Archive for the ‘Federal Trade Commission’ Category

Taking Charge: What to Do if Your Identity Is Stolen

August 7, 2012 Comments off

Taking Charge: What to Do if Your Identity Is Stolen (PDF)
Source: Federal Trade Commission

Identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information and uses it without your permission. It is a serious crime that can wreak havoc with your finances, credit history, and reputation – and it can take time, money, and patience to resolve. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, prepared this guide to help you repair the damage that identity theft can cause, and reduce the risk of identity theft happening to you.

If you suspect that someone has stolen your identity, acting quickly is the best way to limit the damage. Setting things straight involves some work. This guide has tips, worksheets, blank forms, and sample letters to guide you through the recovery process. It covers:

  • what identity theft victims must do immediately
  • what problems may crop up
  • how you can reduce your risk of identity theft

FTC Seeks Comments on Additional Proposed Revisions to Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule

August 3, 2012 Comments off

FTC Seeks Comments on Additional Proposed Revisions to Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule

Source: Federal Trade Commission

The Federal Trade Commission is publishing a Federal Register Notice seeking public comments on additional proposed modifications to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule.

In updating the Rule to keep current with technology advances, in September 2011, the FTC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on proposed changes to the Commission’s COPPA Rule. The Commission received 350 comments. In response to those comments and informed by its experience in enforcing and administrating the Rule, the FTC now proposes to modify certain definitions to clarify the scope of the Rule and strengthen its protections for the online collection, use, or disclosure of children’s personal information.

The proposed modifications to the definitions of "operator" and "website or online service directed to children" would allocate and clarify the responsibilities under COPPA when third parties such as advertising networks or downloadable software kits ("plug-ins") collect personal information from users through child-directed websites or services. The Commission proposes to state within the definition of "operator" that personal information is "collected or maintained on behalf of" an operator where it is collected in the interest of, as a representative of, or for the benefit of, the operator. This change would make clear that an operator of a child-directed site or service that chooses to integrate the services of others that collect personal information from its visitors should itself be considered a covered "operator" under the Rule.

FTC Alerts Consumers Who Want to Help Colorado Movie Theater Shooting Victims

July 27, 2012 Comments off

FTC Alerts Consumers Who Want to Help Colorado Movie Theater Shooting Victims

Source: Federal Trade Commission

The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, has tips for anyone who may want to donate money to the victims and families of the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting.

One opportunity for giving, the Aurora Victim Relief Fund, has been established by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and the Community First Foundation to meet immediate and long-term needs of victims and their families. Donations are being accepted through the Foundation’s program, which describes how various nonprofit organizations are offering direct support to those affected.

Unfortunately, legitimate charities face competition from fraudsters who either solicit for bogus charities or aren’t entirely honest about how a so-called charity will use your contribution. It’s wise to be wary of charities that spring up overnight in connection with current events, like the theater shooting.

Urgent appeals for aid that you get in person, by phone or mail, by e-mail, on websites, or on social networking sites may not be on the up-and-up. The agency’s Charity Checklist has tips for guidance on donating wisely.

FTC Report: Many Consumers Believe “Up To” Claims Promise Maximum Results

July 17, 2012 Comments off

FTC Report: Many Consumers Believe “Up To” Claims Promise Maximum Results
Source: Federal Trade Commission

The Federal Trade Commission today released an FTC-commissioned study indicating that when marketers use the phrase “up to” in claims about their products, many consumers are likely to believe that they will achieve the maximum “up to” results. The study describes what a test group of consumers thought about ads for replacement home windows that purportedly would provide “up to 47%” savings in energy costs.

The FTC believes the report will help guide advertisers to avoid the use of misleading “up to” claims. It reinforces the FTC’s view that advertisers using these claims should be able to substantiate that consumers are likely to achieve the maximum results promised under normal circumstances.

The report summarizes the results of a test conducted in conjunction with investigations of five companies that, in February, settled FTC charges that they made unsupported claims about their windows’ energy efficiency and how much they would reduce consumers’ heating and cooling bills. The cases are part of the agency’s efforts to ensure that environmental marketing is truthful and based on scientific evidence.

FTC Proposes Changes to Energy Labels for Home Heating and Cooling Equipment

June 24, 2012 Comments off

FTC Proposes Changes to Energy Labels for Home Heating and Cooling Equipment
Source: Federal Trade Commission

The Federal Trade Commission is seeking public comment on changes the agency is proposing to make to the EnergyGuide labels that are required for residential furnaces, central air conditioners, and heat pumps, to help consumers and businesses install equipment appropriate for their location under new Department of Energy (DOE) regional efficiency standards. The FTC proposes to amend the EnergyGuide label to provide a U.S. map showing where the product can be installed legally, a simple format for efficiency ratings, and a link to an online energy cost calculator. The FTC also proposes requiring the label on manufacturers’ websites, product packaging, and, as currently required, on the products themselves.

The DOE regional standards are mandated by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (as amended by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007), which also directs the FTC to determine how energy efficiency information should be communicated to consumers. Unlike existing DOE standards, which impose uniform, national efficiency levels for heating and cooling equipment, the new standards vary by region for certain products. The new DOE requirements will become effective in May 2013 for non-weatherized gas furnaces, mobile home gas furnaces, and non-weatherized oil furnaces, and in January 2015 for weatherized gas furnaces and all central air conditioners and heat pumps.

FTC Issues Final Commission Report on Protecting Consumer Privacy

March 27, 2012 Comments off

FTC Issues Final Commission Report on Protecting Consumer Privacy
Source: Federal Trade Commission

The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s chief privacy policy and enforcement agency, issued a final report setting forth best practices for businesses to protect the privacy of American consumers and give them greater control over the collection and use of their personal data. In the report, “Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: Recommendations For Businesses and Policymakers,” the FTC also recommends that Congress consider enacting general privacy legislation, data security and breach notification legislation, and data broker legislation.

“If companies adopt our final recommendations for best practices – and many of them already have – they will be able to innovate and deliver creative new services that consumers can enjoy without sacrificing their privacy,” said Jon Leibowitz, Chairman of the FTC. “We are confident that consumers will have an easy to use and effective Do Not Track option by the end of the year because companies are moving forward expeditiously to make it happen and because lawmakers will want to enact legislation if they don’t.”

The final privacy report expands on a preliminary staff report the FTC issued in December 2010. The final report calls on companies handling consumer data to implement recommendations for protecting privacy, including:

  • Privacy by Design – companies should build in consumers’ privacy protections at every stage in developing their products. These include reasonable security for consumer data, limited collection and retention of such data, and reasonable procedures to promote data accuracy;
  • Simplified Choice for Businesses and Consumers – companies should give consumers the option to decide what information is shared about them, and with whom. This should include a Do-Not-Track mechanism that would provide a simple, easy way for consumers to control the tracking of their online activities.
  • Greater Transparency – companies should disclose details about their collection and use of consumers’ information, and provide consumers access to the data collected about them.

+ Full Report (PDF)

FTC Releases Top Complaint Categories for 2011

March 22, 2012 Comments off

FTC Releases Top Complaint Categories for 2011
Source: Federal Trade Commission

The Federal Trade Commission today released its list of top consumer complaints received by the agency in 2011. For the 12th year in a row, identity theft complaints topped the list. Of more than 1.8 million complaints filed in 2011, 279,156 or 15 percent, were identity theft complaints. Nearly 25 percent of the identity theft complaints related to tax- or wage-related fraud.

The report breaks out complaint data on a state-by-state basis and also contains data about the 50 metropolitan areas reporting the highest per capita incidence of fraud and other complaints. In addition, the 50 metropolitan areas reporting the highest incidence of identity theft are noted.

+ Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book for January-December 2011 (PDF)

FTC Takes Action To Stop Deceptive Car Dealership Ads

March 16, 2012 Comments off

FTC Takes Action To Stop Deceptive Car Dealership Ads
Source: Federal Trade Commission

Five car dealers around the country have agreed to Federal Trade Commission settlement orders that require them to stop running ads in which they promise to pay off a consumer’s trade-in no matter what the consumer owes on the vehicle.

The FTC charged that the ads, which ran on the dealers’ websites and on sites such as, deceived consumers into thinking they would no longer be responsible for paying off the loan balance on their trade-in, even if it exceeded the trade-in’s value (i.e., the trade-in had “negative equity”). Instead, the dealers rolled the negative equity into the consumer’s new vehicle loan or, in the case of one dealer, required consumers to pay it out of pocket.

The proposed settlements, reached as part of the FTC’s ongoing efforts to protect consumers in financial distress, bar all of the dealers from making similar deceptive representations in the future. The cases are the first of their kind brought by the FTC. The Commission also issued a new consumer education publication titled “Negative Equity Ads and Auto-Trade-ins” to help consumers understand these types of ads.

+ Negative Equity Ads and Auto-Trade-ins

FTC Issues Report on the Experiences of Victims Recovering from Identity Theft

March 15, 2012 Comments off

FTC Issues Report on the Experiences of Victims Recovering from Identity Theft
Source: Federal Trade Commission
The Federal Trade Commission issued a staff report summarizing the results of a survey of identity theft victims who were asked to describe their experiences dealing with consumer reporting agencies and, more generally, exercising their rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) as amended by the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), to recover from identity theft. The survey showed that most of the respondents were generally satisfied with their experiences, but the report also noted areas for improvement..

According to the report, Using FACTA Remedies: An FTC Staff Report on a Survey of Experience of Identity Theft Victims, the survey showed:

  • Sixty-eight percent of the survey respondents were somewhat or very satisfied with their overall experiences with the consumer reporting agencies, but many consumers said it was difficult to reach a live person.
  • Less than half of the respondents were aware of most of their rights under FACTA before they contacted the consumer reporting agencies.
  • Some respondents complained about feeling pressured to buy additional identity theft monitoring products when they called the consumer reporting agencies.

The report concluded that:

  • The consumer reporting agencies may need to make it easier for consumers to reach a live person;
  • The FTC and other enforcement agencies should do more to educate the public about their rights under FACTA; and
  • The FTC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau should use their respective authorities to address the consumer reporting agencies’ practices related to selling identity theft monitoring products or services when they are contacted by identity theft victims.

+ Full Report (PDF)

Under FTC Settlement, Debt Buyer Agrees to Pay $2.5 Million for Alleged Consumer Deception

February 2, 2012 Comments off

Under FTC Settlement, Debt Buyer Agrees to Pay $2.5 Million for Alleged Consumer Deception
Source: Federal Trade Commission

One of the nation’s largest consumer debt buyers has agreed to pay a $2.5 million civil penalty to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it made a range of misrepresentations when trying to collect old debts. In addition, the company, Asset Acceptance, LLC, has agreed to tell consumers whose debt may be too old to be legally enforceable that it will not sue to collect on that debt.

The proposed settlement order resolving the agency’s charges also requires that when consumers dispute the accuracy of a debt, Asset Acceptance must investigate the dispute, ensuring that it has a reasonable basis for its claims the consumer owes the debt, before continuing its collection efforts. The proposed order also bars the company from placing debt on consumers’ credit reports without notifying them about the negative report. The U.S. Department of Justice filed the proposed settlement order this week at the FTC’s request.

+ United States of America (For the Federal Trade Commission), Plaintiff, v. Asset Acceptance, LLC, Defendant (United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida)
+ Time-Barred Debts: Understanding Your Rights When It Comes to Old Debts
+ Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock: Time-Barred Debts: What’s that, and why should I care?
+ For businesses: Watch what you’re doing with time-barred debts

Internet Marketers of Acai Berry Weight-Loss Pills and “Colon Cleansers” to Pay $1.5 Million to Settle FTC Charges of Deceptive Advertising and Unfair Billing

January 16, 2012 Comments off

Internet Marketers of Acai Berry Weight-Loss Pills and “Colon Cleansers” to Pay $1.5 Million to Settle FTC Charges of Deceptive Advertising and Unfair Billing
Source: Federal Trade Commission

The Federal Trade Commission announced that an operation that marketed acai berry supplements, “colon cleansers,” and other products using allegedly fraudulent free trial offers and phony endorsements from Oprah Winfrey and Rachael Ray will pay $1.5 million as part of a settlement. The money will be made available for consumer refunds.

The case against Phoenix-based Central Coast Nutraceuticals, Inc., is part of the FTC’s ongoing efforts to protect consumers from fraudulent internet marketing, as well as false and misleading health claims. The settlement order bans the defendants from so-called “negative-option” sales, such as continuity plans and free or introductory price trial offers, in which consumers pay nothing up front or only a small fee to receive a product, but are then automatically charged a higher price unless they take steps to cancel the shipments, or return the product before the end of the trial period.

The 2010 FTC complaint alleged that two individuals and five related companies deceptively claimed that their Acai Pure supplement would cause rapid and substantial weight loss, and that their Colotox colon cleanser would prevent colon cancer. Also, despite claiming to offer a “free” trial for a nominal fee and full refunds upon request, the defendants allegedly repeatedly made unauthorized charges to consumers’ bank accounts, and made it all but impossible to avoid paying full price for the products, typically $39.95 to $59.95.

The FTC charged that the defendants violated the Federal Trade Commission Act, as well as the Electronic Fund Transfer Act and its implementing language, Regulation E.
At the request of the FTC in August 2010, a federal court halted the allegedly illegal conduct of the Central Coast Nutraceuticals defendants, imposed an asset freeze, and appointed a receiver to oversee the corporate defendants.

The settlement order against the defendants includes an $80 million judgment, which represents the total amount of consumer injury caused by their scheme. The monetary judgment will be suspended when the FTC receives assets worth approximately $1.5 million from the defendants.

+ Federal Trade Commission, Plaintiff v. Central Coast Nutraceuticals, Inc., iLife Health and Wellness, LLC, Simply Naturals, LLC, Fit for Life, LLC, Health and Beauty Solutions LLC…
+ This Just In: Fake News Sites Promote Bogus Weight Loss Benefits of Acai Berry Supplements

FTC Sends Biennial Report to Congress on the National Do Not Call Registry

January 4, 2012 Comments off

FTC Sends Biennial Report to Congress on the National Do Not Call Registry

Source:  Federal Trade Commission

The Federal Trade Commission has approved a biennial report to Congress focusing on the use of the Do Not Call Registry by both consumers and businesses over the past two years, as well as the impact that new technologies have had on the Registry.

As detailed in the report, the Do Not Call Registry now has more than 209 million active registrations, and more than eight million new phone numbers were registered in Fiscal Year 2011. During that time, approximately 35,000 sellers, telemarketers, and exempt organizations such as charities subscribed to access the Registry, paying fees totaling more than $13.7 million. The report concludes that since its inception, the Registry has successfully accepted consumer registrations and complaints, allowed businesses to obtain access to Registry data, and provided law enforcement with the tools needed to investigate complaints and bring appropriate actions.

Full Report (PDF)

FTC Seeks Public Comments on Facial Recognition Technology

December 28, 2011 Comments off
Source:  Federal Trade Commission

Federal Trade Commission staff is seeking public comments on the issues raised at a recent FTC workshop exploring facial recognition technology and the privacy and security implications raised by its increasing use.

The December 8, 2011, public workshop, “Face Facts: A Forum on Facial Recognition Technology,” focused on the current and future commercial applications of facial detection and recognition technologies, and explored an array of current uses of these technologies, possible future uses and benefits, and potential privacy and security concerns. The agenda for the workshop can be found here, and an archived webcast of the proceedings is viewable here. The deadline for filing comments is January 31, 2012, and instructions for filing can be found near the bottom of this press release.

Facial detection and recognition technologies have been adopted in a variety of new contexts, ranging from online social networks to digital signs and mobile apps. Their increased use has raised a variety of privacy concerns. To further the Commission’s understanding of the issues, the Federal Trade Commission staff seeks public comments on issues raised at the workshop, including but not limited to:

  • What are the current and future commercial uses of these technologies?
  • How can consumers benefit from the use of these technologies?
  • What are the privacy and security concerns surrounding the adoption of these technologies, and how do they vary depending on how the technologies are implemented?
  • Are there special considerations that should be given for the use of these technologies on or by populations that may be particularly vulnerable, such as children?
  • What are best practices for providing consumers with notice and choice regarding the use of these technologies?
  • Are there situations where notice and choice are not necessary? By contrast, are there contexts or places where these technologies should not be deployed, even with notice and choice?
  • Is notice and choice the best framework for dealing with the privacy concerns surrounding these technologies, or would other solutions be a better fit? If so, what are they?
  • What are best practices for developing and deploying these technologies in a way that protects consumer privacy?

Facebook Settles FTC Charges That It Deceived Consumers By Failing To Keep Privacy Promises

December 12, 2011 Comments off

Facebook Settles FTC Charges That It Deceived Consumers By Failing To Keep Privacy Promises
Source: Federal Trade Commission

The social networking service Facebook has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it deceived consumers by telling them they could keep their information on Facebook private, and then repeatedly allowing it to be shared and made public. The proposed settlement requires Facebook to take several steps to make sure it lives up to its promises in the future, including giving consumers clear and prominent notice and obtaining consumers’ express consent before their information is shared beyond the privacy settings they have established.

The FTC’s eight-count complaint against Facebook is part of the agency’s ongoing effort to make sure companies live up to the privacy promises they make to American consumers. It charges that the claims that Facebook made were unfair and deceptive, and violated federal law.

“Facebook is obligated to keep the promises about privacy that it makes to its hundreds of millions of users,” said Jon Leibowitz, Chairman of the FTC. “Facebook’s innovation does not have to come at the expense of consumer privacy. The FTC action will ensure it will not.”

The FTC complaint lists a number of instances in which Facebook allegedly made promises that it did not keep:

  • In December 2009, Facebook changed its website so certain information that users may have designated as private – such as their Friends List – was made public. They didn’t warn users that this change was coming, or get their approval in advance.
  • Facebook represented that third-party apps that users’ installed would have access only to user information that they needed to operate. In fact, the apps could access nearly all of users’ personal data – data the apps didn’t need.
  • Facebook told users they could restrict sharing of data to limited audiences – for example with “Friends Only.” In fact, selecting “Friends Only” did not prevent their information from being shared with third-party applications their friends used.
  • Facebook had a “Verified Apps” program & claimed it certified the security of participating apps. It didn’t.
  • Facebook promised users that it would not share their personal information with advertisers. It did.
  • Facebook claimed that when users deactivated or deleted their accounts, their photos and videos would be inaccessible. But Facebook allowed access to the content, even after users had deactivated or deleted their accounts.
  • Facebook claimed that it complied with the U.S.- EU Safe Harbor Framework that governs data transfer between the U.S. and the European Union. It didn’t.

The proposed settlement bars Facebook from making any further deceptive privacy claims, requires that the company get consumers’ approval before it changes the way it shares their data, and requires that it obtain periodic assessments of its privacy practices by independent, third-party auditors for the next 20 years.

+ The FTC’s Settlement with Facebook: Where Facebook Went Wrong

FTC Issues The FY 2011 National Do Not Call Registry Data Book; Nearly 210 Million Phone Numbers on Do Not Call List

December 10, 2011 Comments off

FTC Issues The FY 2011 National Do Not Call Registry Data Book; Nearly 210 Million Phone Numbers on Do Not Call List
Source: Federal Trade Commission

The Federal Trade Commission today issued the National Do Not Call Registry Data Book for Fiscal Year 2011. The FTC’s National Do Not Call Registry provides consumers with an easy way to stop unwanted telemarketing calls. In its third year of publication, the Data Book contains a wealth of information about the Registry for FY 2011, including:

  • The number of active registrations and consumer complaint figures since the Registry began in 2003;
  • FY 2011 complaint figures by month and complaint type;
  • FY 2011 registration and complaint figures for all 50 states and the District of Columbia by population;
  • The number of entities accessing the Registry by fiscal year; and
  • An appendix on registration and complaint data by consumer state and area code.

According to the Data Book, at the end of FY 2011 (September 30, 2011), the Do Not Call Registry contained 209,722,924 actively registered phone numbers, up from 201,542,535 at the end of FY 2010. In addition, the number of consumer complaints about unwanted telemarketing calls increased from 1,633,819 at the end of FY 2010 to 2,272,662 at the end of FY 2011.

This year’s Data Book also reveals trends in complaint data. In addition to providing information on the total number of consumer complaints per month, it also contains data on the number of monthly complaints specifically related to pre-recorded telemarketing “robocalls,” and requests for a telemarketer to stop calling.

While the number of consumer complaints about recorded messages used in telemarketing hit a low of 79,592 in April 2011, for example, the data show that the number of complaints about such calls have increased consistently since then, reaching 140,503 in September 2011. Most telemarketing robocalls have been illegal since September 2009. The FTC remains committed to stopping deceptive, misleading, and otherwise unlawful robocalls, and will take action against entities violating the agency’s Telemarketing Sales Rule.

+ National Do Not Call Registry Data Book for Fiscal Year 2011 (PDF)

Statement of Rights for Identity Theft Victims

November 9, 2011 Comments off

Statement of Rights for Identity Theft Victims (PDF)
Source: Federal Trade Commission

You have the right to:

  • Create an identity theft report.
  • Place a 90-day initial fraud alert on your credit report.
  • Place a seven-year extended fraud alert on your credit report.
  • Get free copies of your credit report.
  • Have fraudulent information blocked from your credit report.
  • Dispute fraudulent or inaccurate information on your credit report.
  • Stop creditors and debt collectors from reporting fraudulent accounts.
  • Get copies of documents rekated the theft of your identity.
  • Stop a debt collector from contacting you.

    Shopping Online This Holiday Season? FTC Offers Advice on Getting the Best Deal

    November 9, 2011 Comments off

    Shopping Online This Holiday Season? FTC Offers Advice on Getting the Best Deal
    Source: Federal Trade Commission

    Whether your gift list is ready or you’re wondering how long you can wait to start your holiday shopping, the Federal Trade Commission has online tips to help you get the best deals. The bottom line: Some extra research can really pay off:

    Set a Budget. Create a gift list and check it twice to help you stay on track and not overspend.

    Decide What Matters. Especially if you’re buying gadgets, know what your “must-have” features are vs. those that are just nice to have.

    Use Search Engines. Type a company or product name into your search engine with terms like “review,” “complaint” or “scam” to find out more about it.

    Read Reviews Online. Reviews from other people, experts, and columnists can give you an idea of how a product performs. But don’t put all of your trust in one review.

    Consider Reputation. A brand’s reputation for quality and good customer service can really pay off.

    Check Comparison Shopping Sites. They connect to many retailers selling the same product, sometimes at significantly different prices. Keep shipping costs in mind.

    Consider Coupons. Some companies offer discounts via e-mail, and some websites collect and list codes for free shipping and other discounts. Search for the store with terms like “discount,” “coupon” or “free shipping.”

    Read Return Policies. Not all stores have the same rules. Some charge fees for return shipping or restocking things like electronics.

    Decide How to Pay. When you shop online, credit cards can offer extra protections.

    Look for a Secure Checkout. Does the website start with https (the “s” stands for secure) when you’re checking out?

    Learn more about researching products online at

    FTC Study Finds that in FY 2011, Pharmaceutical Industry Continued to Make Numerous Business Deals that Delay Consumers’ Access to Lower-Cost Generic Drugs

    November 8, 2011 Comments off

    FTC Study Finds that in FY 2011, Pharmaceutical Industry Continued to Make Numerous Business Deals that Delay Consumers’ Access to Lower-Cost Generic Drugs
    Source: Federal Trade Commission

    According to an overview of industry data released by the staff of the Federal Trade Commission, in Fiscal Year 2011, pharmaceutical companies continued a recent anticompetitive trend of paying potential generic rivals to delay the introduction of lower-cost prescription drug alternatives for American consumers.

    The FTC staff report found that drug companies entered into 28 potential pay-for-delay deals in FY 2011 (October 1, 2010 through September 30, 2011). The figure nearly matches last year’s record of 31 deals and is higher than any other previous year since the FTC began collecting data in 2003. Overall, the agreements reached in the latest fiscal year involved 25 different brand-name pharmaceutical products with combined annual U.S. sales of more than $9 billion.

    + Full Report (PDF)
    + Pay-for-Delay Chart (PDF)

    FTC Seeks Protection for Personal Customer Information in Borders Bankruptcy Proceeding

    September 26, 2011 Comments off

    FTC Seeks Protection for Personal Customer Information in Borders Bankruptcy Proceeding
    Source: Federal Trade Commission

    As part of the Federal Trade Commission’s ongoing efforts to protect consumer privacy, the Director of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection sent a letter advocating protection of personal customer information held by Borders Group, which is currently in bankruptcy. BCP Director David Vladeck’s letter, addressed to the consumer privacy ombudsman appointed by the court overseeing the Borders bankruptcy, noted that Borders collected substantial amounts of information from customers, including records of books and videos purchased, and that Borders had promised its customers that it would not share that information without consent. The letter recommended that any transfer of personal information in connection with a bankruptcy sale take place only with consent of Border’s customers or with significant restrictions on the transfer and use of the information.

    Federal Agencies Release Annual Report to Congress on Scholarship Fraud

    September 26, 2011 Comments off

    Federal Agencies Release Annual Report to Congress on Scholarship Fraud
    Source: Federal Trade Commission

    The Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Education have issued their annual report to Congress describing the agencies’ continued efforts to combat scholarship and financial aid fraud, as required by the College Scholarship Fraud Prevention Act of 2000.

    Each year, millions of students seek help in financing their college education, and some fall prey to scholarship and financial aid scams that “guarantee” money for college in exchange for a fee. This report provides an update of the agencies’ activities to prevent and prosecute financial aid fraud, including the FTC’s monitoring of the financial aid industry and enforcement actions, and its consumer education campaign to help students, parents, educators, and financial aid administrators identify and avoid financial aid scams. An analysis of complaints in the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel database shows that:

    • Financial-aid related complaints as a percentage of total complaints received by the FTC have generally declined since 1996, and have remained flat over the last six years.
    • The focus of complaints about financial aid fraud has shifted over the years. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, complaints centered on bogus search services for scholarship and grant opportunities. In recent years, there has been an increase in complaints about suspect financial aid consulting and planning services that purport to maximize student eligibility. Now, complaints about bogus scholarship and grant opportunities appear to be on the rise again.

    Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

    Join 360 other followers