ICFE eNEWS #17-12 - March 30th 2017
Penn News for March 2017
News from the Federal Trade Commission
VIZIO Sued for Secretly Collecting and Sharing
agreed to pay $2.2 million to settle
charges brought by the FTC and the New Jersey
Attorney General's Office that it collected data without
consumers' knowledge or consent. VIZIO, among the world's
largest makers of "smart" televisions, allegedly installed
software on its TVs to collect viewing data on 11 million
consumers. The software captured what people were watching, and
VIZIO allegedly attached viewers' sex, age, income, and other
demographic information to that data to sell to third parties
for targeted advertising purposes.
Debt Collector to Pay $700,000 for Unlawful Calls
The FTC says GC Services
broke the law by using overly aggressive tactics to
find student loan debtors. According to the case, callers from
GC Services left messages illegally disclosing information about
a person's debt — calling people multiple times, even after
being told they had the wrong number. The company settled these
charges by agreeing to pay a civil penalty of $700,000 and to
stop their violations of the FTC Act and the Fair Debt
Collections Practices Act.
FTC Stops Scam Money Mule in His Tracks
banned a Florida man from
helping telemarketers in India defraud cash-strapped American
consumers. According to the case, telemarketers bilked more than
$1.5 million from about 3,000 people, often by posing as
representatives of the U.S. government to get people to pay
taxes and fees they did not owe. When people wired money to pay
the fake debts, Treuhaft and his company allegedly paid
"runners" or "mules" to collect it at money wiring locations.
The FTC says Treuhaft told runners to pick up payments
immediately so people would not have time to cancel the money
FTC, Maine AG Shut Down Online Supplement Sellers
Several online dietary supplement marketers
will settle charges that they financially harmed
consumers using deceptive advertising tactics. The FTC and the
Maine Attorney General say the companies used radio infomercials
disguised as real talk shows, as well as ads featuring made-up
experts and endorsers, to sell supplements claiming to improve
memory and reduce body pain substantially. Several of the nine
defendants allegedly lured buyers in with offers of "free
trials" and money-back "guarantees" without disclosing
conditions that actually cost people lots of money. One of the
settlements imposes a $6.5 million judgement and requires
defendants to stop their deceptive acts.
"Our latest data book shows that imposter scams are a serious
and growing problem, and you can be sure that the FTC will use
all the tools at its disposal to address it. That includes law
enforcement actions against scammers and consumer education to
help consumers avoid losing money."
Pahl, Acting Director, FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection
FTC Says Company Stalled Generic Release of Drug
charged drug-maker Shire ViroPharma
Inc. with waging a campaign of serial, repetitive,
and unsupported filings to delay the FDA's approval of generic
Vancocin capsules. According to the FTC, ViroPharma has a
monopoly over Vancocin capsules, which are used to treat C.
difficile-associated diarrhea, a sometimes life-threatening
bacterial infection. The FTC alleges that ViroPharma's actions
have caused consumers and other purchasers to pay hundreds of
millions of dollars more for their medication. The case is
pending in federal court.
FTC Releases 2016's Top Consumer Complaints
For the first time, imposter scams surpassed identity theft on
list of consumer complaints
in 2016, coming in second and third, respectively. Debt
collection ranked first again this year.
Covert Funeral Home Investigations Reveal
Undercover FTC investigators working in nine states
found 31 of the 133 funeral homes they visited
did not disclose pricing information, as the FTC's
Funeral Rule requires. The rule helps ensure consumers can
compare prices and only buy the goods and services they want
when making funeral arrangements.
Final Defendant in Mortgage Relief Case Settles
To settle FTC charges, the final defendant in an alleged
mortgage relief scam
is banned from selling mortgage or
debt relief services. The defendant allegedly claimed
he could lower mortgage payments or prevent foreclosure, lied
about his affiliations, and illegally charged advance fees. The
court also imposed a nearly $1.7 million judgement.
High School Diploma Mills Settle FTC Charges
Two online "high schools"
agreed to settle charges
that they claimed to offer valid diplomas that were actually
worthless pieces of paper. The FTC says people discovered their
diplomas were fake when they applied for jobs, college, or tried
to join the military. The court imposed judgements totaling over
$19 million against the multiple operators of these schemes.
Your Money Back
More than 2.7 million
AT&T customers are getting refunds from the FTC after
the company billed them up to $9.99 per month for "premium text
message services" without their consent. The FTC mailed more
than 300,000 checks in December, and another 360,000 checks in
February. The average refund amount is $31.
Zadro Health Solutions Refunds
1,696 checks totaling nearly $39,000 are going out to
people who bought Nano-UV devices. Zadro Health Solutions
allegedly claimed these devices could kill dangerous
microorganisms, but had no scientific evidence to back those
claims. The FTC mailed the first round of checks in March 2016.
Consumers who cash both checks will get back 98 percent of their
Money Now Funding Refunds
The FTC is
mailing 2,031 checks totaling more than $436,000 to
people who lost money to Money Now Funding, a work-at-home
scheme. Consumers will get an average of $214 back.
you get a refund check from the FTC, deposit or cash it within
60 days of the mailing date. The FTC never requires consumers to
pay money or to provide account information before refund checks
can be cashed. If you have questions, contact the FTC's refund
administrator at 800-419-5336 or visit
FTC Reports on 2016 Activities to Combat Illegal Debt Collection
Three Companies Settle FTC Charges
that They Deceived Consumers About Participation in
International Privacy Program
FTC, States Put Remaining Defendants in Massive Caribbean Cruise
Lines Robocall Operation in Permanent Dry Dock
Protecting your #personalinformation is key to financial and
online safety. Learn how.
Learn how to avoid paying for #funeralarrangements you don't
need & other rights under the Funeral Rule.
Don't fall for scams promising rescue from foreclosure. Avoid
Statement of Acting FTC Chairman Ohlhausen on Appointment by