ftc

Matt Reinbold

Beware Scammers Spoofing Number For FTC’s Consumer Response Center

The Federal Trade Commission is one of the agencies consumers are supposed to turn to when they’ve been defrauded by scam phone calls, so it — sadly — makes sense that some fraudsters have decided that the best way to con victims is to pretend they are calling from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center. [More]

What Can Voice-Activated Device Makers Legally Do With Recordings Of Kids’ Voices?

What Can Voice-Activated Device Makers Legally Do With Recordings Of Kids’ Voices?

From your watch to your TV to your crockpot to your kids’ toys, the products we use in our home are increasingly voice-activated. Unlike previous generations of devices, these newer ones are listening, getting smarter, adapting to multiple users with different accents and cadences. To do that, they listen to, record, and often transmit recordings, of everyone in earshot of the device — including kids, whose private details are specifically protected by federal law, but who sometimes end up ordering hundreds of dollars worth of cookies. So how can Amazon, Google, Apple, or any tech company legally make an always-on device that doesn’t violate your little one’s privacy? [More]

Student Loan Debt Relief Operations Allegedly Bilked $95M From Borrowers

Student Loan Debt Relief Operations Allegedly Bilked $95M From Borrowers

The federal government and 11 states have joined together to accuse 30 purported debt relief operations of using deception and false promises to swindle more than $95 million from student loan borrowers. [More]

App That Promised To Pay Users For Fitness Trapped Some On Erroneous Payment Treadmill

App That Promised To Pay Users For Fitness Trapped Some On Erroneous Payment Treadmill

The mobile app GymPact, later known as Pact, was a tool that gave users a financial incentive to exercise, eat fruits and vegetables, and to log what they ate. Only the Federal Trade Commission claims that Pact users were charged when they weren’t supposed to be, and some lost hundreds of dollars in a negative-option mess that they couldn’t cancel. [More]

Judge Gives D-Link Partial Win In FTC Case Over Vulnerable Devices

Judge Gives D-Link Partial Win In FTC Case Over Vulnerable Devices

Back in January, the Federal Trade Commission filed a case against D-Link, a company that makes networking equipment and connected-home devices. It alleged that D-Link deceptively marketed its products as advanced and safe when they were vulnerable to attacks that range from stealing personal information to peeping through security cameras. This week, a judge dismissed three of the counts from the FTC’s case, noting that the agency didn’t present any consumers who were actually harmed.  [More]

Group Tied To Betsy DeVos Is Trying To Block Feds From Investigating Multilevel Marketers

Group Tied To Betsy DeVos Is Trying To Block Feds From Investigating Multilevel Marketers

Direct sales programs that call themselves “multilevel marketing” (MLM) companies run the gamut from being merely annoying to full-blown pyramid schemes, and the folks at the Federal Trade Commission are responsible for holding MLMs accountable when they cross that line from irksome to illegal. But two pieces of legislation, both backed by a trade group with direct ties to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, are attempting to limit the FTC’s ability to investigate and prosecute rogue MLMs. [More]

Feds Warn Lindsay Lohan, Sofia Vergara & Other Instagram Celebs To Stop Their Stealth Social Advertising

Feds Warn Lindsay Lohan, Sofia Vergara & Other Instagram Celebs To Stop Their Stealth Social Advertising

The Federal Trade Commission has warned dozens of advertisers against using Instagram “influencers” to push their products and brands without properly disclosing that money changed hands. Now the FTC is going after the celebrities themselves, issuing warning letters to folks that range from merely online-famous to bona fide superstars. [More]

Gia Ciccone

If Someone Calls You From Equifax To Verify Your Account, It’s A Scam

Now that Equifax is part of the mass public consciousness for failing to secure sensitive financial and personal information for about half of the adult U.S. population, soulless scammers are trying to prey on this heightened awareness by blasting out fake calls to people, asking them to verify their account information. [More]

Marketers Of “Risk-Free” Golf, Kitchen Products Must Pay $2.5M To Settle Deceptive Marketing Claims

Marketers Of “Risk-Free” Golf, Kitchen Products Must Pay $2.5M To Settle Deceptive Marketing Claims

Six months after federal regulators accused a group of online marketers of promoting deceptive “free” and “risk-free” trials of golf and kitchen products, the companies have agreed to pay hefty fines and revamp their billing practices to settle the allegations.
[More]

Lenovo Gets Slap On Wrist From Feds Over Pre-Installed Ad Software With Gaping Security Hole

Lenovo Gets Slap On Wrist From Feds Over Pre-Installed Ad Software With Gaping Security Hole

Remember that time that Lenovo sold all those laptops with crappy ad-injection software built in, leaving users at risk for both bottom-of-the-barrel advertising and cyber attacks? Today, the tech company settled a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, promising not to do this all again and not paying a penalty for its alleged transgressions. [More]

FEMA

If You’re Getting Robocalls About Flood Insurance, They’re Scams

The world is full of really horrible, lazy people looking to steal your money while putting in the least amount of effort. Take, for example, the scammers who are blasting out automated, pre-recorded robocalls that try to scare people into believing they have to pay up or lose their flood insurance. [More]

(This Year's Love)

Feds Shut Down Debt Collector That Allegedly Collected $2.1M In Unowed Debts

Once again, as part of its ongoing efforts to crack down on unscrupulous debt collectors, the Federal Trade Commission has accused a North Carolina company of running a “phantom” debt collection scheme that went after people for money that they did not actually owe. [More]

(afagen)

TaxSlayer Settles FTC Charges That Lax Security Led To Identity Theft

Sure, it might be convenient to do your own income tax preparation online, but it could be risky: Scammers all over the globe have exploited these risks, slurping billions of dollars’ worth of ill-gotten tax refunds into their bank accounts. In order to prevent even more of this, federal regulators have settled charges TaxSlayer violated federal rules on financial privacy and security. [More]

aresauburn™

FTC: Fake Discount Clubs Took $42M From People Who Never Signed Up

Discount clubs that give you savings on stuff you might want could be convenient, if you’re into that kind of thing. But not so much if you’ve never signed up for the service in the first place — and end up getting charged for it nonetheless. [More]

dave lewis 88

Senators Ask FTC To Finalize The Contact Lens Rule Already

Readers who wear glasses or contact lenses may be surprised to learn that their doctor is supposed to give them a copy of their prescription without being asked, but it’s true. This is especially important for contact lens wearers, whose right to shop around and buy their lenses from any authorized vendor they like is protected by the Federal Trade Commission. Proposed rules would hold doctors even more accountable, requiring them to report to the FTC that they gave patients copies of their prescriptions. [More]

angela n.

FTC Awards $25,000 Prize To App Designed To Make Your Stuff’s Security Suck Less

Your stuff may be increasingly “smart,” but the security on it almost certainly isn’t. If something of yours connects to the internet, it can be hacked — leaving your private data vulnerable, and potentially sweeping your stuff into an international criminal botnet. Now, the FTC is awarding a cash prize to a developer who’s designed an app to hopefully help you make your stuff more secure. [More]

Alan Rappa

FTC Reportedly Looking Into Potentially Deceptive Amazon Discount Pricing

When you say you’re selling an item for 30% off of some higher original price, there are rules about how real that “original” price has to be. If that reference is made up, or the item never actually sells for that price, you can land yourself in some legal trouble. And now sources say that the Federal Trade Commission is having a look to see if that’s what Amazon is up to. [More]

DraftKings, FanDuel Throwing In The Merger Towel After Feds Oppose The Deal

DraftKings, FanDuel Throwing In The Merger Towel After Feds Oppose The Deal

Weeks after the Federal Trade Commission went to court to block the merger of daily fantasy sports mega-sites DraftKings and FanDuel, the companies are throwing in the towel rather than fight the government. [More]