November 2019

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.

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.