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.
In tribute to the baseball season that’s just ended, we’ll start this blog post about an alleged pyramid scheme and supposed miraculous dietary supplements with the words of the great Yogi Berra: “It's like déjà vu all over again.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What’s the future of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Rule? That’s the subject of today’s FTC workshop. If you’re COPPA-conscious, watch the webcast. The link will go live moments before the 9:00 ET start time.
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.
Technology changes at the speed of light, but the touchstone of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Rule remains constant. When it comes to the collection of their kids’ personal information online, parents are in charge. But how does that principle apply in technologies not originally anticipated by the COPPA Rule?
How do consumers interpret “Made in the USA” and other U.S.-origin claims? What can the FTC do to improve its enforcement program? Those are just two of the topics on the table at today’s Made in the USA workshop. FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection Director Andrew Smith will start the discussion at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time. It promises to be a fast-paced, content-packed half-day event. Minutes before the start time, you can watch the webcast live from the workshop webpage.
“He just emailed you! You caught his eye and now he’s expressed interest in you... Could he be the one?”
You’ve probably seen them on TV: announcements with prominent warnings about FDA actions involving certain prescription drugs or medical devices. But they aren’t official health and safety recalls or alerts from the Food and Drug Administration. They’re something else – and FTC staff has sent letters to some of the people involved.
When consumers apply for credit, housing, or employment, consumer reports are often used to help decide whether they can get that loan, apartment, or job. With so much at stake, the accuracy of those reports is of the utmost importance. On December 10, 2019, the FTC and CFPB will host a workshop to discuss issues related to the accuracy of traditional credit reports and background screening reports used by prospective employers and landlords.
Remember Saturday Night Live’s “Coffee Talk with Linda Richman”?