FOR THE CONSUMER
The FTC's monthly newsletter for the Congressional community
It's the news you - and your constituents - can use.
Volume 5 - Number 4
IN THIS ISSUE
CAN-SPAM. Jumpstart Technologies LLC, an Internet marketer, will pay a $900,000 civil penalty for violating the CAN-SPAM Act, the largest penalty yet for illegal spam. The FTC’s complaint alleges that Jumpstart violated the law when it disguised its commercial emails as personal messages and misled consumers about a promotion. The company offered free movie tickets to consumers in exchange for the names and email addresses of their friends, then emailed the friends, using the consumer’s email address in the “from” line, a seemingly personal “subject" line, and message text that seemed like it was from the consumer.
Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2006/03/freeflixtix.htm
COPPA. After completing the mandated five-year review, the FTC is retaining the Children’s Online Privacy Protection (COPPA) Rule without changes. The Rule imposes certain requirements on website or online service operators whose services are directed to children under 13 years old, as well as operators who have "actual knowledge" that they are collecting personal information from children under 13.
Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2006/03/coppa_frn.htm
GLOBAL MARKETING AND TECHNOLOGY. The FTC invites public participation in shaping the agenda for the upcoming Hearings on Global Marketing and Technology, which will explore the consumer protection issues arising from convergence in communications technology and the globalization of commerce. Email your suggestions for possible hearings topics, speakers and participants to: email@example.com by April 17, 2006; limit them to 500 words contained in the text of your email (no attachments, please), and include your name, affiliation (if any), telephone number, and email address.
Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2006/03/fyi0618.htm
CROSS-BORDER FRAUD. The FTC and the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN) met in Korea last month. On the agenda was the FTC’s ongoing effort against a rising number of cross-border fraud complaints from American consumers. As part of this initiative, more than 30 countries participated in an international surf of the Internet. U.S. surfers reviewed more than 1,000 websites, identifying more than 150 with potentially misleading claims. The FTC will send warning letters to websites that appear to have deceptive or false claims. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2006/03/icpen.htm
BUYING TIME: THE FACTS ABOUT PREPAID CALLING CARDS. Explains how prepaid calling cards work, how to buy telephone time, and how to avoid problems. 8.5"x11", 4 pages. English: www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/products/pro04.shtm
HOW TO BUY GENUINE AMERICAN INDIAN ARTS AND CRAFTS. Advises consumers about how to recognize genuine American Indian arts, crafts and jewelry items and how to avoid imitations. 8.5x11, 2 pages, color. www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/products/pro12.shtm
**NEW** ORDERING PROCEDURES FOR BULK QUANTITIES OF FTC PUBLICATIONS. Now you and your constituents can order the FTC’s consumer publications in bulk quantities (50 or more) online -- at www.ftc.gov/bulkorder. If you need more copies than are offered on the website, please email Derick Rill at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you need one to 49 copies of a publication, call the FTC Consumer Response Center's toll-free helpline, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). Remember that if you need a copy of any publication immediately, you can view, download, and print from www.ftc.gov .
GREEN LIGHTS & RED FLAGS. The FTC, the Metro New York Better Business Bureau, and the Consumer Affairs Committee of the New York City Bar will present a half-day “back-to-basics” workshop about complying with truth-in-advertising laws. "Green Lights & Red Flags: FTC-BBB Rules of the Road for Advertisers" will feature a roster of national experts discussing the latest developments in advertising law for business owners, marketing executives, and in-house counsel. It will be held April 27 at the New York City Bar Building, 42 West 44th Street in New York, and will run from 8:15 am to 1 pm. The admission fee of $20 ($15 for members of participating organizations) includes continental breakfast and a CD-ROM of all workshop materials. To register, visit www.ftc.gov/nyadseminar.
HOME SWEET HOME. The FTC will hold a workshop on the consumer protection issues arising from the growth of “nontraditional” or “alternative” mortgage products in the residential mortgage marketplace. The workshop will be on May 24, from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm, at the FTC’s Conference Center, 601 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. It's free and open to the public; all attendees must show a valid form of photo ID. For more information: www.ftc.gov/opa/2006/03/mortgage.htm
Increasingly, computer users interested in convenience and mobility are accessing the Internet wirelessly. But unless you take certain precautions, anyone with a wireless-ready computer -- your neighbors or even hackers lurking nearby -- could “piggyback” on your network, or access the information on your computer. And if an unauthorized person uses your network to commit a crime or send spam, the activity can be traced back to your account. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your wireless network and the computers on it:
1. Use encryption. The most effective way to secure your wireless network from intruders is to encrypt, or scramble, communications over the network.
2. Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a firewall, and keep them up-to-date.
3. Turn off identifier broadcasting, which sends a signal to any device in the vicinity announcing its presence. Hackers can use identifier broadcasting to home in on vulnerable wireless networks.
4. Change the identifier on your router from the default to something only you know; that makes it tougher for hackers to get in. Change your router’s pre-set password for administration.
5. Allow only specific computers to access your wireless network. Turn off your wireless network when you know you won’t use it. Hackers cannot access a wireless router when it is shut down.
6. Don’t assume that public “hot spots” are secure. Many cafés, hotels, airports, and other public establishments offer wireless networks for their customers’ use but these networks may not be secure.
For more information: www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/tech/tec12.shtm
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ORDERING FTC's FREE CONSUMER INFORMATION
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