Showing posts from October, 2021

Crashes and corrections are a normal part of the investing cycle

We can never know ahead of time precisely when a stock market crash or steep correction will occur, how long it'll last, or how steep the decline will be.

Phishing is a tactic used to trick individuals into sharing their personal information online

Phishing is a tactic used to trick individuals into sharing their personal information online, and can take many forms including email and SMS/text message. Hackers may use one of these methods try to steal your passwords, account numbers and other sensitive, personal information

FTC to Ramp up Enforcement against Illegal Dark Patterns that Trick or Trap Consumers into Subscriptions

Agency policy statement puts companies on notice that sign-ups must be clear, consensual, and easy to cancel The Federal Trade Commission issued a new enforcement policy statement warning companies against deploying illegal dark patterns that trick or trap consumers into subscription services. The agency is ramping up its enforcement in response to a rising number of complaints about the financial harms caused by deceptive sign up tactics, including unauthorized charges or ongoing billing that is impossible cancel. The FTC’s policy statement puts companies on notice that they will face legal action if their sign-up process fails to provide clear, up-front information, obtain consumers’ informed consent, and make cancellation easy. “Today’s enforcement policy statement makes clear that tricking consumers into signing up for subscription programs or trapping them when they try to cancel is against the law,” said Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Firms

FTC Strengthens Security Safeguards for Consumer Financial Information Following Widespread Data Breaches

Agency updates Safeguards Rule to better protect the American public from breaches and cyberattacks that lead to identity theft and other financial losses The Federal Trade Commission today announced a newly updated rule that strengthens the data security safeguards that financial institutions are required to put in place to protect their customers’ financial information. In recent years, widespread data breaches and cyberattacks have resulted in significant harms to consumers, including monetary loss, identity theft, and other forms of financial distress. The FTC’s updated Safeguards Rule requires non-banking financial institutions, such as mortgage brokers, motor vehicle dealers, and payday lenders, to develop, implement, and maintain a comprehensive security system to keep their customers’ information safe. “Financial institutions and other entities that collect sensitive consumer data have a responsibility to protect it,” said Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consume

FTC and DOJ to Hold Virtual Public Workshop Exploring Competition in Labor Markets

The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice Antitrust Division will host a virtual workshop on Dec. 6 and 7 to discuss efforts to promote competitive labor markets and worker mobility.  “Making Competition Work: Promoting Competition in Labor Markets,” will bring together lawyers, economists, academics, policy experts, labor groups, and workers, and will explore recent developments at the intersection of antitrust and labor, as well as implications for efforts to protect and empower workers through competition enforcement and rulemaking.   Over the two days, a series of panels, presentations, and remarks will address competition issues affecting labor markets and the welfare of workers, including: labor monopsony; the increased use of restrictive contractual clauses in labor agreements, including non-competes and non-disclosure agreements; information sharing and benchmarking activity among competing employers; the role of other federal agencies in ensuring fair competi

FTC Puts Businesses on Notice that False Money-Making Claims Could Lead to Big Penalties

Notice of Penalty Offenses can trigger large civil penalties for companies from multi-level marketers to providers of “gig” work The Federal Trade Commission is putting more than 1,100 businesses that pitch money-making ventures on notice that if they deceive or mislead consumers about potential earnings, the FTC won’t hesitate to use its authority to target them with large civil penalties. As the pandemic has left many people in dire financial straits, money-making pitches have proliferated and gained special attention. From multi-level marketing companies offering the dream of owning a business, to investment “coaches” with promises of secrets on how to beat the odds, to ubiquitous “gigs” that pitch a steady second income, Americans are bombarded by offers that often prove to be less than advertised. As a result, the FTC is deploying its Penalty Offense Authority to remind businesses of the law and deter them from breaking it. By sending a Notice of Penalty Offenses  to more than 1,

Dividends are seen as a devaluing of a company

Dividends reduce the share price of a stock, which is adjusted after closing on the ex-dividend date.

Dividend investing is a type of investment strategy and can be good for risk-averse investors.

Stocks trading at or near their all-time highs

With stocks trading at or near their all-time highs, and plenty of bullish catalysts in the wings, not the least of which is an expected acceleration of GDP growth this quarter.

Funder and Servicer of Online Trading Academy Payment Plans Will Forgive Debt in Settlement with FTC

Settlement extends millions in loan forgiveness to additional consumers who paid for investment “training” programs The funder and servicer of the payment plans used by consumers to pay for expensive and often ineffective investment “trainings” from Online Trading Academy (OTA) will be required to offer debt forgiveness to consumers under a proposed settlement  with the Federal Trade Commission. Universal Guardian Acceptance, LLC (UGA) and Universal Account Servicing, LLC (UAS), have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they facilitated consumers’ payments to OTA, when they knew or should have known that OTA was deceiving consumers. “These defendants helped Online Trading Academy run its investment training scheme for years, ignoring clear signs that they were profiting off the backs of defrauded consumers,” said Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Companies that facilitate payments can’t turn a blind eye when their clients are defrau

FTC Sends Refunds to Consumers Who Bought Deceptively Marketed Supplements to Treat Pain and Age-related Health Conditions

84,847 consumers nationwide will receive checks The Federal Trade Commission is sending refund payments totaling more than $1.1 million to consumers who bought three supplements deceptively marketed as treatments for pain and other health conditions related to aging. According to an FTC complaint filed in April 2020 , the marketers of Neurocet, Regenify, and Resetigen-D deceptively promoted their products using false or unsubstantiated claims that the supplements could stop pain and treat age-related ailments. The pitches were made primarily through direct mail campaigns. The final order settling the FTC’s complaint bars the defendants—five related companies called Mile High Madison Group, Inc., Nordic Clinical, Inc., Encore Plus Solutions, Inc., Le Groupe Mile High Madison, Inc., and Clinique Nordique, Inc. and their principals, Vittorio DiCriscio and Vito Proietti—from making any claims about the health benefits of their products unless they are true and supported by scientif

FTC Issues Annual Report to Congress on Protecting Older Adults

Report notes jump in online shopping fraud reports since start of COVID-19 pandemic The Federal Trade Commission has issued its latest report to Congress on protecting older adults, which highlights updated findings from the Commission’s fraud reports showing trends in how older adults report being affected by fraud. The report, Protecting Older Consumers, 2020-2021, A Report of the Federal Trade Commission , also includes information on the FTC’s efforts to protect older consumers through law enforcement actions and outreach and education programs. This year’s report calls particular attention to the Commission’s work to combat scams related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Reports of online shopping fraud increased sharply among adults aged 60 and higher in the second quarter of 2020 as online marketers failed to deliver masks and other scarce items needed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The most frequent type of fraud reported by older adults was online shopping scams. Overall, reports of l

FTC Stops Deceptive Prison Calling Scheme, Requires Operator to Notify Consumers About Unlawful Conduct as Part of Settlement

Operators allegedly deceived families of incarcerated individuals with false claims of unlimited minutes for prison and jail calls The Federal Trade Commission has halted a scheme that deceived friends and family of incarcerated people with false promises of unlimited minutes for inmate calling plans that, in reality, did not provide a single minute of talk time. As part of a settlement with the FTC, the scheme’s operators are prohibited from making deceptive claims and consumers must be notified about the unlawful conduct. In its first case involving inmate calling plans, the FTC alleged 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 during the COVID-19 pandemic when in-person visitations were suspended.  In its complaint filed in October 2020 , the FTC alleged that Marc and Courtney Grisham and their companies Disruption Theory LLC and Emergent Technologies LLC, doing

FTC Announces Tentative Agenda for October 21 Open Commission Meeting

Today, Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina M. Khan announced that an open meeting of the Commission will be held virtually on Thursday, October 21, 2021. The open meeting will begin at 1 pm ET and will be followed by a time for members of the public to address the Commission. The following item will be on the tentative agenda for the October 21 Commission meeting: Business Before the Commission Presentation on the Privacy Practices of Six Major Internet Service Providers: Staff will present some findings from evidence gathered pursuant to the 2019 6(b) orders issued to six Internet service providers and three of their advertising affiliates. The public release of the report is subject to commission vote. After the Commission meeting has concluded, Chair Khan will offer brief remarks and will then invite members of the public to share feedback on the Commission’s work generally and bring relevant matters to the Commission’s attention. Members of the public must sign up  for an op

The AWS CLI stores sensitive credential information that you specify with aws configure in a local file named credentials, in a folder named .aws in your home directory.

Where you find your home directory location varies based on the operating system, but is referred to using the environment variables %UserProfile% in Windows and $HOME or ~ (tilde) in Unix-based systems. 

FTC Puts Hundreds of Businesses on Notice about Fake Reviews and Other Misleading Endorsements

Notice of Penalty Offenses can trigger steep penalties for recipients who use endorsements to deceive consumers The Federal Trade Commission is blanketing industry with a clear message that, if they use endorsements to deceive consumers, the FTC will be ready to hold them responsible with every tool at its disposal. The rise of social media has blurred the line between authentic content and advertising, leading to an explosion in deceptive endorsements across the marketplace. Fake online reviews and other deceptive endorsements often tout products throughout the online world. Consequently, the FTC is now using its Penalty Offense Authority to remind advertisers of the law and deter them from breaking it. By sending a Notice of Penalty Offenses  to more than 700 companies, the agency is placing them on notice they could incur significant civil penalties—up to $43,792 per violation—if they use endorsements in ways that run counter to prior FTC administrative cases. “Fake reviews and oth

FTC Sends Refunds Totaling Nearly $300,000 to People who Lost Money to a Tech Support Scheme

The Federal Trade Commission is sending 31,075 checks to people who were deceived by Elite IT Partners Inc. into paying for costly and unnecessary computer repair services. In a complaint filed 2019, the FTC alleged that Elite IT used Internet ads to target consumers looking for help recovering their email passwords. Consumers who responded to Elite’s ads were encouraged to provide their names, email addresses, and phone numbers. Elite’s telemarketers then reached out to consumers—often pretending to be associated with well-known companies like Microsoft and Yahoo!—and pressured consumers to provide access to their computers. The telemarketers ran bogus “diagnostic” tests, claimed consumers’ computers and personal information were in imminent danger, and convinced many consumers to pay large sums for immediate cleaning of their computers, antivirus software, and ongoing technical support services. The FTC alleged that the scheme affected tens of thousands of consumers. The FTC is

FTC Orders “Made in USA” Repeat Offender to Pay Funds

Mattress company will pay $753,000 and cease Made in USA fraud Resident Home LLC and owner Ran Reske, will pay $753,000 to settle FTC charges that they made false, misleading, or unsupported advertising claims that their imported DreamCloud mattresses were made from 100% USA-made materials. Resident Home LLC is the parent of Nectar Brand LLC (better known as Nectar Sleep), a company that had previously agreed to a 2018 FTC administrative order resolving allegations that it falsely advertised imported mattresses as “Assembled in USA.” Following the 2018 order, Reske, under penalty of perjury, stated that Resident had never made U.S.-origin claims about its DreamCloud mattress. This proved to be untrue. The proposed order entered into today incorporates the terms of the 2018 order, orders the payment of $753,000, and expands the application of the 2018 order to all the entities under the control of Reske. “Baseless claims that products are made in the USA hurt not only consumers b

FTC Returns Money to Consumers Harmed By Phantom Debt Collector

The Federal Trade Commission is returning $772,512 to consumers who were targeted by a debt collector who unlawfully brokered and collected fake debts that the consumers did not owe. According to the complaint filed by the FTC and the New York Attorney General, Hylan Asset Management, LLC, and its owners, Andrew Shaevel and Jon E. Purizhansky , bought, placed for collection, and sold lists of phantom debts, including debts that were fake or imposed on consumers without their knowledge or consent. Hylan referred the fake debts to several collection agencies, including Worldwide Processing Group, LLC, which then illegally collected on them. Hylan continued to buy the portfolios and distribute them to third parties for collection even though it was repeatedly notified that consumers did not owe many of the debts, the FTC alleged. The defendants agreed to settle the case in 2019. As part of the settlement, they agreed to be banned permanently from the debt collection industry and su

Canada faces wave of terminations as workplace vaccine mandates take effect

Cheaper electric Chevy SUV coming with price around $30,000

Google Workspace Business Promotion code

Google Workspace Business Starter Promotion code for the Americas   |  Expires 04/2022 CCDFQJL7DLHHX3U   Google Workspace Business Standard Promotion code for the Americas   |  Expires 04/2022 Y9K6LEPY9LFNAMH

FTC Approves Updated Energy Efficiency Descriptors for Central Air Conditioning Units

Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a Federal Register notice (FRN) announcing final amendments to the agency’s Energy Labeling Rule (Rule). The amendments update the comparability ranges and sample labels for central air conditioning (AC) units. The Rule, issued in 1979 under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, requires energy labeling for major home appliances and other consumer products to help consumers compare the energy usage and costs of competing models. The Rule requires manufacturers to attach yellow EnergyGuide labels to many of the products it covers and prohibits retailers from removing or altering these labels. The Commission vote authorizing publication of the Federal Register notice announcing the updated comparability ranges and sample labels for central AC units was 4-1, with Commissioner Christine S. Wilson voting no and issuing a separate statement . The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition and to prot

FTC Returns $1.1 Million to Consumers Who Lost Money to Alleged Scammers Selling Bogus Income Opportunities

The Federal Trade Commission is returning more than $1.1 million to consumers who paid for an allegedly bogus money-making opportunity that called itself “8 Figure Dream Lifestyle.” The FTC sued 8 Figure Dream Lifestyle LLC and nine co-defendants in 2019 as part of a crackdown on robocallers across the country. In its complaint, the FTC alleged that the defendants used a combination of illegal robocalls, live telephone calls, text messaging, internet ads, emails, social media, and live events to market and sell consumers fraudulent money-making opportunities. According to the FTC’s lawsuit, the defendants consistently made false or unsubstantiated claims in their marketing about how much consumers could earn using their programs. In reality, the lawsuit says, consumers who bought the programs rarely earned substantial income, typically lost their entire investment, and often incurred significant loans and credit card debt—tens of thousands of dollars, in some cases. Under two s