck For Failing To Investigate Disputes Or Correct Errors

One of the nation’s largest check authorization service companies is going to be cutting a rather large check to settle charges made by the Federal Trade Commission. [More]

(Lenka Reznicek)

Medical Alert Device Robocalls Scammed $13 Million From Elderly

Unwanted robocalls are bad enough. But there’s a special place (not a good place, either) for companies that use robocalls to scam the elderly out of their savings. One Orlando-based operation, accused of scamming $13 million from senior citizens, now has a confirmed reservation in that special place. [More]

(matt coats)

No, You Did Not Just Win $2 Million: FTC Sues To Stop Scammy Sweepstakes Letters

“OH MY GOD, MOM! YOU WON $2 MILLION!” I may or may not have screamed at my mother at some point in my youth, while brandishing an envelope with that very same claim emblazoned across it. But my mother didn’t join in celebration, because she like, everyone else who gets those letters, didn’t win a dime. The Federal Trade Commission has now sued to stop what it calls a massive sweepstakes scam responsible for bilking more than $11 million from people in the U.S. and around the world. [More]

Judge says he's been spending money he didn't want the FTC to know about.

Judge Jails TV Pitchman Kevin Trudeau So He’ll Cooperate In Fraudulent Infomercial Case

How do you make a slippery late-night TV pitchman sit still and behave? If you’re a federal judge fed up with Kevin Trudeau’s shenanigans you put him in jail. Trudeau has reportedly flouted court orders to pay millions in fines stemming from fraudulent infomercials, and now the judge says he’s been spending money on stuff like cigars and fancy meat when he shouldn’t be. [More]

(the idealist)

What Does It Actually Mean For A Product To Be “Green” Or “Environmentally Friendly”?

When you see a product with the image of a smiling planet wrapped in green, leafy foliage and touting its “eco-friendly” quality, what do you think? Probably something like, “Oh, that’s probably good for the environment or can be recycled or something?” You aren’t alone in your confusion/generalization — even though the Federal Trade Commission updated its Green Guides for environmental advertising, plenty of people are still hazy on the whole idea. [More]

Buyers Of Not-So-Magic Cold And Weight Loss Supplements To Receive Refunds From FTC

Buyers Of Not-So-Magic Cold And Weight Loss Supplements To Receive Refunds From FTC

There is no magic pill for weight loss, not even if that pill contains a tapeworm. Yet companies keep introducing and marketing such pills, because we’re human and like to eat ice cream sandwiches and wish that such a thing existed. People who bought one not-so-magic supplement are getting refund checks this week from the Federal Trade Commission. [More]


FTC: Webcam Company’s Lax Security Led To Invasions Of Privacy

It’s all fun and Internet-connected games until someone gets spied on, says the Federal Trade Commission in a recent action it’s taking to protect consumers from seemingly innocent digital devices. The Internet of Things makes it so we can be online all the time, with our appliances, vehicles and many other objects we interact with on a daily basis. But the FTC is warning customers about webcams from TRENDnet that might not be so secure. [More]


Mortgage Broker To Pay Record $7.5M Penalty Over Allegations It Violated “Do Not Call” Rules

The Federal Trade Commission is marking the 10-year anniversary of the “Do Not Call” registry by announcing a $7.5 million civil penalty against a mortgage broker that had allegedly targeted U.S. servicemembers. It’s the largest fee the FTC has ever collected related to the Do Not Call provisions Telemarketing Sales Rule, and also serves as warning to companies trying to push deceptive mortgage ads. [More]

(the idealist)

FTC Initiative Wants You To “Reclaim Your Name” From Big Data Brokers

We all know that there are companies out there sucking up consumers’ information and selling it — sometimes to people or entities they shouldn’t — but what no one really knows is exactly who has that data. While there are a few ways for consumers to check activity data on specific sites, there’s no catch-all resource for people to go to and see what their name/info is up to. The Federal Trade Commission wants to change that with a “Reclaim Your Name” proposal. [More]


FTC To Google: Hang On A Minute While We Investigate This Waze Deal

Google might want to start trying to pour the bubbly it poured over its $1.1 billion acquisition of social mapping company Waze back into the bottle, at least until the Federal Trade Commission is done with its antitrust review of the deal. The company confirmed that it’s been contacted by antitrust lawyers from the FTC, which isn’t a surprise. You take one huge company and have it buy up another smaller one, and the FTC will be there. [More]


Kellogg Finally Settles “Frosted Mini-Wheats Don’t Make You Smarter” Class Action Lawsuit

Way back in 2009, Kellogg Company reached an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission to stop advertising its Frosted Mini-Wheats cereal as some kind of magical brain booster that would make kids smarter. But it’s taken four years for that issue to finally be put to bed after finally reaching a $4 million settlement in a class action lawsuit related to the same advertising. [More]


FTC Handing Out $1.7M In Refunds To Victims Of “Free Government Grant” Scam

Reminder: Just because the President’s face is on a web site that’s offering products ostensibly related to the government, it doesn’t make it true. Way back in 2009 the Federal Trade Commission put the smackdown on a bunch of sites that were selling products that would help consumers get free government grant money. Thing is, the government had nothing to do with it, and didn’t much appreciate being used in such a way. Some 22,764 consumers are now set to get refunds in the case. [More]


FTC Says Social Media Ads Have To Be Held To Same Rules As Traditional Ads

One of the important duties held by the Federal Trade Commission is making sure ads don’t mislead consumers. Yesterday the FTC set out clear rules for short-form ads on social media like Twitter and Facebook as well. Namely, they have to be held to the same basic requirement as other advertising — be upfront about what’s going on. [More]


FTC Says It’s Got 744 Ideas On How To Stop Robocalls & Turning Off The Phone Isn’t One

Spurred on not only by the reward of finally ending those dagnabbed robocalls, but also a $50,000 prize, consumers submitted 744 ideas to the Federal Trade Commission in its FTC Robocall Challenge. Considering how widespread our collective annoyance is with the phone nuisances, we sure do hope one of these succeeds. [More]

(AJ Brustein)

Food Companies Have Figured Out How To Market To Kids: Smartphones, Duh

If you’re suddenly hearing things from your kids like, “Mommy, can I please have a [insert food item child has never, ever asked for before]?” just look at the piece of electronic gadgetry in your child’s hands. Food marketers have wised up to the fact that kids these days are getting smartphones younger and younger, and subsequently becoming glued to the devices early on. Ah, nothing like a captive audience to get your ad campaign across. [More]


Web Site Operator Fined $1M For Using Kids’ Love Of Justin Bieber To Illegally Collect Their Info

The teeming, screaming masses of fans in love with Justin Bieber, Rihanna or Demi Lovato are young and Internet savvy, and a tempting demographic for businesses. The thing is, you can try to market to those kids but you can’t collect their personal information without parental permission, which is why the operator of fan Web sites for those three musicians has to pay $1 million for running afoul of Federal Trade Commission rules. [More]

FTC Goes After Marketers Hawking Natural Remedies For Bed Bug & Head Lice Problems

FTC Goes After Marketers Hawking Natural Remedies For Bed Bug & Head Lice Problems

If you’ve ever had bed bugs or known anyone who’s endured an infestation, you know what a nightmarishly awful, stressful and expensive problem it can be. That’s why the Federal Trade Commission doesn’t want two companies to prey on consumer distress by offering up natural remedies for bedbugs and head lice if they’re not really that effective at getting rid of the critters. [More]

Advocacy Groups Claim Companies Are Using Online Games To Turn Kids Into Tiny Marketers

Advocacy Groups Claim Companies Are Using Online Games To Turn Kids Into Tiny Marketers

Playing a game online might seem like an innocent enough activity for a kid, but what if said game is run by McDonald’s and asks for the child’s email address at the end, while encouraging them to share the experience with their friends? That sounds a lot like marketing to kids and using them as tiny marketers without parental consent. So say advocacy groups that are urging the Federal Trade Commission to crack down on companies soliciting email addresses from kids. [More]