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Facing the facts about fraud: It may not be the face you think

Lesley Fair
Ask someone to picture the typical person who has experienced a scam and they may think of an older consumer taken in by a fast-talking fraudster. Regardless of the image they create, the results of the FTC’s latest Consumer Protection Data Spotlight suggest their impression may not be accurate. That’s because reports in the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel contradict some stereotypes about how fraud affects our communities and evoke a more nuanced...

Health app developers: Updated interactive tool can help you get started on compliance

Lesley Fair
The burgeoning market for health apps holds promise for consumers, but only if – and this is a big if – app developers understand their legal obligations and honor those responsibilities. The FTC just released an updated Mobile Health App Interactive Tool to help industry members determine what federal laws and regulations might apply to their apps. If you’re involved at all in the health apps marketplace, you owe it to your company – and to your...

Hey, Google and iHeartMedia: FTC doesn’t heart deceptive endorsements

Lesley Fair
If there’s one point to take from the FTC’s action against Google and iHeartMedia, it’s that the FTC doesn’t heart endorsements given by people who haven’t actually used the product they recommend. In proposed settlements announced in conjunction with actions brought by State Attorneys General, the FTC alleges that Google and iHeartMedia aired nearly 29,000 ads featuring iHeart radio personalities touting their positive personal experiences with...

FTC and Wisconsin aim to show deceptive timeshare exit claims the exit

Lesley Fair
Many people – including older consumers – find themselves tied to pricey timeshares that no longer meet their needs. They were sold on the idea of idyllic getaways, but now need to get away from those getaways. Enter the timeshare exit industry. The concern, however, is when operators claim they can get people out of their timeshare contracts, but promise more than they deliver, often leaving consumers in an even deeper financial hole. A case...

FTC challenges supplement claims under COVID-19 Consumer Protection Act

Lesley Fair
“A dose of this formula a day keeps viruses away . . . . and their variants.” That’s just one example of a representation California-based Precision Patient Outcomes, Inc., and CEO Margrett Priest Lewis made for a dietary supplement sold under the names COVID Resist and VIRUS Resist. The FTC has gone to court, alleging that the defendants’ claims that the product can treat, prevent, or mitigate COVID violate the COVID-19 Consumer Protection Act...

Remembering Chairman Michael Pertschuk

Samuel Levine, Director, FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection
You couldn’t miss the six-foot sign former FTC Chairman Michael Pertschuk had on his office wall: “Washington’s Headquarters for Magic Tricks Jokes – Fireworks.” He claimed to have salvaged it when a D.C. novelty shop closed, but it seemed purpose-built to describe his seven-year tenure at the Federal Trade Commission. Magic tricks? He had a few of those up his sleeve. A tireless champion for America’s consumers, his goal was to transform a small...

$2.6 million settlement addresses earnings claims for business opportunities and crypto bot, Consumer Review Fairness Act – and more

Lesley Fair
It’s rare that we’d liken an FTC complaint to a pizza with the works or an everything bagel, but the breadth of violations alleged in the FTC’s action against DK Automation, Kevin David Hulse, David Shawn Arnett, and affiliated companies invites the comparison. The proposed $2.6 million settlement resolves charges that the defendants made deceptive earnings claims, failed to comply with the Business Opportunity Rule, violated the Consumer Review...

Compliance deadline for certain revised FTC Safeguards Rule provisions extended to June 2023

Lesley Fair
If you’ve been working on implementing the revised Safeguards Rule at your business by the upcoming deadline, that’s good news for your company and your customers. Just know that for certain provisions of the updated Rule, the FTC has extended the compliance deadline by six months – to June 9, 2023 – in response to reports of personnel shortages and supply chain issues. Some regulations may have cryptic titles, but you can’t count the FTC...

How readiness can help protect veteran-owned businesses

Lesley Fair
Army brats like me grew up around the word “readiness.” We knew it meant weeks or even months of a parent away on deployment, training for “What if . . .” scenarios. One of the reasons so many veterans have made the successful transition to entrepreneurship is that they continue to put readiness first. A recent FTC proposed settlement serves as a reminder to veterans who own businesses – and to all business executives – about the ongoing threats...

Who experiences scams? A story for all ages

Many people think scams mostly affect older adults. But reports to the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel tell a different story: anyone can be scammed. In fact, reports suggest that many scams are harming younger people more than older adults. While there’s more to the story, the broad theme is that scams affect every age group, but differently. In 2021, Gen Xers, Millennials, and Gen Z young adults (ages 18-59) were 34% more likely than older adults (ages...