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And the Consumer Shield Award goes to . . .

Holmes & Watson. Crockett & Tubbs. Cagney & Lacey. The annals of fiction are replete with dynamic law enforcement duos. But their make-believe exploits can’t compare with the real-life efforts of law enforcers who work cooperatively to protect America’s consumers. The Criminal Liaison Unit of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection just honored one of those indispensable partners – United States Postal Inspector/Team Leader Lisa D.

When third-party service providers are party to sensitive data

Entrepreneurs wear a lot of hats. In addition to marketing their products, they’re responsible for operational functions like inventory, ordering, and the protection of customer data. Rather than managing all that millinery, some businesses turn to third-party service providers to run things behind the scenes. But what steps are those companies taking to secure the confidential consumer information in their possession?

Veterans: Make cybersecurity your business

As Veterans Day reminds us, no one knows better than members of the military why it’s critical to maintain a vigilant defense. The more than 2.5 million veterans who own small businesses can apply that principle at their companies, too. Hackers are looking to exploit weaknesses in data perimeters, and business owners can’t afford to lose time, money, and customer goodwill to a compromised network. Knowing some cybersecurity basics and putting them in practice will help you protect sensitive employee and consumer information and reduce the risk of a cyber attack.

FTC settlement returns $60 million to consumers affected by AT&T’s throttling practices

Sometimes FTC cases affirm important legal principles in the courtroom. In other cases, we’re able to get money back for consumers injured by a company’s illegal conduct. The FTC’s action against AT&T for allegedly deceptive and unfair practices related to AT&T’s promises of “unlimited data” resulted in a key ruling last year about the FTC’s jurisdiction and will return $60 million to affected consumers.

You Don’t Say: FTC workshop listens in on voice cloning

Imagine people who have lost the ability to speak communicating in a digital version of their own voice. With just a brief recorded snippet, researchers can use artificial intelligence and text-to-speech synthesis to create a near-perfect voice clone. But it takes even less time to imagine how fraudsters could use that technology to further their scams.

Taking notice: Class action workshop starts soon

They’re called “notices,” but do consumers really notice them? Convening at 9:00 Eastern Time this morning, October 29th, Consumers and Class Action Notices: An FTC Workshop will take a closer look at what the research – including a recent FTC staff report – tells us about class action notices, refund methods, claims rates, and related issues.

New interactive feature shows there’s no generation gap for scams

When it comes to fraud, there’s no such thing as a generation gap. According to reports in the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel database, fraud affects every generation. But that’s only half the story. What else the reports tell us is that fraud affects every generation differently. The FTC has a new interactive tool that demonstrates those differences graphically, giving users exactly the data they ask for.

You had me at aloe? FTC challenges disease treatment claims for aloe and cranberry products

Aloe and cranberry: a useful plant and a nutritious fruit. But are they clinically proven alone or in combination to treat diabetes, ulcerative colitis, high cholesterol, and a list of other serious medical conditions that afflict Boomer Consumers? According to the FTC, those are just some of the deceptive claims that Florida-based NatureCity, LLC, made for TrueAloe capsules and AloeCran powdered drink mix.

Scams and the older consumer: Some surprising findings

There are perceptions some people seem to have about older consumers – and then there’s the data we see in fraud reports from consumers of that age group. Protecting Older Consumers 2018-2019: A Report of the Federal Trade Commission calls some common beliefs into question while offering concrete advice to help you, your employees, and others in your community protect older adults from fraud.

FTC takes action against stalking apps

You know that eerie feeling that someone is following your every move? If someone secretly installed a “stalking app” or “stalkerware” sold by Retina-X Studios, LLC, onto your mobile device, that strange sensation could be way more than a feeling. A complaint against the developer and marketer alleges violations of the FTC Act and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Rule.

Great American Fake-Off? FTC cases challenge bogus influencer metrics and fake reviews

There isn’t a competition to find ways to use social media to mislead consumers. (At least we hope there isn’t.) But with apologies to fans of a certain British baking program, separate FTC actions just might qualify two companies as “Star Fakers” for fabricating followers and skewing reviews. The cases demonstrate why cooking up deceptive tactics could land your business on an episode of The Great American Fake-Off.

Charity fraud awareness, here & abroad: How businesses can help charities defend against cyber threats

It’s International Charity Fraud Awareness Week, a global effort to help charities and donors avoid charity fraud. The FTC has united with state charities regulators, the National Association of State Charities Officials, and international partners in the campaign. By joining forces, we can reach more charities with information and advice. This year, the focus is on what charities can do to help defend against cyber threats.

Showcase your research at PrivacyCon 2020

How would we describe PrivacyCon 2020? Is it Burning Man without the flames? The New Orleans Jazz Festival – minus the jazz and the festival? The best way to know what PrivacyCon is all about is to mark your calendar for July 21, 2020, and attend the FTC’s fifth annual gathering of leading privacy researchers. And check out our Call for Presentations to see if PrivacyCon would be a good forum for your recent research.

SMB Cybersecurity Survey: It’s yours for the taking

Wondering what small and midsize businesses (SMBs) think about cybersecurity? Or maybe you work for a small or midsize business that would like to tell someone what you think. Here’s your chance. The Information Technology Sector Coordinating Council (IT SCC) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) just released a voluntary survey about SMB cybersecurity practices – and they asked us to help get the word out.

FTC settlement ends AdvoCare’s alleged pyramid scheme and bans defendants from multi-level marketing

A savvy business person always wants to know the shape of things to come. We won’t make predictions but, based on the FTC’s case against multi-level marketer AdvoCare International, we will say this: Don’t bet on a business model that looks like a pyramid.

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