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FTC says Grand Bahama Cruise Line’s robocalls ran aground

Cruise ships should conjure up images of umbrella drinks, shuffleboard, and the Lido Deck – not a sea of annoying robocalls. But according to the FTC, Grand Bahama Cruise Line and others unleashed a tidal wave of illegal calls purportedly pitching free vacations to consumers. The FTC has filed suit against the company and six related defendants. Also announced today: settlements with a call center and three individuals involved in the operation.

Certifiably shady

Certificates of Existence, Status, or Good Standing – sounds like an existential crisis, right? Instead of a philosophical commentary on the meaning of life, the certificates in question refer to business documentation from your state or local government. In a new twist on an old scam, some not-so-honest outfits may try to confuse you into thinking they’re from the government and that you need to pay for certain documents to operate your business.

FTC consumer protection year in review offers 2020 vision for your business

They say hindsight is 20/20, but what about foresight? We’re not ones to prognosticate, but a look at notable FTC cases and initiatives from the past year suggests some topics likely to be top of mind in months to come. Here is a non-exhaustive list of issues in our 2019 rearview mirror and likely visible through the 2020 windshield.

New and improved FTC data security orders: Better guidance for companies, better protection for consumers

When Chairman Simons and I arrived at the FTC, one of our first priorities was to strengthen the FTC’s orders in data security cases. We’ve already made three major changes that improve data security practices and provide greater deterrence, within the bounds of our existing authority.

Commenting on accuracy in consumer reporting? Take a breather.

In conjunction with the recent Accuracy in Consumer Reporting workshop, the FTC and CFPB have asked for public comments. The agencies are looking for feedback about issues affecting the accuracy of both traditional credit reports and employment and tenant background screening reports. But if you thought you had to burn the midnight oil over the holidays to file a timely comment, here’s some good news.

Pump fiction? FTC challenges claims for fuel cards

Everyone wants to save money at the pump. And no one wants to cut fuel costs more than companies – including many small businesses – that are in the trucking industry or have company cars. The FTC just filed a complaint alleging that Georgia-based FleetCor Technologies has made misleading representations in pitching its “Fuelman” and co-branded fuel cards to businesses around the country.

$191 million FTC settlement with University of Phoenix addresses deceptive employment claims

When a person is juggling job responsibilities and other commitments, why take on the extra effort of enrolling in college? As University of Phoenix’s market research revealed, career opportunities are the major motivator. That’s why University of Phoenix, a for-profit post-secondary school, created its “Let’s Get to Work” marketing campaign. The ads – some of which specifically pitched members of the military – prominently name-dropped employers like Adobe, Microsoft, and Twitter.

Accuracy in credit and background screening reports: Watch the webcast

“Accuracy” is the linchpin of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and it’s the topic of an FTC-CFPB workshop today. Industry representatives, consumer advocates, law enforcers, and others will discuss accuracy considerations both in traditional credit reporting and in employer and tenant background screening reports. The webcast will go live minutes before the 9:00 ET start time.

Sign of the times? Protecting your company from B2B deception

They may look like invoices sent to business owners for posters they may need to display in the workplace. But we think of them as unvoices – deceptively worded solicitations that tried to sell companies posters that are readily available for free. A law enforcement action just settled by the FTC and Florida Attorney General offers tips on protecting your business from this form of B2B deception.

VoIP where prohibited by law?

The FTC and its law enforcement partners are waging the war against illegal telemarketing on many fronts. An amended complaint in a pending case filed by the FTC and the Ohio Attorney General seeks to hold an additional adversary responsible for violations of the law: Globex Telecom, a VoIP service provider that allegedly played a key role in subjecting consumers to a barrage of illegal calls for a bogus credit card interest rate reduction scheme.

Free vulnerability scanning for your business

You know the importance of strong cybersecurity, but have you heard about free vulnerability testing? As part of its mission to protect the nation’s cyber infrastructure, the Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber-Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) offers free vulnerability scanning to government, critical infrastructure, and private businesses.

Panels announced for December 10th FTC-CFPB Accuracy in Consumer Reporting workshop

How central is accuracy to the credit reporting system? It’s important enough that Congress mentioned it in the second line of the Fair Credit Reporting Act – and more than 70 times in the text of the statute. On December 10, 2019, the FTC and CFPB will host a public workshop to talk about issues affecting the accuracy of both traditional credit reports and background screening reports used by employers and landlords.

Stopping scams cold turkey

It’s the Business Blog equivalent of a Thanksgiving tradition: our annual reminder to share tips at your holiday gathering about avoiding those other kinds of turkeys – consumer scams. We’ve introduced you to the FTC’s interactive Age & Fraud Loss graphic on our Tableau Public page. As the green bean casserole bakes, take a moment to explore the page for advice tailored to family members of every generation.

YouTube channel owners: Is your content directed to children?

Under COPPA, how do I know if my channel is “directed to children”? Since the FTC and New York Attorney General announced their September 2019 settlement with YouTube for violations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Rule, we’ve heard that question from channel owners – sometimes called content creators.

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.

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