FOR THE CONSUMER
The FTC's monthly newsletter for the Congressional community
It's the news you - and your constituents - can use.
Volume 6 - Number 5
IN THIS ISSUE
ID THEFT TASKFORCE. Attorney General Gonzales and FTC Chairman Majoras announced the President’s Identity Theft Task Force's strategic plan to combat identity theft on April 23. The plan focuses on improving the effectiveness of criminal identity theft prosecutions and assistance to consumers, and enhancing data protection for sensitive consumer information. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/04/idtheft.shtm
BAD BONDS. At the request of the FTC, a federal district court in Seattle has permanently barred a Canadian con man from marketing or selling lotteries or other prize promotions. The FTC had charged John Raymond Salvator Bezeredi with pitching bogus bonds to elderly U.S. consumers. The order requires him to pay $4.75 million for consumer refunds. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/04/bezeredi.shtm
SWEEPSTAKES. A sweepstakes operation will pay almost $1.4 million in consumer refunds to settle FTC charges that it violated federal laws by inducing consumers to pay a "processing fee" to get lump-sum checks for hundreds of thousands of dollars. According to the FTC, Consumers Direct Enterprises and its affiliates didn't give consumers the promised prize money. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/04/consumerdirect.shtm
THE RATINGS GAME. The FTC has given a mixed review of the movie, music, and video game industries’ rating and labeling programs and their marketing of violent entertainment products to children.The FTC found that all three industries generally comply with their own voluntary standards. However, they still market some R-rated movies, M-rated video games, and explicit-content recordings on television shows and websites with substantial teen audiences. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/04/marketingviolence.shtm
FTC ANNUAL REPORT. FTC Chairman Majoras issued the FTC’s 2007 Annual Report on April 24.The report, online at www.ftc.gov/os/2007/04/ChairmansReport2007.pdf links to the cited press releases, reports, speeches, and education materials. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/04/annualrpt.shtm
The FTC and other federal regulators have requested public comments on a model form that financial institutions can use for their privacy notices to consumers. The privacy notices, required by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLB Act), must describe an institution’s information-sharing practices, and inform consumers that they may opt out of certain types of sharing. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/03/jointrelease.htm
GREEN LIGHTS & RED FLAGS. The FTC and its partners will present three half-day “back-to-basics” workshops about complying with truth-in-advertising laws. "Green Lights & Red Flags: FTC-BBB Rules of the Road for Advertisers" features national experts discussing the latest developments in advertising law for business owners, marketing executives, and in-house counsel. The admission fee includes a CD of all workshop materials. Seating is limited; register early at www.ftc.gov/greenlights.
ATLANTA: Wednesday, May 16 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the State Bar of Georgia, 104 Marietta Street NW, Atlanta. The admission fee of $149 ($119 for Atlanta Bar Association members and $99 for non-lawyers) includes continental breakfast. Approved for 3.5 CLE credit hours for members of the Georgia Bar.
ST. LOUIS. Thursday, May 31 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Crystal Ballroom of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 7750 Carondelet Avenue, Clayton, Missouri. The admission fee of $65 ($55 for BBB members) includes continental breakfast and lunch. Approved for 5.00 hours of Missouri CLE credit.
BOSTON. Friday, June 15th from 9:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. at the Park Plaza Hotel, 50 Park Plaza at Arlington Street, Boston, MA. The admission fee of $109 ($79 for Direct Marketing Association members) includes lunch.
SPAM SUMMIT. The FTC will host a public “Spam Summit” on July 11 and 12, 2007 to bring together experts from business and government, consumer advocates, and academics to explore malicious spam, shifts in spamming incentives and tactics, strategies for protecting consumers and businesses, and countermeasures for stopping malicious spammers and cybercriminals. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the FTC’s Conference Center, 601 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. A live webcast of the workshops will run on www.ftc.gov. For more information on attending the conference or submitting a written comment, visit www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/04/spamsummit.shtm.
DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES. The FTC will host a workshop October 10 and 11 to examine how changes in the debt collection industry have affected consumers and businesses. The event will bring together consumer advocates, industry representatives, and regulators to discuss how technology and economic trends have changed how consumer debts are collected, and the extent to which the law has kept pace with developments during the past 30 years. The workshop, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the FTC’s Conference Center, 601 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/03/fdcpawkshop.htm.
¡OJO! FTC NEWSLETTER FOR HISPANIC COMMUNITIES. Read the April edition of the FTC's Hispanic outreach newsletter. It provides consumer tips in English and Spanish, news about FTC actions against scammers targeting Hispanics, and information about the FTC’s efforts to reach out to Hispanic communities. www.ftc.gov/ojo
The FTC has a new guide, "Protecting Personal Information: A Guide for Business," with practical suggestions on safeguarding sensitive data to help businesses of all sizes protect their customers’ and employees’ personal information. The plain-language guide includes checklists to get businesses thinking about the kind of data they collect, how they store it, and who they share it with. It offers solutions for determining what needs to be kept, how to secure it, what to get rid of, and how to properly dispose of it. To protect sensitive information, businesses should:
- Take stock. Know what personal information they have in their files and on their computers.
- Scale down. Keep only what they need for business.
- Lock it. Protect the information they keep.
- Pitch it. Properly dispose of what they no longer need.
- Plan Ahead. Create a plan to respond to security incidents.
- For more information, visit www.ftc.gov/infosecurity.
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