Showing posts from October, 2020

FTC Signs Updated Memorandum of Understanding with Nigerian Consumer Protection and Criminal Enforcement Authorities

The Federal Trade Commission signed an updated memorandum of understanding (MOU) with two Nigerian enforcement agencies  to enhance communication and cooperation in a joint effort to combat cross-border fraud. The updated MOU with Nigeria’s Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) reaffirms the agencies’ capacity and willingness to work together, as well as the intention to share information and to assist one another in consumer protection investigations. Nigeria’s FCCPC addresses consumer protection matters through investigations and enforcement. The EFCC is a criminal enforcement agency that combats consumer fraud and other financial crimes. The updated MOU replaces the FTC’s 2013 MOU with the FCCPC’s predecessor, the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), and the EFCC. The MOU establishes a joint implementation committee to develop joint training programs and workshops and provide assistance regarding specific in

FTC Finalizes Settlement with Data Center Company over Allegations it Deceived Consumers about its Participation in the EU Privacy Shield

The Federal Trade Commission finalized a settlement   with a data storage services company that allegedly deceived consumers about its participation in the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield (Privacy Shield) framework. The FTC alleged that NTT Global Data Centers Americas, Inc. (NTT), formerly known as RagingWire Data Centers, Inc., claimed in its online privacy policy and marketing materials that the company participated in the Privacy Shield framework and complied with the program’s requirements. In fact, the FTC alleged, the company’s certification lapsed in January 2018 and it failed to comply with certain Privacy Shield requirements while it was a participant in the framework. Under the settlement, the company, among other things, is prohibited not just from misrepresenting its compliance with or participation in the Privacy Shield framework, but also any other privacy or data security program sponsored by the government or any self-regulatory or standard-setting organization. The company

FTC Releases FY 2020 National Do Not Call Registry Data Book

Imposter calls once again top list of complaint topics in the past year The Federal Trade Commission today issued the National Do Not Call Registry Data Book for Fiscal Year 2020 . The FTC’s National Do Not Call (DNC) Registry lets consumers choose not to receive most legal telemarketing calls. The data show that the number of active registrations on the DNC Registry increased by two million over the past year, while the total number of consumer complaints decreased for the third year in a row. Now in its twelfth year of publication, the Data Book contains information about the DNC Registry for FY 2020 (from October 1, 2019 to September 30, 2020). The Data Book provides the most recent fiscal year information available on robocall complaints, the types of calls consumers reported to the FTC, and a complete state-by-state analysis. FY 2020 Registration and Complaint Data According to the Data Book, at the end of FY 2020, the DNC Registry contained 241.5 million actively registere

Campfire safety tips.

Build your campfire on bare soil or rock. Choose a spot that's sheltered from the wind and at least 3 meters from anything flammable. Keep your fire small and never leave it unattended. When you're ready to put it out, soak the campfire with water, stir the ashes to uncover hot coals, and soak it again.

FTC Announces New Fraud Reporting Platform for Consumers:

New reporting system will provide streamlined experience and advice for consumers filing complaints with the FTC The Federal Trade Commission has launched a new website,, where consumers can easily report fraud and all other consumer issues directly to the FTC. At, consumers will find a streamlined and user-friendly way to submit reports to the FTC about scams, frauds, and bad business practices. The FTC has long encouraged consumers to report these issues to the FTC when they encounter them—whether or not they lost money to the fraud. “Every time you report scams or bad business practices to the FTC, you’re helping to protect your community,” said Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “With, it’s quicker and easier than ever to share your story, and each report helps the FTC, and other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, fight fraud.” One new feature of the site is that co

FTC Data Shows Big Jump in Consumer Reports about Scams Originating on Social Media

Newly released data from the Federal Trade Commission reveal that there has been a surge in reports from people who say they lost money to a scam that started on social media, including a spike of these complaints in the spring at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Data released by the FTC shows that the number of complaints about scams that started on social media more than tripled in the last year. People reported losing more than $117 million to this type of scam in just the first six months of 2020 compared to $134 million for all of 2019, according to the FTC’s latest Consumer Protection Data Spotlight . Online shopping topped the list of complaints from consumers who reported a scam to the FTC that originated on social media. Of these consumers, many were responding to an ad they saw on social media and reported that the item they ordered never arrived. Most of those consumers (94 percent) who identified the social media service in their complaint cited Facebook or Instagram a

Both Realtime Database and Cloud Firestore are NoSQL Databases.

Realtime Database Cloud Firestore Stores data as one large JSON tree. Simple data is very easy to store. Complex, hierarchical data is harder to organize at scale. Learn more about the  Realtime Database data model . Stores data as collections of documents. Simple data is easy to store in documents, which are very similar to JSON. Complex, hierarchical data is easier to organize at scale, using subcollections within documents. Requires less denormalization and data flattening. Learn more about the  Cloud Firestore data model .

FTC Approves Final Administrative Consent Order with Marketer of Product Falsely Claiming to Prevent or Treat COVID-19

Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final administrative consent order  settling charges that a California-based marketer of a supplement called Thrive, which consists mainly of Vitamin C and herbal extracts, made baseless claims that it can treat, prevent, or reduce the risk of COVID-19. According to the FTC’s April 2020 administrative complaint , since at least December 2018, Marc Ching, doing business as Whole Leaf Organics, advertised and sold Thrive online, through his Whole Leaf Organics website, and in March 2020 began marketing it as an “anti viral wellness booster” that treats, prevents, or reduces the risk of COVID-19. The complaint also alleged that Ching used his Whole Leaf Organics website to deceptively advertise and sell three CBD-containing products. The final order settling the complaint bars Ching’s false and unsubstantiated health claims and requires him to send written notices to customers and retailers of Thrive explainin

GNU Aspell is a Free and Open Source spell checker designed to eventually replace Ispell.

GNU Aspell can either be used as a library or as an independent spell checker. Its main feature is that it does a superior job of suggesting possible replacements for a misspelled word than just about any other spell checker out there for the English language.

Word and language resources

Free Dictionary Project List Of English Words Aspell Dictionary Bad Word Filter   Detect and censor bad words, swear words and profanity in a given text. An English Word List ESL Student resources Rong-Chang ESLpodcast ESL Cafe ESL Gold Anglicky s BBC Learning languages online

FTC Halts Scheme that Falsely Claimed to Offer Unlimited Inmate Calling Plans

Operators have bilked consumers out of at least $1 million, FTC alleges At the request of the FTC, a federal court issued a temporary restraining order   against Marc and Courtney Grisham and two companies they operate, Disruption Theory LLC and Emergent Technologies LLC, which do business as and In its complaint , the FTC alleges that the operators advertised and marketed calling plans for unlimited minutes, which they did not provide. Prison and jail calls are provided by specialized service providers, which have contracts with correctional facilities and charge for calls at predetermined per-minute rates. Specialized service providers have not and do not currently offer unlimited calling plans. This is the first case the FTC has brought involving inmate calling plans. The FTC alleges that the operators of the scheme preyed on inmates’ families and friends who rely on phone calls to stay in touch with their incarcerated loved ones—particularly

FTC Acts to Shut Down Unlawful Debt Collection Operation

Atlanta-based company allegedly posed as police, made threats to consumers about non-existent debt A federal court has shut down an Atlanta-based debt collector   in response to a Federal Trade Commission complaint alleging that its agents threatened consumers with arrest and imprisonment and tried to collect debts that consumers did not actually owe. The FTC’s complaint alleges that Critical Resolution Mediation LLC’s  collectors regularly posed as law enforcement officers, attorneys, mediators, or process servers when calling consumers, lending credence to their threats about supposed unpaid debts. In many cases, the defendants were attempting to collect on so-called “phantom” debt—debts that either were never owed—or debts that were no longer owed. The case was brought as part of the Operation Corrupt Collector law enforcement sweep. According to the complaint, the company’s collectors threatened not only to arrest and jail consumers who refused to pay immediately, but also to ga

FTC Sends $7 Million in Refunds to Victims of Tech Support Scam

The Federal Trade Commission is sending PayPal payments totaling more than $7 million to victims of a tech support scam. According to the FTC, Vast Tech Support, LLC and OMG Tech Help, LLC used free security scanning software trials to trick people into thinking there were problems with their computers and then pressured them into buying tech support products and services. As part of settlements with the FTC , Vast Tech Support, LLC and OMG Tech Help, LLC, and their credit card payment processor, RevenueWire, Inc. —which the FTC alleged laundered credit card payments for the tech support scheme—agreed to pay money to the Commission for consumer refunds. The FTC will send 127,129 refunds through PayPal over a two-day period beginning on October 14, 2020. The average refund is $55.36. Recipients who receive a refund via PayPal will have 30 days to accept the payment. For more details about the PayPal payment process, please read the related FAQ . Consumers who do not receive a