FTC Blogs

Double dog dare: Read FTC staff’s new report on pet medications competition

FTC staff has doggedly tracked down information about competition in the pet medications industry for the past several years. Why? Because it’s a large and growing consumer market. With 65 percent of American households owning a pet, and retail sales of prescription pet medications expected to top $10 billion by 2018, it is clearly a market where competition could benefit consumers. Most consumers pay for pet meds out-of-pocket and do not have pet health insurance that covers these expenses.

An unlikely commencement address

It’s graduation season. How’s this for a truthful take on the usual oratory?

Esteemed guests and distinguished graduates, despite what we said in our ads, many of you just got a degree or diploma that won’t qualify you to get the licenses you need to land a job in your field. And don’t count on your credits transferring to four-year colleges. But thanks for the thousands of dollars you paid out of your own pocket!

Lessons learned

Getting a professional certification or earning your degree can help move your career to the next level. But some for-profit schools promise a lot more than they can deliver, leaving you on the hook to pay for schooling but not qualified to do the job you paid to train for. To stop those unsupported – and sometimes outright false – promises, the FTC brought charges against Professional Career Development Institute. You may know them as Ashworth College. The FTC announced today that Ashworth settled the FTC’s charges that they misrepresented what their programs could do for students.

Sham charities inflate gift-in-kind numbers to deceive donors

Charities rely on generous donations – cash and gifts-in-kind – to help people in your community, across the country, and around the world. Gifts-in-kind are non-cash donations – things like food, clothing, equipment and medical supplies. Normally, charities give those gifts directly to people in need, or to other charities for redistribution. But a recent complaint against four sham charities by the FTC and law enforcement partners in every state and the District of Columbia shows that’s not always what happens.

Enhancing permissions through contextual integrity

This is the third post in my series on privacy and security in mobile computing, which builds on the Commission’s 2013 mobile security workshop. In my last post, I concluded that – despite a history of usability concerns – permissions in mobile operating systems are clearly an improvement over the opacity of traditional operating systems.

Shutting down a sweepstakes scam that sought out seniors

In the past few years, you’ve heard warnings from us about different scams that offered prizes like money, jewelry, or vacations – all in exchange for a fee. And we’ve heard from you to the tune of more than a quarter of a million complaints about prize and sweepstakes scams in the last three years. Thanks in part to those complaints, today the FTC put a stop to a sweepstakes scam targeting older people.

3 dos, 3 don’ts, and 1 don’t-even-think-about-it

It’s a text that would make most people take notice: ALERT ALERT ALERT .. YOUR PAYMENT WAS DECLINED DUE TO AN INSUFFICIENT ACH TRANSACTION…CALL 866.597.3075. But it wasn’t really an alert. There wasn’t a declined payment. And an “insufficient ACH transaction” isn’t even a real thing.

It was a deceptive text message sent by debt collectors to illegally lure purported debtors into contacting them.

Sharing thoughts about the sharing economy

These days, the sharing economy is all around us. One person might use her smartphone to get an Uber ride to a dinner arranged through Feastly. Another might hire a Taskrabbit to clean up his garden for spring and order custom pots for his flowers from a seller on Etsy. But do these new services come with risks to competition and consumers? And how should regulations governing traditional suppliers be tailored to apply to them?

Did you get a consumer complaint notification from the FTC? It’s a scam.

Thanks to emails and calls from people who sensed something wasn’t right, we’ve heard that an FTC imposter scam we’ve written about before is back. The email tells you there’s a complaint against your business, and wants you to click on a link. Here’s what one of the scammy emails said: