Sellers Of “Pure Green Coffee” Accused Of Faking News Sites, Creating Bogus Reporter

On the left, "staff reporter Helen Hasman," who has an identical twin in Mélissa Theuriau on the right.

If you’re a regular watcher of the ethically questionable Dr. Oz, then you may remember how he helped start a minor “green coffee extract” craze a couple years back by declaring it a miracle weight loss drug. In an attempt to cash in on this dubious hype, a number of sites started popping up within weeks, repeating and exaggerating the already puffed-up claims, and using fake endorsements, faux news articles and fictional “reporters.” [More]

FTC To NJ, Missouri: Please Don’t Block Tesla & Others From Selling Cars Directly To Consumers

FTC To NJ, Missouri: Please Don’t Block Tesla & Others From Selling Cars Directly To Consumers

After lawmakers in New Jersey and Missouri both recently proposed regulations that would prohibit car companies like Tesla Motors from selling vehicles directly to consumers instead of through independent dealers, the Federal Trade Commission is weighing in with comments for legislators in those states, urging them to consider abandoning existing laws and change things up a bit. . [More]

Snapchat Settles Federal Charges It Misled Users About Privacy

Snapchat Settles Federal Charges It Misled Users About Privacy

One of the reasons people use the Snapchat messaging app, especially for messages that one may not want to have a permanent record of, is that those texts and photos supposedly disappear shortly after being received by another user.

But the Federal Trade Commission accused the service of not only over-promising and under-delivering on this notion of vanishing messages, but that it also deceived users about the amount of personal data it collected. [More]

POM Wonderful Tries Again To Convince Court Its Ads Aren’t Misleading

POM Wonderful Tries Again To Convince Court Its Ads Aren’t Misleading

For the last few years, the Federal Trade Commission has repeatedly spanked the makers of POM Wonderful beverages for making unsubstantiated advertising claims about the health benefits of its pomegranate juice products. But today in a federal appeals court, POM argued that the FTC went too far in regulating the ads in question. [More]

Payday Lenders Can’t Use Tribal Affiliation To Garnish Wages Without Court Order

Payday Lenders Can’t Use Tribal Affiliation To Garnish Wages Without Court Order

For years, a handful of sketchy payday lenders have been using purported affiliations with tribal lands to try to skirt federal and state laws. But courts and regulators have recently been cracking down on these operations, saying that a tribal connection does not shield a business from prosecution. One operation facing charges from the Federal Trade Commission has now agreed to pay nearly $1 million in penalties over charges that it illegally garnished borrowers’ wages and wrongfully sued them in tribal courts. [More]

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Feds Remind Facebook & WhatsApp To Respect User Privacy After They Get Married

The Federal Trade Commission is giving a bit of pre-marriage advice to Facebook and one of its many betrothed, messaging app WhatsApp, which said “I do” to Facebook’s $19 billion (with a “b”) proposal back in February. Given Facebook’s past transgressions, the FTC felt that maybe it was worth reminding the giddy-in-love couple that there are laws about what they can and can’t do with users’ data. [More]

Jerk.com Accused Of Using Facebook Profiles To Con People Into Paying To Remove “Jerk” Label

Jerk.com Accused Of Using Facebook Profiles To Con People Into Paying To Remove “Jerk” Label

The Internet has its share of websites that let people post negative comments and statements about individuals and businesses, and then turn around and allow the insulted parties to remove that content (for a fee, of course). The Federal Trade Commission has accused one such site of creating millions of fake profiles in order to scam Facebook users out of $30 each. [More]

Fandango, Credit Karma Apps Allegedly Put Consumers’ Personal Information At Risk

Fandango, Credit Karma Apps Allegedly Put Consumers’ Personal Information At Risk

Pop quiz time! What do Fandango and Credit Karma have in common? Yes, they both have really catchy (or annoying) advertisements. But that’s not the answer we were looking for. Give up? Okay, here it is: both companies allegedly deceived millions of consumers and put their personal information at risk. We never said it was a good thing to have in common. [More]

Predictive Models, Secret Scores: How Computers Decide Who You Are & What To Sell You

(Mike Saechang)

Savvy consumers all know that their lifetime debt history ends up in their credit score, and that lenders use that score to try to predict if someone is a good bet for a big loan like a mortgage. But even the most-connected consumer may not realize how many hundreds of other scores we all now trail in our wakes too, thanks to the advent of big data. Do you know, to the last decimal, how likely are you to buy jewelry? To sign up for cable? To have a kid in the next year? Someone, somewhere, is tallying all of that information about almost everyone. But good luck finding out what’s out there, who’s scoring it, and if your numbers are even actually about you at all. [More]

Infomercial Shill Kevin Trudeau Sentenced To 10 Years For Repeatedly Defrauding Consumers

Infomercial Shill Kevin Trudeau Sentenced To 10 Years For Repeatedly Defrauding Consumers

Back in November, TV pitchman, bestselling author and repeat offender Kevin Trudeau was found guilty of criminal contempt after continuing to make fraudulent weight-loss claims in the marketing of his book The Weight Loss Cure “They” Don’t Want You to Know About. Yesterday, they had their final say in the matter, sentencing the fraudster to a decade behind bars. [More]

FTC Investigating Herbalife

FTC Investigating Herbalife

For more than a year, some have accused nutritional supplement company Herbalife of operating a pyramid scheme and called for federal authorities to investigate the business. Today, the company confirmed that it is indeed under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, though it did not reveal exactly why. [More]

How Giving Your Contact Info To “Yellow Page USA” Turns Into Legal Threats And An Invoice For $1,200

How Giving Your Contact Info To “Yellow Page USA” Turns Into Legal Threats And An Invoice For $1,200

What do you do when your company receives a free solicitation for a business listing and Facebook page? You might be tempted to snatch up a good deal, but there’s a good chance that deal will land you in the middle of a widespread scam. That seems to be the case for a New Jersey business owner as he faces threats of lawsuits and other action that could damage his credit. [More]

Feds: ADT Paid “Independent” Experts To Shill For Pulse Security System

Feds: ADT Paid “Independent” Experts To Shill For Pulse Security System

When you see a so-called expert on the Today Show talking up a product, you might reasonably assume that this expert is giving you an honest opinion that hasn’t been tainted by cash or gifts. Alas, not every company is up front about the fact that they paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to get their product mentioned on TV by not-exactly-independent experts. [More]

Uncle Sam, Pre-Marital Counselor: The Approval Process Ahead For Comcast And TWC

Uncle Sam, Pre-Marital Counselor: The Approval Process Ahead For Comcast And TWC

The proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable, as it currently stands, looks like it could be a good move for the businesses and a bad move for consumers. But right now it’s still just that: a proposed merger. In order for this corporate marriage to move forward, federal regulators first have to approve the union–and that’s where it gets tricky. [More]

Protect Your Refund: Consumer Advocates Warn Tax  Scammers Will Steal Your Identity

Protect Your Refund: Consumer Advocates Warn Tax Scammers Will Steal Your Identity

It’s that time of year again: tax time. While almost everyone is excited for their well-earned tax return to arrive, there’s a group of people ready to take that money away from you. Thankfully, the National Consumers League wants to make sure consumers don’t fall victim to tax ID thieves. [More]

Arrest Warrant Issued For “Cash Grant Institute” Scammer Who Failed To Pay $20 Million Penalty

Arrest Warrant Issued For “Cash Grant Institute” Scammer Who Failed To Pay $20 Million Penalty

Nearly two years after the FTC hit the scammy robocallers at the “Cash Grant Institute” with a record $30 million penalty for violating federal Do Not Call regulations a few million times, a judge has issued an arrest warrant for one of the scheme’s operators after he failed to repay the lion’s share of what he’d agreed to hand over. [More]

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FTC Stops “Work-at-Home” Job Scammers From Working Anywhere With $55m Settlement

Some jobs really do let you work from home part or all of the time. And some jobs really do pay $50 or more per hour. Those jobs don’t come knocking on your door asking you to take them, though, and they don’t advertise openings through overly excited, unsolicited e-mails and texts. But scammers do offer those “opportunities” in spam galore–and of course, they are actually opportunities for miscreants to part consumers from their money. The FTC, however, does not take kindly to scammers using deceptive tactics to pry money out of people, and has just shut several of them down. [More]

Click On The Link In That ‘Funeral Notice’ E-mail At Your Own Risk

Click On The Link In That ‘Funeral Notice’ E-mail At Your Own Risk

Most e-mail scams try to take advantage of consumers’ curiosity, which is why phishing messages promising sex and/or porn still dominate the scam spam landscape. But some online jerks are trying to tap into an equally primal, but less crude, instinct by sending out fake funeral notices in the hope that people won’t be able to keep themselves from clicking away. [More]