FOR THE CONSUMER
The FTC's monthly newsletter for the Congressional community
It's the news you - and your constituents - can use.
Volume 6 - Number 1
IN THIS ISSUE
DEBT COLLECTION. Capital Acquisitions and Management Corp. (CAMCO) and its affiliates will pay $1 million to settle FTC charges that their debt collection practices violated federal law. The FTC alleged that the defendants used deceptive and illegal methods to collect debts, in violation of an earlier settlement with the FTC. Many debts were beyond the statute of limitations; in some cases, consumers never owed the debts. The settlement ends the litigation with the company and all but one individual defendant. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2006/12/camco.shtm
FACTA REPORT. The FTC has issued its second of five interim reports to Congress on the accuracy and completeness of information in consumers' credit reports, as required by the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA). The final report is due in 2014. The Commission’s goal is to conduct a nationwide survey of credit reports that focuses on consumers' experiences in disputing errors. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2006/12/fyi0679.shtm
FAL$E HOPE$. On December 12, 2006, the FTC announced Project FAL$E HOPE$, a federal and state law enforcement sweep targeting bogus business opportunities and work-at-home scams. The crackdown included more than 100 law enforcement actions by the FTC, the Department of Justice, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and law enforcement agencies in 11 states. In four of the new FTC cases alone, consumers lost more than $30 million. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2006/12/falsehopes.shtm
ID THEFT TASK FORCE. The Federal Identity Theft Task Force is seeking public comment on ways to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of federal government efforts to reduce identity theft. The public comments on these issues can supplement research and analysis underway, provide further information about the proposals, and identify areas where additional recommendations may be warranted. Comments must be filed on or before Friday, January 19, 2007.
Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2006/12/fyi0688.shtm
CHOICEPOINT REDRESS. The FTC has mailed claims forms for reimbursement to more than 1,400 identity theft victims who experienced out-of-pocket expenses due to alleged security lapses at data broker ChoicePoint Inc. Consumers who don't receive a letter but who believe they have out-of-pocket expenses due to this incident also may submit a form, available on the FTC’s website www.ftc.gov/choicepoint or at 1-888-884-8772 (toll-free). The form must be postmarked by February 4, 2007 for consideration. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2006/12/choicepoint.shtm
NEW AND REVISED CONSUMER AND BUSINESS PUBLICATIONS
P2P FILE-SHARING: EVALUATE THE RISKS. Alert warns consumers of the privacy risks of peer-to-peer file sharing; 8.5"x11", 2 pages. www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt128.shtm
ADS FOR BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES: HOW TO DETECT DECEPTION. Brochure provides advertising sales staff with claims that are tip-offs to fraudulent business opportunity offers. 8.5"x11", 2 pages. http://business.ftc.gov/documents/bus68-ads-business-opportunities-how-detect-deception
ELECTRONIC BANKING. Brochure discusses a variety of electronic fund transfer (EFT) services: automated teller machines, direct deposit, pay-by-phone systems, personal computer banking, and point-of-sale transfers and explains consumers’ legal rights and responsibilities regarding their EFT account. 4"x9", 18 pages, color. www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre14.shtm
The FTC is hosting two upcoming workshops. Both are free, open to the public and will be held at the FTC’s Conference Center, 601 New Jersey Ave., NW, Washington, DC. All attendees will be required to show a valid form of photo identification, such as a driver’s license. Pre-registration is not necessary, but is encouraged.
NEGATIVE OPTION MARKETING. The FTC will host a workshop on January 25, 2007 to analyze the marketing of goods and services through offers with negative option features. The workshop, which will bring together consumer representatives, academics, and industry leaders, will address the pros and cons of negative option offers, discuss how they’re marketed online and explore ways to make effective disclosures to consumers. To pre-register, email your name and affiliation to firstname.lastname@example.org. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2006/12/negativeoption.shtm
BROADBAND AND COMPETITION. The FTC will host a two-day public workshop on “Broadband Connectivity Competition Policy” on February 13 and 14, 2007. The workshop will bring together experts from business, government, and the technology sector, consumer advocates, and academics to explore competition and consumer protection issues relating to broadband Internet access, including so-called “network neutrality.” To pre-register, email your name and affiliation to email@example.com. A live Webcast of the workshop also will run on the FTC’s website.
Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2006/12/broadbandworkshop2.shtm
Join FTC Hispanic Outreach Coordinators Alvaro Puig and Rosario Mendez for a briefing about two new publications to empower Hispanic consumers with information to help them make well-informed decisions in the marketplace. The "Preview of New Bilingual Resources for Hispanic Consumers and Organizations" briefing will be held on Thursday, January 18, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the FTC Conference Center, 601 New Jersey Ave, NW, Washington, DC. For more information or to register, email HispanicOutreach@ftc.gov or call the FTC’s Hispanic Outreach Information line at 202.326.3689. Please RSVP by the end of the day on Tuesday, January 16.
TIP OF THE MONTH -- Read up and Reach Out. Be an Informed Consumer.
National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) is February 4-10, 2007
The FTC and a group of federal, state, and local government agencies and national consumer advocacy organizations will launch the ninth annual NCPW, February 4-10, 2007. NCPW highlights consumer education efforts in the fight against fraud in communities across the nation. This year, NCPW’s national organizers encourage everyone to read up and reach out to be an informed consumer. By gathering and sharing information, consumers – and their friends and families – can be more confident, savvy, and safe in the marketplace. Informed consumers are better able to see through frauds and deceptions, whether they take the form of questionable claims in an ad, ‘breathless’ offers that come in the mail or email, or schemes that sound like sure-fire successes.
NCPW partner organizations provide practical – and tactical – tips so consumers can learn and tell others how to make well-informed purchase decisions, avoid scams, protect their personal information, and file a complaint if they’re not satisfied. You and your constituents can read up and boost your marketplace IQ at www.consumer.gov/ncpw. The NCPW site has information from federal, state, and local government agencies, and national consumer advocacy organizations. Use it and the promotional materials in the Outreach Toolkit to promote NCPW in your community.
FTC'S OFFICE OF CONGRESSIONAL RELATIONS: 202-326-2195.
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