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University of St. Thomas
46 South 11th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55403
United States

Directions & Nearby
Room
Schulze Auditorium

Event Description

Join the Federal Trade Commission, Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota, Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, legal services attorneys and other consumer advocates, and state and federal consumer protection officials at the 2019 Midwest Common Ground Conference to discuss a variety of issues facing consumers today. Learn about emerging trends and existing challenges. Explore ways to collaborate and share information and resources. Discuss recent consumer fraud trends with consumer fraud experts, including frauds impacting younger and older demographics, lead generation issues, robocalls, automobile finance issues, and other topics relevant to Midwest consumers.

Preregistration Notice

The 2019 Midwest Common Ground Conference is open to invited participants and the public. There is no fee to attend. The FTC will accept pre-registration for this conference.  Pre-registration is not necessary to attend, but is encouraged so that we may better plan this event.

To pre-register, please complete the 2019 Midwest Common Ground Conference Registration Form.

A detailed agenda and additional information about the conference will be e-mailed to attendees.

When you pre-register, we collect your name, title, organization, and e-mail address. We use the name and affiliation you have provided for conference administration purposes—to estimate how many people will attend, prepare nametags, and better understand the likely audience for the conference. We may also use your e-mail address to contact you with information about the conference.

A BCP staff artist's representation of the Common Ground Conference.

  • 8:30 - 9:00 am

    Registration and Check-in

    9:00 - 9:25 am

    Welcome and Opening Remarks

    Todd Kossow
    Director
    Federal Trade Commission
    Midwest Region

    Andrew Smith
    Director
    Federal Trade Commission
    Bureau of Consumer Protection

    9:25 - 9:45 am

    Keynote Address

    Introduction:

    James Canaday
    Deputy Attorney General
    Minnesota Attorney General’s Office

    John Keller
    Chief Deputy Attorney General
    Minnesota Attorney General’s Office

    Anders Folk
    First Assistant United States Attorney
    District of Minnesota

    9:45 - 10:30 am

    Taken for a Ride: Auto Sales and Financing

    Buying or leasing a car is one of the most expensive transactions many consumers face. It can also be one of the most challenging. This panel will discuss the perils consumers encounter in the auto marketplace—from false ads to undisclosed fees—what consumer protection agencies have been doing to prevent them, and what consumers can do to spot a scam.

    Panelists:

    Jessica Whitney
    Director of Consumer Protection
    Iowa Attorney General’s Office

    Jessica Aliaga‐Froelke
    President
    Hispanic Solutions Group

    Todd Murray
    Consumer Rights Attorney
    Friedman Murray, PLLC
    Minneapolis, Minnesota

    Jason Adler
    Assistant Director
    Federal Trade Commission
    Midwest Region

    Moderator:

    Beth Goodell
    Supervising Attorney
    Mid‐Minnesota Legal Aid

    10:30 - 10:45 am

    Break

    10:45 - 11:45 am

    Anatomy of a Scam: Lead Generation and Its Abuses

    This panel will explore the behind-the-scenes world of online lead generation, focusing on the payday loan lead generation market. We will go in-depth to analyze two of the most brazen lead-related scams in history: Joel Tucker’s use of payday loan leads to create and sell millions of fake debts to debt collectors, and Ideal Financial’s use of payday loan leads to steal millions of dollars directly from unsuspecting consumers’ bank accounts.

    Panelists:

    Jonathan Gillman
    Founder and Chief Executive Officer
    Omniangle Technologies, LLC

    Michael Goldstein
    Senior Financial Investigator
    Federal Trade Commission
    Division of Financial Practices

    Roberto Menjivar
    Investigator
    Federal Trade Commission
    Midwest Region

    Moderator:

    Katharine Roller
    Staff Attorney
    Federal Trade Commission
    Midwest Region

    11:45 - 12:15 pm

    Open for Business: How Fraudsters Rip Off Small Businesses

    Sensitive information, systems vulnerabilities, and human error all can make small businesses easy prey for scammers. In this session, speakers from the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Bureau of Investigation will address the riskiest small business scams; common tactics used by scammers; and preventative measures to protect small businesses and consumers alike.

    Lisa Jemtrud
    Vice President of Community Relations and Outreach
    Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota

    Steven Eppley
    Supervisory Special Agent
    Federal Bureau of Investigation

    12:15 - 1:25 pm

    Lunch (On Your Own)

    1:25 - 1:55 pm

    Exploring Pyramid Scheme Fraud and Multi‐level Marketing with Economic Experiments

    The modern consumer landscape is precarious, filled with offers that seem to occupy an opaque space between legal and illegal commerce. How do we best explore consumer vulnerability when research suggests there is no one stereotype that identifies a typical fraud victim? We might be susceptible to one form of fraud yet immune to another, suggesting that research is needed within each fraud type. Based on recent experimental research on pyramid scheme fraud and multi‐level marketing, we will discuss research findings as well as the promise and limitations of this approach to consumer protection research.

    Stacie Bosley
    Associate Professor of Economics
    Department Chair for EFAQ
    Hamline University

    1:55 - 2:40 pm

    Scammed at Any Age: How Fraud Affects Older Adults and Millennials

    This panel will discuss elder justice issues as well as the emerging data about how younger adults are defrauded. Panelists will review the unique ways in which older adults and millennials are scammed and will explore common red flags between the two.

    Panelists:

    Michelle Jones
    Deputy Criminal Chief
    Major Crimes and Elder Justice Coordinator
    United States Attorney’s Office
    District of Minnesota

    Rachel Williams
    Postal Inspector
    United States Postal Inspection Service
    Minneapolis, Minnesota

    Patti Poss
    Staff Attorney
    Federal Trade Commission
    Division of Marketing Practices

    Moderator:

    Susan Adams Loyd
    Chief Executive Officer and President
    Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota

    2:40 - 3:25 pm

    Ringing Off the Hook

    At record numbers, consumers continue to be bombarded with billions of illegal robocalls trying to hawk products or services or to outright defraud them. This panel will discuss efforts to combat illegal robocalls and the tools and technology to stop them. It also will provide advice on what consumers can do to stop unwanted calls.

    Panelists:

    Eliza Bradley
    Deputy Attorney General
    Data Privacy and Identity Theft Unit
    Indiana Attorney General’s Office

    Farhan Chughtai
    Director of Advocacy and Regulatory Affairs
    USTelecom
    The Broadband Association

    Ian Barlow
    Staff Attorney and Do Not Call Program Coordinator
    Federal Trade Commission
    Division of Marketing Practices

    Moderator:

    William Hodor
    Staff Attorney
    Federal Trade Commission
    Midwest Region

    3:25 - 3:40 pmBreak

    3:40 - 4:55 pm

    “I’ve Been Scammed! What Do I Do?”

    Consumers are often unsure of what to do when they discover they have been scammed. Who do they complain to? How does the investigation work? What is the end result if they complain? This panel will discuss the various agencies that investigate consumer fraud, the services they can provide to consumers, and the procedure that is followed when they get a consumer complaint.

    Panelists:

    Surya Saxena
    Assistant United States Attorney
    District of Minnesota

    Glenn Moule
    Special Agent
    Federal Bureau of Investigation
    Minneapolis, Minnesota

    Rachel Williams
    Postal Inspector
    United States Postal Inspection Service
    Minneapolis, Minnesota

    Julie Kiedrowski
    Vice President of Business and Consumer Services
    Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota

    Samantha Gordon
    Staff Attorney
    Federal Trade Commission
    Midwest Region

    Beth Goodell
    Supervising Attorney
    Mid‐Minnesota Legal Aid

    Moderator:

    James Canaday
    Deputy Attorney General
    Minnesota Attorney General’s Office

    4:55 - 5:00 pm

    Wrap-up and Closing Remarks

    Todd Kossow
    Director
    Federal Trade Commission
    Midwest Region

    June Chang
    Visual Information Specialist
    Federal Trade Commission
    Division of Consumer and Business Education

    5:15 - 7:00 pm

    Reception (Location to be announced at the conclusion of the conference.)

FTC Privacy Policy

Under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) or other laws, we may be required to disclose to outside organizations the information you provide when you pre-register. The Commission will consider all timely and responsive public comments, whether filed in paper or electronic form, and as a matter of discretion, we make every effort to remove home contact information for individuals from the public comments before posting them on the FTC website.

The FTC Act and other laws we administer permit the collection of your pre-registration contact information and the comments you file to consider and use in this proceeding as appropriate. For additional information, including routine uses permitted by the Privacy Act, see the Commission’s comprehensive Privacy Policy.

This event is open to the public and may be photographed, videotaped, webcast, or otherwise recorded. By participating in this event, you are agreeing that your image — and anything you say or submit — may be posted indefinitely at ftc.gov or on one of the Commission's publicly available social media sites.