ICFE eNEWS #17-33 - October 24th 2017
Penn News for October 2017
News from the Federal Trade Commission
FTC Files First Case Against Online Influencers
Two major social media influencers in internet gaming
settled FTC charges that they endorsed online
gambling service CSGO Lotto, without disclosing their joint
ownership of the company. The influencers also failed to
disclose that they paid other influencers thousands of dollars
to promote CSGO Lotto on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. The FTC
says the influencers must disclose any future significant
relationships with endorsers as well as any connections those
influencers have to the products and services they promote. In
addition, the FTC sent 21 warning letters to social media
influencers that the agency contacted earlier this year
regarding Instagram posts.
Tax Service Enabled Tax ID Theft, FTC Says
TaxSlayer, LLC, a Georgia-based online tax preparation service,
said it will
settle FTC charges that
it violated federal financial privacy and security rules. The
FTC says hackers were able to gain full access to nearly 9,000
TaxSlayer accounts between October 2015 and December 2015. The
hackers allegedly used the information they accessed to file
fraudulent tax returns in order to steal people's tax refunds.
The FTC obtained a court order barring the defendants from
further violating privacy and security laws.
FTC, AGs Say Lenovo Put Users' Privacy at Risk
The FTC and 32 state attorneys general say Lenovo, one of the
world's largest computer makers, put people's login credentials,
Social Security numbers, and financial information at risk when
it pre-installed adware on some of its computers so it could
sell products to consumers.
Lenovo settled charges
that the software it installed, VisualDiscovery, created serious
security vulnerabilities in laptops it sold to people beginning
in August 2014.
"Tax preparation services are responsible for very sensitive
information, so it's critical they implement appropriate
safeguards to protect that information. TaxSlayer didn't have an
adequate risk assessment plan, and hackers took over user
accounts and committed identity theft."
Pahl, Acting Director, FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection
Mars to Divest Vet Clinics per FTC Charges
agreed to divest 12 veterinary
clinics that provide specialty and emergency services
to settle FTC charges that its $9.1 billion acquisition of pet
care company VCA Inc. would violate federal antitrust laws.
According to the FTC, the combination of Mars' BluePearl and
VCA's clinics would reduce competition for certain specialty and
emergency veterinary services by eliminating head-to-head
competition between Mars specialists in the area and those of
VCA. To preserve competition, Mars will divest 12 clinics
serving Kansas City, New York, Phoenix, Chicago, Corpus Christi,
San Antonio, Seattle, Portland, Oregon and the Washington, DC
Millions Look to FTC for Equifax Breach Info
The Equifax data breach resulted in millions of views of the
consumer information. The
FTC's blog post on the breach was the most-viewed of all .gov
sites at times during the week of the breach. The post got as
many as 11,000 page views per minute.
FTC Offers Advice to Hurricane Victims
In preparation for and response to September's hurricanes, the
FTC released six blog posts and two infographics on how to
prepare for, deal with, and recover from weather emergencies -
including how to avoid and report
charity scams. In addition, the FTC collaborated with
the Puerto Rico Department of Consumer Affairs to provide people
with hurricane-related consumer information in Spanish.
Fighting Illegal Debt Collection...
At the FTC's behest, a federal court froze the assets of and
stopped a North Carolina debt
collection operation from allegedly intimidating and
deceiving people so it could collect money for debts these
consumers did not owe, or that the defendants had no right to
collect. In another case, the FTC
banned from debt collection the final defendant in a
debt collection scheme that allegedly threatened and harassed
consumers and their friends, family members and employers.
...and Shutting Down Scams
The FTC obtained a
court order to stop G2 Consulting, LLC and its owner from
alleged telemarketing schemes
that allowed them to sell worthless business opportunities. In a
separate case, the FTC ended a Peru-based telemarketing scheme
that the agency says
used deception and abuse
to sell English learning products to Spanish-speaking consumers
in the United States. Meanwhile, a federal court found Jet
Processing Inc., and its owner
liable for more than $280 million
as a result of the IWorks scheme. IWorks' online campaign
falsely told people that federal grants were available to them,
that its product would help them earn sizable income, and for
enrolling people in membership programs without clearly
disclosing it would charge their accounts on a recurring basis.
Your Money Back
Centro Natural Refunds
The FTC is mailing an additional 2,158 checks totaling $279,134
to people who lost money to Centro Natural Corp and Sumore LLC.
The first round of checks went out in November 2016. This
additional mailing brings the total amount refunded to consumers
to more than $819,000.
Advanced Tech Support Refunds
The FTC emailed notices to people who are eligible for partial
refunds from this tech support scheme. If you received the
email, use this
online form to apply for a refund
or call the refund administrator at 877-793-0908.
FTC is mailing a second round of checks totaling approximately
$2.7 million to 652,678 people who bought Kevin Trudeau's book
The Weight Loss Cure "They" Don't Want You To Know About. The
first round of checks went out in June 2016. This additional
mailing brings the total amount refunded to consumers to $5.96
Top Shelf Marketing Refunds
The FTC is mailing a second round of checks to people who lost
money to Top Shelf Marketing. In October 2016, the FTC mailed
refunds totaling nearly $1.2 million to 3,863 consumers. The
remaining $154,000 in refunds is going to the 3,326 consumers
who cashed their first check. People who cash both checks will
receive a total of $355.48 in refunds.
IN OTHER NEWS:
FTC Obtains Court Orders Against Telemarketing Scheme That
Falsely Pitched Money-Making Opportunities and Grants
FTC Helps Consumers Understand Affiliate Marketing in Online
Court Finds Defendants Lied to
Consumers When Selling Legal Services for Mortgage Relief
Watch where you click! #Scammers use
links that download viruses and #malware to steal your info &
harm your PC.
Fraud alert or credit freeze - which
is right for you? #Equifax #databreach #identitytheft #idtheft
Check out this infographic to see how affiliate marketing works
and why you should care.
Get information on preparing for, coping with and avoiding scams
Don't be influenced by an influencer influenced by a paycheck.
Learn more about #onlinereviews.