The Division of Marketing Practices responds to ever-evolving problems of consumer fraud in the marketplace. The Division enforces the FTC Act and several other federal consumer protection laws by filing FTC actions in federal district court for immediate and permanent orders to stop scams; prevent fraudsters from perpetrating scams in the future, freeze their assets; and get compensation for scam victims.
The Division’s enforcement priorities include:
- shutting down high-tech Internet and telephone scams that bilk consumers out of hundreds of millions of dollars a year
- ending deceptive telemarketing or direct mail marketing schemes that use false and misleading information to take consumers’ money
- stopping fraudulent business opportunity scams.;
- stopping violations of the Do Not Call and CAN-SPAM consumer privacy protections.
Rules Enforced by the Division
The Division issues, revises, and enforces many of the Commission’s rules, including:
- The Telemarketing Sales Rule which prohibits deceptive sales pitches and protects consumers from abusive, unwanted, and late-night sales calls.
- The CAN-SPAM Rules, including the Adult Labeling Rule, which requires warning labels on commercial email containing sexually oriented material.
- The Franchise and Business Opportunity Rule, which requires franchise and business opportunity sellers to give prospective buyers a disclosure document containing specific information about the business and any earnings claims the seller makes, to help them make an informed decision as to whether to purchase.
- The 900 Number Rule, which requires sellers of pay-per-call (900 number) services to clearly disclose the price of their services, prohibits the targeting of most of those services to children, and creates procedures to dispute charges for 900 number services like those available for credit card purchases.
- The Funeral Rule, which requires funeral directors to disclose price and other information about their services to consumers.
- The Magnuson-Moss Act, which requires that merchants make warranty information available to consumers in advance of their purchase.
In the Forefront of the Fight Against High-Tech/Internet Fraud
The Division is on the cutting edge of investigating and addressing the use of the Internet and other emerging technologies to defraud consumers. Its staff has developed new strategies and techniques to combat the latest high-tech scams and shares them with federal, state, local, and international law enforcement agencies through its training programs. Its initiatives in this area include:
- developing and presenting Internet Investigation Training programs for federal, state, local, and international law agencies.
- sponsoring and conducting symposia on legal issues arising from cutting-edge technologies.
- prosecuting civil enforcement actions to keep fraudsters from operating on the Internet and in other high-tech arenas.