FOR THE CONSUMER
The FTC's monthly newsletter for the Congressional community
It's the news you—and your constituents—can use.
Volume 4 – Number 6
IN THIS ISSUE
DIRECTORY ASSISTANCE? A U.S. District judge has ordered the operator of a Canadian business directory scam to pay $2.9 million in consumer redress for charging U.S. charities and small businesses for directory listings they didn't order. The scammer, who previously was ordered jailed by a U.S. district judge for violating an asset freeze, also faces criminal mail and wire fraud charges in Illinois.
Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2005/06/pinacle.shtm
JOIN THE CLUB. BJ’s Wholesale Club has agreed to settle FTC charges that its failure to take appropriate security measures to protect the sensitive information of thousands of its customers was an unfair practice that violated federal law. FTC alleged that unauthorized people used the information to make millions of dollars' worth of fraudulent purchases.
Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2005/06/bjswholesale.shtm
WEIGHT LOSS CLAIMS. The marketers of two dietary supplements, FiberThin and Propolene, have settled FTC charges that they made unlawful, misleading weight-loss claims; they've agreed to pay $1.5 million in consumer redress.
Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2005/06/fiberthin.shtm
IT'S NOT AN OPTION. A children's book publisher will pay over $700,000 to settle charges that it violated the Negative Option Rule and the Telemarketing Sales Rule. The FTC alleged that Scholastic and two of its subsidiaries failed to adequately disclose the terms of their direct-to-home book clubs.
Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2005/06/scholastic.shtm
REPORTING FOR DUTY
The FTC has issued the following reports:
- P2P. The P2P (peer-to-peer) file-sharing report recommends that industry and government take steps to enable consumers to receive the benefits this technology offers while avoiding the risks it creates. File-sharing technology can enhance efficiency by allowing faster file transfers, conserving bandwidth, and reducing storage needs. At the same time, it can leave consumers' computers vulnerable to spyware, viruses, and other risks.
- Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2005/06/p2p.shtm
- Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2005/06/p2p.shtm
- CAN-spam IT. The FTC's report to Congress -- required by the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 (“CAN-SPAM Act”) -- doesn't recommend requiring unsolicited commercial e-mail to include a label in the subject line as a way to reduce spam. The reason: Subject line labeling requirements enacted by several states and foreign countries have not been effective in reducing spam.
- Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2005/06/adv1.shtm
The FTC and HHS will hold a workshop on marketing, industry self-regulation, and childhood obesity on July 14 and 15 at the Commission's Conference Center, 601 New Jersey Ave., NW, Washington, DC. The event will bring together food and beverage companies, medical and nutrition experts, media and entertainment companies, consumer groups, and advertising specialists to discuss the marketing of food and beverages to children, as well as initiatives to educate kids and parents about nutrition. The workshop is free and open to the public, but space is limited. Pre-registration is encouraged, but not required.
Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2005/05/childobese.shtm
TOWN HALLS. Ah, the August recess -- the perfect time for visiting constituents at town hall meetings, community events, and county fairs. The FTC has practical information to help your constituents spot and avoid fraud. Magnets and fans are particularly popular. To learn more about FTC resources for a town hall meeting on consumer issues, or to get information for constituent meetings, contact Derick Rill at email@example.com.
NEW CONSUMER EDUCATION
"HGH" PILLS AND SPRAYS: HUMAN GROWTH HYPE? Warns consumers about "imposter" non-prescription Human Growth Hormone products making unsubstantiated anti-aging claims. www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt146.shtm
¡OJO! FTC RESOURCES FOR HISPANIC COMMUNITIES. Bilingual Hispanic outreach newsletter provides consumer tips, news about FTC actions against scammers targeting Hispanics, and information about the FTC’s efforts to reach out to Hispanic communities. www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/newsletter/ojo/0101.pdf
TIP OF THE MONTH -- How to be the Class "Value-Dictorian"
Now that school is out, new grads have some time to focus on the future. The FTC suggests that students and graduates tap into these tips to make the most of their money:
1. Consider the Do Not Call Registry. Want to reduce the number of strangers trying to sell you something over the phone? Visit donotcall.gov to put your telephone number on the registry.
2. Keep your personal information to yourself. Protect your passwords, guard your credit card number, shred sensitive paperwork, and don't leave your mail where it might tempt a potential identity thief.
3. Practice P2P file-sharing with care, if at all. File-sharing can open the door to unwanted content, spyware, and viruses. You might give strangers access to more than just the files you intend to share -- like your email or personal documents.
4. Phishing scams reel in your personal information. Emails claiming to be from your bank, ISP, or random companies asking you to verify your credit card and checking account numbers are "phishing" for your information. Never give out any personal information in response to an email.
For more tips: www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/alerts/gradalrt.shtm
NUMBERS TO KNOW
FTC'S OFFICE OF CONGRESSIONAL RELATIONS: 202-326-2195.
Check out the CONGRESSIONAL RESOURCES portion of our Web site at www.ftc.gov/ftc/congress.shtm No password needed to access.
To order free FTC consumer information, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, Member or Committee affiliation, and mailing address.
To file a fraud complaint, go to www.ftc.gov or call FTC's toll-free line 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).
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