Senator Calls For Investigation Into Office Depot’s Alleged Computer Scanning Scheme

Senator Calls For Investigation Into Office Depot’s Alleged Computer Scanning Scheme

Following a whistleblower report that some Office Depot staffers are allegedly falsely telling customers their computers are infected with viruses in order to sell them on unnecessary repair services, one lawmaker is calling on federal regulators to investigate. [More]

Man Who Made Fake News Sites To Sell “Pure Green Coffee” Must Pay $30M To Customers

Man Who Made Fake News Sites To Sell “Pure Green Coffee” Must Pay $30M To Customers

Two years after the Federal Trade Commission sued the marketers of the “Pure Green Coffee” for using fake news sites and fictional reporters to push the weight-loss supplement, the man behind those companies has been ordered to repay $30 million to customers tricked into buying the product. [More]

Matt Reinbold

Feds Shut Down Telemarketing Scam That Pitched Money-Making Schemes & Bogus Grants

As wonderful as it might sound, odds are that no one is trying to call you to give you free money, and anyone who dangles a get-rich-quick scheme in front of you should be quickly ignored. Yet federal regulators say  telemarketers tricked seniors and veterans out of their money with these sorts of scams.
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Mr Seb

Senator Asks Federal Agencies For Information On Massive Internet Of Things Breach

A massive denial of service attack last week has already resulted in the recall of a number of webcams that may have been used to aid hackers in taking popular sites like Twitter, Github, Reddit, and others offline throughout the day. Now, lawmakers are asking federal agencies what else can be done to prevent future attacks. [More]

DeVry University Must Stop Claiming That 90% Of Grads Get Jobs

DeVry University Must Stop Claiming That 90% Of Grads Get Jobs

Many for-profit college chains recruited students through ads touting exceedingly high job-placement rates, but as we’ve seen from the recent collapses of chains like Corinthian Colleges Inc. and ITT Tech, those placement statistics can be artificially inflated. This week, for-profit educator DeVry Education Group agreed to be more honest and transparent about the job-placement claims in its ads and recruitment materials. [More]

Skincare Marketers Barred Over Deceptive Marketing and Billing Practices

Skincare Marketers Barred Over Deceptive Marketing and Billing Practices

A year after federal regulators received a court order temporarily shutting down a group of marketers allegedly using deceptive online “risk-free trials” to entice customers into buying skincare products, the agency officially received orders barring the companies and their operators from using the deceptive tactics to promote their products.  [More]

eyetwist

Operators Of Scammy Payday Lender Ordered To Pay $1.26 Billion

Four years after federal regulators sued the operators behind what might have been the scammiest payday loan Consumerist had ever seen, a federal judge has ordered Scott Tucker and his businesses to pay $1.26 billion to the Federal Trade Commission to resolve allegations of running online payday lending operations that exploited more than 5 million consumers.  [More]

Marketer Of Pills Claiming To “Prevent & Reverse” Graying Hair Ordered To Refund $391K

Marketer Of Pills Claiming To “Prevent & Reverse” Graying Hair Ordered To Refund $391K

Sporting an ashen ‘do can make a person look distinguished — or fashion forward — but there will always be people who want to stave off the gray as long as possible. But why shell out big bucks for dye jobs, when dietary supplements promise to actually reverse the presence of gray hair? Maybe because there’s no proof that those pills will actually do anything to get rid of the grays? [More]

(Juan Cabanillas)

State, Federal Agencies Crack Down On Companies That Allegedly Facilitate Mail Fraud Of Elderly

Each year, millions of elderly consumers are lured into mail fraud schemes by all-too-attractive claims that they have won unimaginable prizes, like millions of dollars or trips around the world. Today, the U.S. Department of Justice took unprecedented steps to ensure these scammers no longer victimize older Americans by announcing action against companies that they allege are some of the little-known perpetrators of the alleged schemes: the payment processor, mailer printers, and lead generators.

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Phillip Bradshaw

Consumers Union Asks FTC To Investigate Mylan For Possible Antitrust Law Violations

The EpiPen is a necessity for people who are at risk of anaphylaxis, a life-threatening type of allergic reaction. They’re a common item in kids’ backpacks and home first-aid kits, and the name has become a generic term that refers to epinephrine auto-injectors. Yet the product itself is only available as a brand-name product that costs hundreds of dollars. [More]

Thomas Hawk

Government Warns VW Sellers: Don’t Mislead Diesel Owners About Buyback Program

As part of a $15 billion settlement with the federal government, Volkswagen agreed to buy back hundreds of thousands of vehicles equipped with emissions-cheating “defeat devices.” While the lure of receiving more than the current value of their vehicle is presumably high for customers who feel duped by VW, federal regulators want to ensure these consumers receive what they’re entitled to through the settlement.  [More]

Jonas B

FTC Sends Warning Letters To Online Marketers Peddling Ineffective Zika-Prevention Products

It’s been a busy week for authorities going after sham products: a day after the New York Attorney General’s office announced that six companies had agreed to stop selling products that are ineffective at warding off Zika-carrying mosquitoes, the Federal Trade Commission is reminding a slew of businesses marketing Zika-prevention products that it’s illegal to make health claims that simply aren’t true. [More]

Crackdown Coming For Stealth Social Media Ads

Crackdown Coming For Stealth Social Media Ads

We’ve seen Warner Bros. get in trouble for paying YouTubers to hype a new game without properly revealing they were paid, and we’ve seen Lord & Taylor caught paying Instagram influencers to shill for a new dress. Yet our social media feeds are still overflowing with celebrities and semi-celebrities pushing products without disclosing that they are receiving a paycheck to do so. [More]

Great Beyond

Senators Call For Inquiry Into Impact Of Airbnb & Other Short-Term Rentals On Affordable Housing

Short-term rental platforms like Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway are intended as a way to give travelers varied and interesting lodging options, while letting homeowners make a bit of money when they aren’t at home. However, a group of three senators are concerned that the affordable housing market is being squeezed by the increasing number of property owners cashing in on short-term rentals.
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Mike Cook Foto

Feds Halt Tech Support Operation Accused Of Bilking Millions From Consumers

Here’s a good rule of thumb: if a window pops up on your computer alerting you that your device has been compromised by a malware attack and offers to fix the problem by calling a toll-free number, there’s a good chance it’s a scam. To that end: federal regulators and the state of Florida have accused an international tech support operation of bilking millions of dollars from American consumers. [More]

Supplement Maker Must Stop Claiming “Elimidrol” Can Relieve Opiate Withdrawal

Supplement Maker Must Stop Claiming “Elimidrol” Can Relieve Opiate Withdrawal

Last year, Sunrise Nutraceuticals was one of more than 100 supplement companies sued by the Federal Trade Commission for allegedly making unfounded health or disease-treatment claims. To settle that suit, Sunrise has agreed to stop falsely claiming that its Elimidrol dietary supplement can alleviate the symptoms of opiate withdrawal. [More]

Walmart Still Reportedly Misusing “Made In U.S.A” Labels

Walmart Still Reportedly Misusing “Made In U.S.A” Labels

The Federal Trade Commission may have dropped its probe into Walmart’s misuse of “Made in U.S.A.” labeling last fall, but an advertising watchdog group says a more recent analysis of the retailer’s website found it continues to label products with the designation even though they were manufactured in other countries.  [More]

Mobile Ad Company Must Pay $950K To Settle Charges It Illegally Tracked Users’ Location

Mobile Ad Company Must Pay $950K To Settle Charges It Illegally Tracked Users’ Location

Location-based advertising allows companies to better target consumers with ads that make the most sense for them. However, tracking the location of someone without their permission is a big no-no. Just ask InMobi which must pay $950,000 and revamp its services to resolve federal regulators’ claims that it deceptively tracked locations of hundreds of millions of people, including children.  [More]