October 20, 2018, marked 20 years since Congress passed the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. Many of the kids the law was originally designed to protect are now parents themselves. Looking back on two decades of COPPA, here are our five key takeaways.
Old West nostrum sellers used to market treatments for a broad range of diseases with the slogan “Good for what ails ya.” California-based Regenerative Medical Group used a current buzzword in science – stem cell therapy – to peddle what they claimed were treatments for conditions as varied as cerebral palsy and autism to Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and macular degeneration.
Small businesses are concerned about ransomware, email imposters, and other common cyber threats. So FTC staff hosted roundtables to ask business owners what we can do to help. You came from different parts of the country and different economic sectors, but your answers were consistent and you didn’t mince words: 1) You want straightforward advice that’s easy to implement; and 2) You want consistent guidance from the different federal agencies that deal with cyber threats and data security.
When people are looking to rent a house or apartment, the most important “screening” isn’t on the windows of the prospective new place. It’s the tenant background screening that goes on behind the scenes, the results of which can make the difference between home sweet home and homeless.
When people take a moment to report fraud, identity theft, or questionable business practices to the FTC, they’re giving consumers everywhere a “gift” of sorts. We use those reports – we get millions every year – to warn others about the latest scams. They also serve as an important source of information for our law enforcement efforts.
When the FTC warns consumers about government imposter scams, we’re usually referring to bogus calls that falsely claim to come from the IRS or some other official office. But as a case just announced by the FTC demonstrates, that’s not the only kind of false government affiliation that can deceive consumers.
Here’s something likely to make consumers start firing on all cylinders: receiving an “URGENT RECALL NOTICE” in the mail with a “warning” that their vehicle “may be under an important factory/safety recall.” But according to an FTC lawsuit against the Passport group of car dealerships in the Washington, D.C., area, the vast majority of people who received those notices didn’t have a vehicle subject to an open recall.
Laidlaw v. Organ was an 1817 Supreme Court case concerning an allegedly deceptive trade practice affecting a small business. You may be surprised to learn who argued that case and why it’s relevant 201 years later.
There’s former Van Halen front man Sammy Hagar, NFL legend Slingin’ Sammy Baugh, and the incomparable Sammy Davis, Jr. All notable in their own right, but did they win back $586 million for defrauded consumers? We didn’t think so. That’s why we have another pick for the Sammy Hall of Fame.
Four companies just entered into proposed agreements with the FTC to settle charges that they made misrepresentations about their participation in the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield. The cases reflect the FTC’s continuing commitment to enforcing the framework. Two of the complaints also focus on a Privacy Shield obligation that may be worth more of your company’s attention.
For consumers who took out loans with online payday lender AMG, the company’s illegal tactics left many of them saying OMG. But finally there’s good news for AMG customers arriving in the form of $505 million in refund checks just mailed to people who borrowed money between January 2008 through January 2013. That’s the largest amount ever sent in a refund program run by the FTC.
This year eight major league baseball teams are celebrating milestone anniversaries – and so are the FTC’s regional offices. In 1918, the Commission opened the first three of its regional offices. Today, eight regional offices continue to knock it out the park on behalf of America’s consumers. So it’s only fitting that on this momentous day we acknowledge the regional offices’ century of pennant-winning performances.
Thanks to a new federal law, free credit freezes and year-long fraud alerts are here, starting September 21st. What does that mean for your customers and employees?
Free credit freezes
Security freezes, also known as credit freezes, restrict access to a consumer’s credit file, making it harder for identity thieves to open new accounts in the consumer’s name. Starting September 21st, consumers can freeze and unfreeze their credit file for free. They also can get free freezes for their children.
“A guy walks into a bar . . . .” It’s a typical set-up for a stand-up comedian, but we never thought it would be the opener about a proposed FTC settlement involving unproven treatment claims for serious diseases.
We’ll grudgingly give this to Innovative Paycheck Solutions and FakePayStubOnline.com.
As the song goes, “A house is not a home.” And as alleged in an FTC lawsuit against the operators of rental listing websites, sometimes an apartment isn’t an apartment.
The FTC just announced a Made in USA hat trick: two proposed settlements and a final order arising from allegedly deceptive claims by a New York hockey puck seller, a California-based backpack business, and an online mattress company. The message for marketers? Given the importance of country-of-origin representations to many consumers, companies can expect the FTC to call offsides on misleading Made in USA claims.
Court orders against 13 related corporate and individual defendants involved in a Georgia-based debt collection operation bring to mind the 1980s chart-topping group from Australia, Crowded House. That’s because now that Advanced Mediation Group’s enterprise has been shuttered, the FTC’s “house” of individuals and corporations banned for life from the debt collection industry just got a little more crowded.
Where do people go when considering careers in the military? Online, of course. Based on the search terms they selected, they often found themselves on sites like army.com, armyenlist.com, and similar URLs for other branches of the service. But according to an FTC complaint against Sun Key Publishing, Fanmail.com, and related defendants, what was going on behind the scenes of those sites will surprise you.
When an emergency strikes, your business’s most vulnerable asset may not be in the stockroom or warehouse. It could be the data that has been central to your success. September is National Preparedness Month. The FTC has six steps you can take to help protect your company’s information from the unpredictable.