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Dealing in personal data? Seller beware.

If your company is in the business of pretzels or pitchforks, what you’re selling and who you’re selling to may not be a big deal. But if your stock-in-trade is personal information – sensitive stuff like people’s Social Security and bank account numbers – what’s reasonable under the circumstances may be different. That’s the message companies can take from the FTC’s settlement of a pending complaint against data broker LeapLab.

When teamwork helps the scheme work

Remember the scene in the movie “Bull Durham” where veteran Crash Davis is prepping rookie Nuke LaLoosh for a TV interview and schools him on clichés about teamwork? “I’m just happy to be here. Hope I can help.” They don’t just apply to baseball. Most enterprises rely on help from others on the team. Unfortunately for consumers, that includes questionable outfits that need another company’s help to accept credit cards.

5 steps to help protect your business from a supplies surprise

You’ve got lots of needs as a business owner – among them, supplies you rely on from square-dealing vendors. But what if the vendor misleads your staff about the price or quantity of those supplies, hits you with a huge invoice you didn’t authorize, and then tries to pressure you into paying it? Those are just some of the sales tactics the FTC is challenging in recent law enforcement actions.

The gift that keeps on taking

According to the musical “Grease,” some things go together like “rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong.” Some other things go together, too. They’re easier to pronounce, but do much more harm to consumers. What do we have in mind?

Bogus weight loss claims and deceptive “free” trial offers. 

FTC challenges company’s Made in USA claims

Why do so many companies advertise their products as “Made in the USA”?  Because they know that for a lot consumers, it’s an important attribute that may affect their choice of what to buy. The FTC has filed suit alleging that Chemence, Inc., falsely claimed that certain of its glue products were “Made in the USA” – or even “Proudly Made in the USA.”

IdentityTheft.gov means business!

Why is it your business if identity theft victims can get free personal recovery plans and other help that makes it easier for them to report and recover from identity theft?  Here’s an answer: Because it’s good business – for you, your customers, your employees, and your community.

When touting auto systems checks, it’s wise to recall recalls

Make, model, and cup holders are considerations, of course, but what really matters to a prospective used car buyer is whether the vehicle’s systems check out. It just makes sense, since so many of those systems are tied to safety. But it’s not easy for consumers to tell if they’re buying a lemon or a creampuff. Many dealers try to assuage that concern by advertising that their used cars have passed multi-point checks.

FTC goes to court to challenge DeVry’s employment and earnings claims

According to a lawsuit just filed by the FTC, DeVry University’s ads conveyed to consumers that 90% of its graduates actively seeking employment landed new jobs in their field of study within six months of graduation. You can say this about DeVry: The company has been remarkably consistent in driving home the “90%” marketing message to prospective students in print and TV ads, online campaigns, brochures, and other advertising.

PrivacyCon set to convene

Experts from around the world have gathered today at PrivacyCon, the FTC’s first-ever confab to discuss the latest in consumer privacy and data security. And it’s much more than just talk. Leading academics and other experts will present new research on five key topics: the state of online privacy, consumer expectations, big data, the economics of privacy and security, and security and usability.

Why big data is a big deal

For a while now, pundits have been talking about the three V’s of big data: Volume – the vast quantity of information that can be gathered and analyzed; Velocity – the speed with which companies can accumulate, analyze, and use new data; and Variety – the breadth of data companies can analyze effectively.

FTC takes on toothless encryption claims for dental practice software

When a company promises to encrypt dentists’ patient data, but fails to live up to established standards, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the FTC would bristle. A $250,000 proposed settlement with Henry Schein Practice Solutions, Inc., and a new FTC video remind companies to brush up on security-related data hygiene.

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