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FTC takes on unproven health claims and “own-dorsements”

It’s a disturbing trend. Companies are targeting older consumers, claiming to have easy answers for serious diseases for which there may not be a proven cure. That’s one allegation in the FTC’s action against Nevada-based telemarketer Health Center, Inc.  Another count challenges what we call “own-dorsements.”

Signed, sealed, delivered: Shipping basics for your business

If your business sells online, the price of the product is only one comparative calculation that consumers consider. Shipping matters, too. Does your business deliver to their location? How much will it cost? When will they get their stuff? Here are some practical principles to apply – and some myths to bust – about shipping products to customers from sea to shining sea.

CROA case shows why piggybacking isn’t the answer for consumers shouldering bad credit

The practice is called piggybacking, but it’s not child’s play. It’s where a person with iffy credit pays a credit repair company to be listed as an authorized user on the account of someone with good credit – even though they don’t actually have access. The idea is that the person with bad credit can inflate their own credit score and get the money-saving benefits of better credit by “piggybacking” on the credit of a stranger. That’s how a Denver-based business pitched its services to cash-strapped consumers.

FTC, FDA warn companies making Coronavirus claims

When public health concerns hit the headlines, some companies rush to the market with products advertised to prevent or treat the problem. We’re seeing the same thing with the Coronavirus. But do those businesses have proof for their advertising claims, as the FTC requires? And have their products been approved, cleared, or authorized by the FDA? The FTC and FDA just sent warning letters to seven companies raising concerns about their Coronavirus-related products.

FTC’s Teami case: Spilling the tea about influencers and advertisers

The “what” of the FTC’s settlement with Teami, LLC, shouldn’t come as a surprise. The complaint alleges the defendants took in more than $15 million by deceptively claiming their array of teas could cause rapid and substantial weight loss, “fight against cancerous cells,” decrease migraines, unclog arteries, and prevent colds and flu. What’s different is the “how.” The defendants advertised primarily through a massive social media campaign.

FTC challenges claims for Quell pain relief device

Real estate professionals say it’s all about “location, location, location.” For health-related claims, the FTC says it’s all about “substantiation, substantiation, substantiation.” Marketers of an electric device called Quell claimed their product could treat chronic and severe pain throughout the body caused by conditions as diverse as arthritis, nerve damage, sciatica, shingles, and fibromyalgia. And they said all that could be accomplished by placing their product on one single location below the knee.

May 13th workshop takes a closer look at the GLB Safeguards Rule

Turning eighteen was a momentous birthday for most of us and the same could be said for the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act’s Safeguards Rule. Finalized in 2002 and in effect since 2003, the Safeguards Rule requires “financial institutions” to develop, implement, and maintain a comprehensive information security program for handling customer information.

Small business financing: Staff Perspective outlines issues

As an essential engine of the American economy, small business has a big impact. But where can small business owners turn for the capital they need to grow? Traditional lenders are one option, but the “It’s a Wonderful Life” image of George Bailey at the Building & Loan may not reflect reality. New online options may broaden the availability of credit, but they also raise some consumer protection concerns.

FTC’s Privacy & Data Security Update for 2019 – and how you can use it

To review everything the FTC did in 2019 dealing with consumer privacy and data security – Enforcement, Advocacy, Rules, Workshops, Consumer Education, Business Guidance, and International Engagement – it could take days to compile all that information. The FTC has an easier way to share those developments with your company, clients, and colleagues.

Villainous valentines: A romance scam playlist

You're a heartbreaker.
Dream faker.
Trouble maker.
Don't you mess around with me.

With apologies to Pat Benatar, our version of her hit Heartbreaker could join Love Stinks, You’re No Good, and Lips are Movin’ on our slightly skewed Valentine’s Day playlist. Maybe it’s the decades of dealing with deception, but February 14th reminds us to remind others that sometimes hearts and flowers can give way to hurts and sours – and reports in the FTC Consumer Sentinel Database support what we’re saying.

FTC challenges Online Trading Academy’s money-making claims

Ads for health products often target Boomer Consumers, but those aren’t the only claims pitched to people looking toward retirement. An FTC action alleges a company called Online Trading Academy has taken in more than $370 million by gearing its deceptive representations to that demographic. In addition, the complaint alleges violations of the Consumer Review Fairness Act.

FTC alleges deception in “unbiased” review site’s ratings and rankings

Top picks, star ratings, in-depth reviews. Many consumers don’t buy anything without consulting third-party review sites or checking out the opinions of other customers. But how often are those ratings the product of buying and selling between the “independent” site and companies willing to pay for better play? And are those reviews really from satisfied customers or are they from employees acting on instructions to stuff the ballot box with five-star ratings?

Free webinar for businesses focuses on tax identity theft and cybersecurity

We know you’re busy with the business of your business. But we’re hoping for an hour of your time. Why? It’s tax season and tax identity thieves, government imposters, and cyber criminals are out in force. Find out how to help thwart them so you can keep focused on your bottom line.  

What will they say at “You Don’t Say”?

You Don't Say: An FTC Workshop on Voice Cloning Technologies convenes today, January 28, 2020, at 12:30 ET to consider the consumer protection implications of voice cloning technologies. If you aren’t able to attend in person, watch the webcast to hear what experts on the subject are saying. A LIVE WEBCAST link will activate just before the start time.

Video offers how-to tips to explore FTC data

When people report scams, deceptive practices, or identity theft, the FTC and other members of the Consumer Sentinel Network regularly use that data for law enforcement purposes. But now we’re examining the information in innovative and interactive ways – and you can, too. The FTC just produced a video featuring Paul Witt, the Bureau of Consumer Protection’s Sultan of Stats.

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