The FTC’s law enforcement action against Amazon for unauthorized billing recently settled, leaving two key takeaways: 1) Consumers are eligible for more than $70 million in refunds; and 2) Businesses need to get customers’ express consent before placing charges on their credit or debit cards.
First came the companies claiming they could reduce consumers’ credit card debt. Next were the outfits saying they could renegotiate mortgages or save homes from foreclosure. Now that people are struggling with the trillion-dollar burden of student loan debt, some marketers are making dramatic promises about reduced payments and loan forgiveness – representations the FTC alleges are false or misleading.
Here’s the story of a database of sensitive consumer information – names, addresses, phone numbers, email, and payment information – posted on a site frequented by (among others) hackers. It took just minutes before identity thieves tried to make unauthorized use of the information. But this tale of stolen credentials is full of surprises, including who posted the data.
It’s the thread that connects Alexandre Dumas’ The Man in the Iron Mask, the title character in The Talented Mr. Ripley, Don Draper’s back story in Mad Men – and an event scheduled for May 24, 2017, at the FTC.
It’s identity theft.
You’ve probably heard about the ransomware attack affecting organizations’ computer systems around the world. Here’s the best thing your company can do to avoid it: Update your operating system and other software. Now.
Does the thought of losing everything on your computer leave you queasy?
When scammers and hackers attack small businesses, it hurts not only the businesses’ reputations and bottom line, but also the integrity of the marketplace. Today, FTC Acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen announced a new FTC website, FTC.gov/SmallBusiness, to help business owners avoid scams, protect their computers and networks, and keep their customers’ and employees’ data safe.
Is there a family or a workplace that hasn’t been touched in some way by the public health crisis of opiate addiction? It’s no wonder that advertisers are offering purported treatments. But an FTC settlement with a Texas-based business stands for the fundamental principle that companies’ health claims need the support of sound science.
Here’s the thing about robots. Whether it’s Astro Boy, C-3PO, Optimus Prime, or Major Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell, variations on the technology are often out there. The same could be said for robots’ less popular cousins, robocalls. A recent opinion from a United States District Court discusses the FTC’s Robocall Rule and serves as a reminder for telemarketers to mark May 19, 2017, on their calendars.
If your company gets background information on prospective employees, it’s likely you’re covered by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Before you get a background screening report, the law requires that you make certain disclosures and get a prospective employee’s authorization. Is it time for a FCRA compliance check?
As any golfer will tell you, consistent follow-through is essential. And when the FTC files a lawsuit to protect consumers, the agency is in it for 18 holes – and a play-off, if necessary. Filed as part of Operation TELE-PHONEY, a nationwide crackdown on deceptive telemarketing, the FTC sued Publishers Business Services in 2008.
There are oldies but goodies. Then there are oldies and baddies. The FTC warns people looking for business opportunities to watch out for trendy tech scams and retro rip-offs. A New Jersey-based outfit cranked the Wayback Machine into overdrive by putting a contemporary spin on what may be one of the granddaddies of all bogus bizopps.
Silence may be golden, but not when it comes to contract clauses that would muzzle consumer complaints. That’s one message from an FTC settlement with the makers of NutriMost weight-loss products. Here’s another: don’t make weight-loss claims without scientific evidence to back them.
It’s wise to maintain a reasonable speed: 1) when you’re behind the wheel; or 2) when you’re preparing your public comments for the June 28, 2017, workshop on connected cars hosted by the FTC and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That’s why we’re extending the deadline for your feedback to Monday, May 1st.
You often hear the FTC described as America’s top cop on the privacy beat. We’re not the only agency working on privacy and data security issues, of course, but we have the broadest jurisdiction. And for more than 20 years, we have used it thoughtfully and forcefully to protect consumers even as new products and services emerge and evolve.
If Instagram is the home of Throwback Thursday and Flashback Friday, #IGers should think of today as Word to the Wise Wednesday.
Commercial cross-border data flows continue to grow in our internet-enabled economy. These data flows, often involving personal data, support innovative new business services and consumer products. At the same time, they raise questions of how to protect privacy across borders. Various mechanisms help both businesses and consumers with this challenge. One in which the FTC plays a key role is the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield.
It used to be a rite of passage: spending the night in a line outside the box office to score tickets to the Stones, Springsteen, or [insert your favorite group here]. The convenience of internet ticket sales ended the sleeping-on-the-sidewalk ritual. But online ticket sales raised another concern: Were prospective buyers losing out to computer programs that scooped up the best seats only to resell them at inflated prices?
In the 80s, the appropriately-named group The Cars asked the musical question, “Who’s gonna drive you home?” The FTC and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are hosting a workshop on June 28, 2017, to examine the consumer privacy and security implications of automated and connected motor vehicles. The questions won’t be of the musical variety, but we have a list of them and welcome your input.
On the first day of law school, students learn the Latin maxim Res ipsa loquitor – “The thing speaks for itself.” Pardon the inaccurate translation, but in the case of the FTC’s Annual Highlights, we think Tabula crustum ipsa loquitor – “The pie chart speaks for itself.” In other words, the statistical recap of the past year tells an important story about what the FTC is doing to protect consumers and promote competition.