FTC Blogs

A government program that pays your bills?

Have you heard about a government program that will pay your monthly bills for an up-front payment or processing fee? Here’s a short version of the rest of this post: It’s a scam. Don’t do it. We’ve heard that this scam is happening in some African-American church communities: people approach church-goers with this so-called deal. And, because it comes up in church, the scam might seem like it could be legit. But take it from me – and the FTC: there is no federal program that pays your monthly bills in exchange for payment of any kind.

The FTC’s sobering truth about Breathometer

Whether you’re gathering with friends for Friday night happy hour or a Super Bowl party to watch the big game, it’s important to get home safely. So wouldn’t it be great if you could transform your smartphone into a breathalyzer to make sure you were safe to drive? Well, Breathometer, Inc., claimed its breathalyzer devices could do just that, and give you the power to make smart decisions while you’re drinking.

Track record? Staff report explores cross-device tracking

We recently saw a fellow diner reach across the cafeteria soup station until splat! His phone fell out of his shirt pocket and into the minestrone. But even before he ladled out his soup-logged smartphone, he reached into his bag and took out his tablet. As consumers have come to rely on multiple devices, companies are using technologies to connect a consumer’s activity across those devices – smartphones, tablets, desktops, laptops, and more.

FTC challenges claims for smartphone breathalyzer pitched on “Shark Tank”

Fans of “Shark Tank” will remember it as one of the show’s most dramatic bidding wars. Charles Yim, CEO of Breathometer, pitched his smartphone-enabled breathalyzer as a way to “help people make smarter and safer decisions” about drinking and driving. All five sharks went for the product hook, line, and sinker. But according to the FTC, the defendants’ deceptive claims about the accuracy of the devices’ readings left consumers floundering.

Have a plan to comply with the bar on horizontal interlocks

With some exceptions, Section 8 of the Clayton Act prohibits the same individual from serving as an officer or director of two competing corporations. Like other portions of the forward-looking Clayton Act (including Section 7 with its proscription on mergers that are likely to harm competition), Section 8 was designed to “nip in the bud incipient violations of the antitrust laws by removing the opportunity or temptation to such violations through interlocking directorates.” U.S. v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 111 F. Supp. 614, 616 (S.D.N.Y. 1953).

$20 million FTC settlement requires Uber to have proof for earnings, auto financing claims

In promotional materials to attract prospective drivers, ride-hailing company Uber Technologies touted how much money drivers would earn and the favorable terms they could get by financing a car through Uber’s Vehicle Solutions Program. But according to an FTC complaint, Uber exaggerated those earnings claims and misrepresented the terms of its Vehicle Solutions Program.

Uber-exaggerated claims result in $20 million settlement

When you’re on the hunt for income, the last thing you want is to be misled about the earnings and benefits that a business opportunity offers. Today, the FTC announced that Uber agreed to a $20 million settlement of the FTC’s charges that the company made false or unsupported claims regarding its drivers’ likely income and the benefits of its Vehicle Solutions Program.

Looking back at privacy in 2016, and on to the future

Protecting consumers’ privacy and personal data has long been a priority at the FTC. Over the years, we’ve helped millions of identity theft victims recover from that crime. We created the National Do Not Call Registry to limit unwanted telemarketing, and we continue to fight illegal robocalls. And we’ve brought more than sixty cases against companies that didn’t take reasonable steps to protect people’s data.

Looking back at privacy in 2016, and on to the future

Protecting consumers’ privacy and personal data has long been a priority at the FTC. Over the years, we’ve helped millions of identity theft victims recover from that crime. We created the National Do Not Call Registry to limit unwanted telemarketing, and we continue to fight illegal robocalls. And we’ve brought more than sixty cases against companies that didn’t take reasonable steps to protect people’s data.

Western Union settlement: $586 million in refunds

According to the FTC, Western Union has known for years that scammers were using its system to commit significant fraud. Even when faced with clear evidence that many of its agents were committing fraud, Western Union kept taking people’s money. Probably billions in fraud-related transfers, sent since January 2004. But today, in a global settlement with the FTC and the US Department of Justice, Western Union agreed to return $586 million to people and create a real and strong anti-fraud program.