Advances in payment methods could end those open-wallet debates about who owes what for the pizza. But as innovative technologies change how people pay for things, established consumer protection principles apply. An FTC complaint against peer-to-peer payment service Venmo – now operated by PayPal – alleges that the company failed to disclose material information about the availability of consumers’ funds.
As a business person, you know that accessing the public Wi-Fi network in an airport lounge, coffee shop, or other location can be risky. Public networks aren’t very secure – or, well, private – and it could be easy for others to intercept your confidential business or personal data. But there are times when every executive has to be out and about. So what can you do to keep your mobile data private and secure? Some people use Virtual Private Network (VPN) apps to shield traffic from their mobile devices from prying eyes on public networks.
Who among us wouldn’t want to turn back the hands of time? But don’t try to summon the spirit of Ponce de León just yet. According to the FTC, anti-aging claims for TA-65MD and TA-for 65 Skin lacked scientific substantiation. In addition, the FTC challenged the company’s use of consumer endorsements and alleged that it falsely represented that a paid-for segment touting its products on The Suzanne Show was independent programming.
Engage, connect, protect was the theme of a series of Small Business Security Roundtables the FTC sponsored last summer. We listened to businesses talk about the challenges they face in securing sensitive information and fending off cyber threats. We also heard that they want concrete advice from the FTC. For example, how can a small company – especially one that may not have the in-house expertise to host its own website – get down to business while also addressing these concerns?
As a business person managing your personal portfolio, you do your best to keep up with the latest financial news. You’ve been hearing more about cryptocurrencies and asking yourself “Hmmm.” Of course, it’s not just bitcoin. There are now hundreds of cryptocurrencies, which are a type of digital currency, on the market. They’ve been publicized as a fast and inexpensive way to pay online, but many are now also being marketed as investment opportunities. But before you decide to purchase cryptocurrency as an investment, here are a few things to know:
Blind Faith, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Humble Pie, the Traveling Wilburys. Every musical genre has its supergroup, individual talents from other groups who come together to create something even more impressive. In the consumer privacy and data security world, we think the agenda for the FTC’s PrivacyCon 2018 reads like the line-up of one of those legendary supergroups. (Minus Eric Clapton – sorry.)
We haven’t tried bullhorns or signal flares yet, but aside from that, it’s tough to imagine a tactic the FTC hasn’t taken to warn businesses about the risks of involving themselves in deceptive weight loss promotions.
Movie legend has it that screen siren Lana Turner was discovered as a teen at Schwab’s Drugstore. The millions of people who signed up for online talent search network Explore Talent were also looking to break into the business.
Military families face all the consumer protection issues other Americans face – and then some. Frequent moves and deployments can pose additional financial challenges for servicemembers. And some of these concerns continue even after they’ve settled into civilian life.
If you operate a business, how you handle personal information can affect whether your customers, employees, and yes, even your business, are at risk of identity theft during tax season and all through the year.
Like calling an NFL lineman “Tiny,” we appreciate an ironic name as much as the next person. But it’s different when a company calls itself – among other things – Consumer Defense, Preferred Law, and Modification Review Board and then makes allegedly deceptive claims regarding loan modification services to consumers struggling to hold onto their homes.
There’s one thing people struggling with opioid addiction need: the facts. And there’s something that can hinder their recovery and perhaps even lead to relapse: unproven treatments promoted with deceptive advertising claims. Partnering with federal health agencies, the FTC has announced efforts related to both issues – and there are steps your business can take to lend a hand.
As the saying goes, some people wear their hearts on their sleeve. And many consumers who feel strongly that “American Made Matters” wear their hearts on their head.
So you’ve received a Civil Investigative Demand (CID) from the Federal Trade Commission related to a consumer protection matter. Now what? We appreciate that it can be daunting for any company – especially a small business – and we want to be as transparent as possible about the process.
Some people say charity begins at home. But for telemarketers, truthful information about charity begins on the phone. That’s the message of an FTC settlement with InfoCision, an Ohio-based for-profit telemarketer that solicits contributions on behalf of well-known charities. If you represent professional charity fundraisers or have an affiliation with charitable organizations that ask for money by phone, it could be time for a Telemarketing Sales Rule review.
The FTC’s fight against the deceptive marketing of unproven cancer treatments goes back to the early days of the agency, and it’s disappointing that we still need to bring cases of that nature. But you can add the FTC’s settlement with Florida-based CellMark Biopharma and CEO Derek Vest to that list – and the deceptive claims they pitched to people battling cancer are particularly disconcerting.
Car ads used to include shorthand like 2D, AWD, and AC. Today’s car buyer is just as likely to ask about USB, GPS, and wifi. Last June, the FTC and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) hosted a workshop in Washington to discuss the types of information that connected and autonomous cars collect and the ways the data can be used.
We can’t guarantee its effectiveness in getting kids to eat their vegetables or finish their homework. But there’s one circumstance in which a Mom or Dad’s “Because I said so . . . .” is the law of the land. When it comes to the online collection of personal information from kids under 13, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA) puts parents in charge.
Multi-level marketers sell a wide variety of products and services and they structure their companies in different ways. But there’s a lodestar that all industry members can use to navigate through issues that may arise – and here it is: Core consumer protection principles apply to all MLMs. FTC staff has just released business guidance to help MLMs apply those core principles to their business practices.
You’ve seen the sentence in FTC news releases or blog posts: “The order includes a $__ million financial remedy.” So how do provisions like that translate into real help for real consumers? That’s the subject of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection’s Office of Claims and Refunds Annual Report.