Consumers Lost $1.7B To Scams In 2014, Imposter Crimes On The Rise

Consumers Lost $1.7B To Scams In 2014, Imposter Crimes On The Rise

For the 15th consecutive year, identity theft topped the Federal Trade Commission’s list of top consumer complaints. But its reign could be coming to an end following a significant increase in the number of scams in which con artists impersonating government agents and law enforcement personnel part consumers from their money.
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200,000 Consumers (And Counting) Ask Their Phone Companies To Just Let Them Block Robocalls Already

200,000 Consumers (And Counting) Ask Their Phone Companies To Just Let Them Block Robocalls Already

You still hate robocalls. We still hate robocalls. And over 200,000 other Americans hate robocalls, too, and have signed on to a petition asking their phone companies to just roll out the darn tech to block them already. [More]

(evil robot 6)

SCOTUS: Dentists Can’t Bar Other Businesses From Offering Teeth-Whitening Services

When you want to get your pearly whites professionally polished to their pearliest and whitest, going to the dentist doesn’t have to be the only option, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled today. The justices had looked at a case brought by the Federal Trade Commission against a North Carolina state board dominated by dentists that the agency said had unlawfully excluded non-dentists from teeth-whitening services. [More]

MelApp is one of two melanoma detection apps that came under scrutiny by the FTC.

Feds Warn: These Melanoma Detection Apps Aren’t Supported By Scientific Evidence

Early detection of cancer can help save lives and make treatment easier, so the idea of mobile app that can spot possible skin might seem like a godsend… if there were any science to back it up. [More]

FTC: No Scientific Proof That Mosquito Shield Bands Actually Work

FTC: No Scientific Proof That Mosquito Shield Bands Actually Work

Mint oil smells very nice, but the marketing materials for Viatek’s Mosquito Shield Bands claimed that the plant substance can do more than perfume the air. Their plastic bands were supposed to use the oil to create a 5-foot mosquito-free zone around the wearer. Do they work? No, the Federal Trade Commission says. Not really. [More]

(Don Buciak II)

FTC Challenges Sysco Acquisition Of US Foods

Sysco’s in-person meetings with the Federal Trade Commission didn’t have the desired effect. The foodservice supply giant wanted approval for its planned acquisition of competitor U.S. Foods, but the FTC thinks that Sysco wants to gobble up too much of the market. The commissioners voted 3-2 to block the merger. [More]

(Dan Coulter)

Demand That Phone Companies Give Consumers Free Tools To Block Robocalls

While federal regulations and the Do Not Call list have significantly cut down on some auto-dialed, prerecorded messages, the problem of illegal robocalls still persists, mostly because scammers don’t care if they break the law. There are various technologies that phone companies could use to preempt even more of these calls but most consumers don’t have access to them. [More]

(mslavick)

Feds Warn That Claims Of Biodegradable Dog Poop Bags May Be Full Of… You Know

While some dog owners stick to tried-and-true methods of picking up their canine pals’ waste with the aid of plastic shopping bags, that’s a lot of plastic going into landfills. This is why there are several companies selling poo-collection bags labeled “biodegradable” or “compostable.” But the Federal Trade Commission is warning a number of the companies that make and market these products that they may be running afoul of laws against deceptive advertising. [More]

(gabster_ro)

Appeals Court Sides With FTC In POM Wonderful False Advertising Case

The Federal Trade Commission hasn’t let the bee out of its bonnet over health claims made by POM Wonderful that it says amount to deceptive advertising, having kept on the company’s case since 2010. Now, eight months after POM made its case before a federal appeals court that it’s not being misleading about the things its juice can do, the court is siding with the FTC. [More]

In this post from 2012, the site's operator boldly declares that the site is completely legal, and that he is indemnified. The bottom portion of this screengrab details the rules for sending in photos to the site.

No More Posting Of Nude Photos For Operator Of Revenge Porn Site

My co-workers tell me that there are plenty of websites out there with images and footage of naked people who agreed to be photographed in such revealing conditions. But there are also so-called “revenge porn” sites that post intimate personal photos and videos of people who didn’t consent. Facing a lawsuit from federal regulators, the operator of one such site has agreed to get out of the revenge porn business. [More]

This ad from 2012, cited in the FTC complaint, shows that TracFone did not even mention the possibility of data throttling in the fine print.

TracFone To Refund $40 Million To Customers For Deceptive “Unlimited” Data Claims

Beginning in 2009, TracFone began selling supposedly unlimited prepaid data plans for $45 under brands like Straight Talk, Net10, Simple Mobile, and Telcel America, but without clearly disclosing that users who went beyond certain monthly usage thresholds would have their data speeds throttled or cut off entirely. But today, in a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, TracFone has agreed to refund $40 million to affected customers. [More]

FTC: Totally Fine By Us If Phone Companies Block Robocalling Numbers

FTC: Totally Fine By Us If Phone Companies Block Robocalling Numbers

Robocalls suck. Everyone hates them. And yet despite decades of trying to deal with autodialers and phone spam, they’re still a big problem. The FCC wants to know if phone companies can block them getting to you. Phone companies say too bad, so sad, the rules mean we can’t block them… but the FTC now disagrees. [More]

(Photo: Blitzcat)

Senator Calls On Regulators To Take Closer Look At Rent-To-Own Stores

To people strapped for cash but looking to make a big-dollar purchase, the idea of financing that item through a rent-to-own store can be tempting. After all, most of us can afford $30/month, but not everyone has $900 on hand. But those monthly payments may go on for years, meaning you’ll pay double or triple the face-value of that purchase by the time you’re done. In the last decade, this rent-to-own model has become increasingly popular, especially among lower-income Americans. Now one U.S. Senator is asking federal regulators to keep a close eye on this retail industry. [More]

AT&T Says It Can’t Be Sued By FTC Over Throttling Of Unlimited Data Plans

AT&T Says It Can’t Be Sued By FTC Over Throttling Of Unlimited Data Plans

Last October, the Federal Trade Commission sued AT&T, alleging that the wireless company failed to adequately disclose to its “unlimited” data customers that it could throttle their network speeds and that this throttling could slow their data speeds by upwards of 90%. In a recent court filing, AT&T claims that the FTC doesn’t have the jurisdiction to bring this lawsuit in the first place. [More]

(photo: colonelchi)

Yelp Says That The FTC Investigation Of Yelp Is Complete

The Federal Trade Commission has received a lot of complaints about Yelp––more than 2,000 from 2008 through last spring. These led to what Yelp calls “a deep inquiry into our business practices” by the FTC, which has lasted almost a year. Today, Yelp announced that the feds have closed their investigation, and won’t be taking any action against Yelp regarding its business practices. [More]

T-Mobile, AT&T Customers Can Now Request Their $170M In Refunds From Cramming Settlements

T-Mobile, AT&T Customers Can Now Request Their $170M In Refunds From Cramming Settlements

Earlier this year, AT&T and T-Mobile both reached major settlements with federal regulators over the illegal practice of cramming: third-party charges snuck onto wireless customers’ bills without their authorization. Combined, the two settlements will put about $170 million back in consumers’ pockets. But in order to get money back, consumers first have to ask for it. [More]

Feds Tell Nissan Dealer To Stop Saying Buyers Can Get Out Of Current Lease For Only $1

Feds Tell Nissan Dealer To Stop Saying Buyers Can Get Out Of Current Lease For Only $1

Have you been looking to get a new car but you’re stuck in the lease on your current vehicle? A Nissan dealership in Texas has been advertising that it will get you out of your present lease for only one dollar, but the Federal Trade Commission says the fine print tells a very different story. [More]

In early ads for the PS Vita (see below for actual video), Sony claimed that you could easily pause your PlayStation 3 game and then pick up where you left off using your Vita. In truth, most PS3 games did not support this cross play and the pause-and-play functionality rarely worked as advertised.

Sony To Issue Refunds Over Misleading PS Vita Ads

When Sony launched its handheld PlayStation Vita device nearly three years ago, ads promised that the Vita would include “game changing” technology, like the ability to play games stored remotely on PlayStation 3 consoles, or that you could save a game on your PS 3 and use your Vita to pick up where you left off, or that you could use the 3G version of the Vita to access a library of multiplayer games anywhere with a data connection. The Vita never quite lived up to this early hype, which is why — as part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission — Sony will issue partial refunds to early adopters of the device. [More]