FOR THE CONSUMER
The FTC's monthly newsletter for the Congressional community
It's the news you—and your constituents—can use.
Volume 3– Number 8
IN THIS ISSUE
FREE CREDIT REPORTS. The three nationwide credit bureaus have announced how consumers can get their free annual credit report. Beginning on December 1, consumers in Western states can begin making their requests. Free reports will be phased in for the rest of the country from west to east over a nine month period. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2004/11/freecredrpt.shtm
JUST THE FACTA. The FTC has issued its final rules under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) refining the definition of the terms "identity theft" and "identity theft report"; the duration of active duty alerts; and the appropriate proof of identity needed by consumers to take certain actions on their credit reports. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2004/10/facataidtheft.htm
The FTC also issued final summaries of identity theft and general consumer rights, along with revised furnisher and user notices under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the FACTA. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2004/11/facta.shtm
BIG FAT LIE. FTC has launched "Operation Big Fat Lie," a nation-wide law enforcement sweep against six companies making false weight-loss claims in national advertisements. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2004/11/bigfatliesweep.shtm
WHAT DO YOU THINK? The FTC seeks comments on:
- Different approaches to determining a "fair and reasonable" fee for credit scores under the FACTA and the FCRA. Comments must be received by January 5, 2005. www.ftc.gov/opa/2004/11/factafrn.shtm
- Proposed call-abandonment amendment to the Telemarketing Sales Rule. The proposal would allow telemarketers to use pre-recorded messages when calling consumers with whom they have an established business relationship. Comments may be filed until January 10, 2005. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2004/11/tsramend.shtm
P2P. The FTC will host a peer-to-peer file sharing workshop on December 15 and 16, which will focus on the uses of P2P technology, its role in the economy, its risks to consumers, and other issues. The workshop, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the FTC's Conference Center, 601 New Jersey Ave, NW, Washington, DC.
Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2004/10/p2p.shtm
NEW CONSUMER EDUCATION
ADVANCE-FEE LOANS. Scammers Impersonate Legitimate Lenders, Promise A Loan for a Fee; Then Take the Money and Flee. Brochure warns consumers not to pay for the promise of a loan and gives advice how not to get taken by advance-fee loan sharks. www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/tmark/loans.shtm
FAT FOE "teaser" web site. This fake weight loss ad features FatFoe eggplant extract diet pills and gel, posted by the Federal Trade Commission to educate and warn consumers about diet rip-offs. The site is posted at: www.wemarket4u.net
WEIGHING THE EVIDENCE IN DIET ADS. Two-page Facts for Consumers about "red flag" claims that should alert consumers to possibly fraudulent weight loss products. www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/health/hea03.shtm
HOLIDAY SHOPPING? DON'T TAKE A HOLIDAY FROM SAVVY ONLINE SHOPPING. Alert provides tips to help consumers shop wisely. www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/alerts/shopalrt.htm
E-CHECKS (Electronic Check Conversion) Alert explains how electronic check conversion works and offers tips on keeping close tabs on your accounts. www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/credit/echeck.htm
TIP OF THE MONTH - Holiday Shopping Online
Plan Ahead For Secure Surfing
Shopping online is a great way to get a jump on your holiday gift-giving. A little preparation can go a long way in making your shopping experience fast, easy and secure. The FTC offers these tips so you can be a savvy surfer:
- Use and update your anti-virus software and firewall.
- Make sure your web browser and operating system are up-to-date.
- Don't email your financial information.
- Be caution about opening any attachment.
For more information: www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/alerts/holidayalrt.shtm
NUMBERS TO KNOW
FTC'S OFFICE OF CONGRESSIONAL RELATIONS: 202-326-2195.
Check out the CONGRESSIONAL RESOURCES portion of our Web site at www.ftc.gov/ftc/congress.shtm No password needed to access.
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To file a fraud complaint, go to www.ftc.gov or call FTC's toll-free line 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).
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