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Mind the gap: What Lumosity promised vs. what it could prove

Ads for Lumosity’s “brain training” program made it sound simple. Play games for 10-15 minutes several times a week to delay memory decline; protect against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease; improve school, work, and athletic performance; and reduce the effects of everything from ADHD to post-traumatic stress disorder. But an FTC complaint alleges that defendant Lumos Labs didn’t have sound science to support those claims. What’s the message for marketers?

FTC issues Enforcement Policy Statement and business guidance on native advertising

If what looks to be an article, video, or game is really an ad – but it’s not readily identifiable to consumers as such – the FTC has another word for it: deceptive. Ads that blur the line between advertising and content have long been a consumer protection concern under Section 5 of the FTC Act.

Oracle Java SE case serves up a cuppa caution

When consumers updated Java SE, which has been installed on more than 850 million computers, Oracle Corporation promised “safe and secure access to the world of amazing Java content” and stated that the updates had “the latest . . . security improvements.” But according to a settlement just announced by the FTC, when it came to those security updates, Java SE was pouring decaf.

FTC’s $100 million settlement with LifeLock: May (en)force be with you

The law may not authorize the use of light sabers, but to protect consumers and ensure that companies comply with existing orders, the FTC will use the forces within its power. It’s a lock that the agency’s $100 million settlement with LifeLock – one of the largest redress orders of its kind – makes that point as big as life.

Wyndham’s settlement with the FTC: What it means for businesses – and consumers

Data security watchers read with interest the United States Court of Appeals’ decision earlier this year in FTC v. Wyndham, upholding the FTC’s authority to challenge allegedly lax data security practices under the unfairness prong of the FTC Act. We view that ruling as a milestone victory for consumers and for companies of all sizes that are committed to keeping customers’ personal information secure.

Clothes by any other name: FTC challenges retailers’ “bamboo” claims

Maybe “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” but deceptively describing rayon clothing as bamboo isn’t so sweet – and violates the FTC’s Textile Rules. In addition to civil penalties totaling $1.3 million, settlements with Bed Bath & Beyond, Nordstrom, J.C. Penney Company, and Backcountry.com suggest another important point for industry members: Don’t ignore warnings about deceptive ads and misleading labels.

Think your company’s not covered by the FDCPA? You may want to think again.

As the song by The Who asks, “Who are you?” When it comes to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, many companies think they know who they are. If they’re third-party debt collectors, they’re covered by the FDCPA. If they’re creditors collecting their own debts, they aren’t. But as I mentioned recently in a presentation at an industry event, it’s not that simple.

Spotting the signs of a B2B scam

A small business or nonprofit gets what appears to be an invoice for a listing in an online yellow pages directory. On the face of it, it looks legit. It includes the name of an employee at the office, a copy of what the listing looks like, the “walking fingers” symbol associated with directories – and a demand for the $486.95 the business or nonprofit supposedly owes for the listing. What’s really going on?

Changes to the Telemarketing Sales Rule: What your business needs to know

Law enforcement, education, technology, crowd-sourcing. The FTC fights the battle against illegal telemarketing on every possible front – and here’s the latest development. After considering public comments, the FTC just amended the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) to protect consumers by prying four tools out of the hands of fraudsters.

Law enforcement sweep challenges dietary supplement claims

Opiate addiction is a national epidemic, but the public health crisis is only half the story. It also exacts a devastating toll on opiate-dependent individuals and their families. The FTC just filed a lawsuit against a company that claims its “opiate withdrawal supplement” provides “powerful relief” for people withdrawing from prescription medication and even heroin.

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