Showing posts from June, 2022

U.S. approves SpaceX's Starlink internet for use with ships, boats, planes

FTC Finalizes Order Banning Deceptive Marketing by Supplement Seller

The Federal Trade Commission has finalized an administrative consent order against t wo Texas-based companies and their owner who are permanently banned from advertising or selling dietary supplements, and from making claims that their products treat, cure, or reduce the risk of disease. Today’s action stems from an administrative complaint the FTC filed in November 2020  against Health Research Laboratories, LLC, Whole Body Supplements, LLC, and their owner and officer Kramer Duhon. The complaint alleged the Health Research Laboratories respondents made unsubstantiated claims that their supplements -- The Ultimate Heart Formula (UHF), BG18, and Black Garlic Botanicals -- prevent or treat cardiovascular and other diseases, and that their supplement Neupathic cures, mitigates, or treats diabetic neuropathy. The Commission vote approving final consent order was 5-0. The FTC responded to one public commenter .

Federal Trade Commission Returns More Than $5.4 Million to Consumers

The Federal Trade Commission is sending 176,028 checks, totaling more than $5.4 million, to consumers who were charged for “free trial” offers for cosmetics and weight loss supplements, including products called Amabella Allure, Adelina, Parisian Glow, and Tone Fire Garcinia . Consumers who receive checks should cash them within 90 days, as indicated on the check. Recipients who have questions about their refund, or who didn’t receive a check and believe they may be eligible, should call the refund administrator, Rust Consulting, at 1-833-711-0291. The Commission never requires people to pay money or provide account information to get a refund. The FTC sued AH Media Group in September 2019 , alleging that since at least April 2016, the company marketed supposedly “free trial” products with claims that the products promote younger-looking skin or weight loss. While the company claimed consumers would pay only a small shipping and handling fee for the trial, they buried the true cost

FTC Sues Walmart for Facilitating Money Transfer Fraud That Fleeced Customers Out of Hundreds of Millions

The Federal Trade Commission today sued Walmart for allowing its money transfer services to be used by fraudsters, who fleeced consumers out of hundreds of millions of dollars. In its lawsuit, the FTC alleges  that for years, the company turned a blind eye while scammers took advantage of its failure to properly secure the money transfer services offered at Walmart stores. The company did not properly train its employees, failed to warn customers, and used procedures that allowed fraudsters to cash out at its stores, according to the FTC’s complaint. The FTC is asking the court to order Walmart to return money to consumers and to impose civil penalties for Walmart’s violations. “While scammers used its money transfer services to make off with cash, Walmart looked the other way and pocketed millions in fees,” said Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Consumers have lost hundreds of millions, and the Commission is holding Walmart accountable for lettin

Mary Mara, 61, dies in apparent drowning in St. Lawrence River

FTC, Florida Act to Shut Down ‘Grant Bae’ Scam Preying on Minority-Owned Businesses Seeking Pandemic-Relief Grants and Funds

The Federal Trade Commission and the State of Florida are taking action against Grant Bae and its owner, Traeshonna P. Graham, a COVID-19 scammer preying on minority-owned small businesses seeking pandemic relief. The complaint alleges that the fictitious grant-writing service scammed each business out of thousands of dollars with false promises of easy access to “guaranteed” grant funding and COVID-19 economic benefits that did not materialize. In response to a complaint filed by the FTC and the State of Florida , a federal court has temporarily shut down the company and frozen the defendants’ assets. The complaint alleges that Florida-based Grant Bae violated multiple laws, including the COVID-19 Consumer Protection Act, the FTC Act, and the Florida Deceptive Unfair Trade Practices Act by in targeting minority-owned small businesses with claims that they could access millions of dollars in grant funding if they paid for the company’s services. “These scammers targeted minori

Amazon Prime Day in Canada is happening on July 12th and 13th

US WWII ship found off Philippines

Oslo police say they believe mass shooting that killed 2, wounded 14 was a terror attack.

FTC Finalizes Action Against CafePress for Covering Up Data Breach, Lax Security

The Federal Trade Commission finalized an order against CafePress   over allegations that it failed to secure consumers’ sensitive personal data including Social Security numbers and covered up a major data breach. The Commission’s order requires the company to bolster its data security and requires its former owner to pay a half million dollars to compensate small businesses. In a complaint, first announced in March 2022 , filed against Residual Pumpkin Entity, LLC, the former owner of CafePress, and PlanetArt, LLC, which bought CafePress in 2020, the FTC alleged that the online customized merchandise platform failed to implement reasonable security measures to protect the sensitive information of buyers and sellers stored on its network and failed to adequately respond to several security breaches. The FTC alleged CafePress: Stored Social Security numbers and password reset answers in clear, readable text; Retained the data longer than was necessary; Failed to apply readily ava

FTC Takes Action Against Harley-Davidson and Westinghouse for Illegally Restricting Customers’ Right to Repair

The Federal Trade Commission is taking action against motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson Motor Company Group, LLC and Westinghouse outdoor generator maker MWE Investments, LLC for illegally restricting customers’ right to repair their purchased products. The FTC’s complaints charge that the companies’ warranties included terms that conveyed that the warranty is void if customers use independent dealers for parts or repairs. The FTC is ordering Harley-Davidson and Westinghouse to fix warranties by removing illegal terms and recognizing the right to repair, come clean with customers, and ensure that dealers compete fairly with independent third-parties. “Consumers deserve choices when it comes to repairing their products, and independent dealers deserve a chance to compete,” said Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “These orders require Harley and Westinghouse to fix their warranties, come clean with consumers, and ensure fair competition with ind

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Federal Trade Commission Sends More than $2 Million to Students Harmed by Debt Relief Scam

The Federal Trade Commission is sending 22,817 checks totaling more than $2 million to borrowers who lost money to a student loan debt-relief scam that operated under the names Student Debt Doctor. Consumers who receive checks should cash them within 90 days, as indicated on the check. Recipients who have questions about their refund should call the refund administrator, Analytics, at 844-916-3240. The Commission never requires people to pay money or provide account information to get a refund. In late 2017, the FTC sued Student Debt Doctor and its owner, Gary B. White Jr. alleging that the company tricked consumers into believing they could receive immediate relief from monthly loan payments and complete loan forgiveness in return for a large, upfront fee. The defendants also told students that their loans were in forbearance when they were not, causing consumers to neglect required payments and to suffer diminished credit scores. In reality, the FTC alleged that the vast majorit

Federal Trade Commission Returns More Than $9.7 Million To Small Businesses Harmed by Yellowstone Capital’s Merchant Cash Advance Operation

The Federal Trade Commission is sending 7,731 checks totaling more than $9.7 million to small businesses who were harmed by Yellowstone Capital, a merchant cash advance company that withdrew money from their bank accounts without permission. Eligible businesses are getting 51% of their money back, averaging more than $1,200 for each check. Recipients should cash their checks within 90 days, as indicated on the check. Businesses who have questions about their refund should call the refund administrator, Epiq, at 855-604-1861. The Commission never requires people to pay money or provide account information to get a refund. The FTC sued Yellowstone and its owners in 2020, alleging that they unlawfully withdrew millions of dollars in excess payments from their customers’ accounts. The complaint alleged that Yellowstone continued to withdraw hundreds or thousands of dollars from businesses after they had repaid the full amounts owed in their contracts. In some cases, Yellowstone would

We still depend and run on gasoline.

The S&P 500 fell 5.8% for the week

Jerome Powell determinated to curb the hottest inflation in 40 years

Consumer stocks trading higher in the green today include Procter & Gamble, Hormel Foods Corp.

FTC Report Warns About Using Artificial Intelligence to Combat Online Problems

Today the Federal Trade Commission issued a report to Congress warning about using artificial intelligence (AI)  to combat online problems and urging policymakers to exercise “great caution” about relying on it as a policy solution. The use of AI, particularly by big tech platforms and other companies, comes with limitations and problems of its own. The report outlines significant concerns that AI tools can be inaccurate, biased, and discriminatory by design and incentivize relying on increasingly invasive forms of commercial surveillance. “Our report emphasizes that nobody should treat AI as the solution to the spread of harmful online content,” said Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Combatting online harm requires a broad societal effort, not an overly optimistic belief that new technology—which can be both helpful and dangerous—will take these problems off our hands.” In legislation enacted in 2021, Congress directed the Commission to exami

Disney announced a new around-the-world "private jet adventure," for 75 people at a starting cost of $109,995 per adult.