FTC Blogs

Scammers are spoofing news sites to promote health products

Scammers will do just about anything to rip you off. They will create fake websites, use fake endorsements from public figures, lie about the effectiveness of their products, and much more. We did some investigating and found that a number of shady companies selling “brain booster” pills are using these exact tactics to promote their products. Here’s how:

Trial and error

Imagine a series of promotions that involve pain relief promises, cognition claims, endorsements, 30-minute radio ads, “risk-free” money-back guarantees, “free” trial offers, negative options, telemarketing, and upsells of buying club memberships. What could possibly go wrong for consumers?

Where would you like to start?

Participation is voluntary, but live up to what you promise

To facilitate the transfer of data, many U.S. companies that do business internationally participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) system. It’s voluntary, of course, but if companies say they participate, that representation – like other objective claims – must be truthful. That’s the lesson of three proposed settlements just announced by the FTC.

Global Connect technical support scam, part 2

Last fall, the FTC shut down an operation called Global Connect, which sent deceptive pop-up messages to people’s computers. The pop-ups claimed the computers had problems when they really didn’t, and the operators scared thousands of people into paying hundreds of dollars each for tech support services they didn’t need.We recently learned that some of these same people are getting called again.

It’s illegal to ban honest reviews

Congress unanimously passed the Consumer Review Fairness Act to protect people’s ability to share in any forum their honest opinions about a business’ products, services, or conduct. Some companies had been using contract provisions – including their online terms and conditions – to threaten to sue consumers or penalize them financially for posting negative reviews or complaints. The new law makes that illegal.