If you think the feuds among the Great Houses of Westeros get intense, consider the dinner table discussions about student loan debt. It’s not just taking a toll on the home front. Experts report that the $1.4 trillion debt burden carried by 42 million Americans is affecting workplace productivity, too. But at a time when consumers need accurate information, opportunistic outfits fly in like Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons with false promises of debt reduction or forgiveness.
If you own a small business or work for one, you’re probably concerned with protecting your business’ data. You want to make sure that sensitive information isn’t accidentally deleted, turned over to a scammer, or hacked. So this week, during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, let’s focus on making sure you know the resources the FTC has to help you and your employees understand cybersecurity, maintain your business’ computer networks safely, and keep sensitive information protected.
It’s not much bigger than a postage stamp, but the label on many textile, wool, and fur products provides important information, including fiber content, country of origin, and a company name or Registered Identification Number (RN). The FTC administers the RN system and industry members will want to check out recent upgrades to the RN website.
If you think Ed Tech is the gruff guy in the polo shirt who set up your network, you’re missing out on a revolution happening right now in America’s classrooms. With more than half of K-12 students able to access school-issued personal computing devices, Ed Tech – educational technology – is changing the way kids learn. The benefits are obvious, but it’s also raised questions about how the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) apply.
High-profile hackers grab the headlines. But some data thieves prefer old school methods – rifling through file cabinets, pinching paperwork, and pilfering devices like smartphones and flash drives. As your business bolsters the security of your network, don’t let that take attention away from how you secure documents and devices.
Dads and Moms want what’s best for their babies, so some companies feature adjectives like “organic” or “natural” in ads for infant gear. Those are among the terms Illinois-based Moonlight Slumber used to sell its baby mattresses online and at some of the nation’s biggest retailers. But according to an FTC complaint, when it came to backing its mattress claims with proper support, the company was asleep at the switch.
Before consumers buy a used car, we suggest they consult the Buyers Guide posted in the window. And before dealers post the Buyers Guide, we suggest they consult Answering Dealers’ Questions about the Revised Used Car Rule, a new resource to help them comply with the Rule.
Recent headlines offer a reminder that no business is immune from cyberattack. If you’re a tax professional, the sensitive information you handle makes you a particularly appealing target. Find out how to reduce your cyber risk at a free webinar for tax professionals.
When you make a pact, you must keep your promises . . . or else there are consequences. That’s the premise of Pact, Inc.’s app, which lets you pledge to perform certain healthy activities each week. That’s also the lesson from Pact’s settlement with the FTC over its own broken promises.
During red carpet season, runway commentators invariably ask the question, “Who are you wearing?” Just once we’d like to see a celebrity look at the label, take out their smartphone, and run the information through the FTC’s Registered Identification Number (RN) database. As part of its regulatory reform initiative, the FTC has announced upgrades to rn.ftc.gov that make the system even easier to use.
UPDATE: As of September 21, 2018, the law says credit freezes are free for everyone, and alerts now last one year (not 90 days). Read more here.
It sounds like there was some “inventing” going on at Florida-based invention promotion firm World Patent Marketing, but a Preliminary Injunction in a case brought by the FTC suggests it wasn’t the kind that unsuspecting consumers bargained for when they forked over millions of dollars based on the defendants’ misleading promises about patenting and promoting their products.
The EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework has been in place for more than a year and the Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield went into effect in April 2017. Self-certification programs like Privacy Shield offer benefits to business and protections for consumers. The FTC enforces the promises companies make when they join the frameworks, as well as false claims of participation.
If you have any influence over influencers, alert them to three developments, including the FTC’s first law enforcement action against individual online influencers for their role in misleading practices. According to the FTC, Trevor Martin and Thomas Cassell – known on their YouTube channels as TmarTn and Syndicate – deceptively endorsed the online gambling site CSGO Lotto without disclosing that they owned the company.
The Wizard of Oz was right: “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” That’s because according to an FTC settlement, computer company Lenovo should have been paying attention to the “man in the middle.” In this case, the “man in the middle” was preloaded ad-injecting software that put consumers’ personal information at risk from harmful man-in-the-middle attacks.
Ask a business person where their office is located and the likely answer is “everywhere.” They’re working from home, staying in the loop while traveling, and catching up on email between sales calls. For productivity’s sake, many companies give their employees – and perhaps clients or service providers – remote access to their networks. Are you taking steps to ensure those outside entryways into your systems are sensibly defended?
If you or your clients are in the tax preparation field, there are three letters you should focus on. OK, I-R-S may be the first thing on your mind. But as the FTC’s proposed settlement with TaxSlayer suggests, don’t forget those other important letters: G-L-B.