OPERATION SHORT CHANGE. The FTC and its partners are cracking
down on scammers who are taking advantage of the economic
downturn to bilk vulnerable people. The con artists promise
non-existent jobs, promote get-rich-quick plans, bogus
government grants, and phony debt-reduction services or make
unauthorized charges on peoples' credit or debit cards.
Operation Short Change, includes 15 FTC cases, 44 Department of
Justice actions, and suits brought by at least 13 states. The
FTC also has a video at www.ftc.gov, featuring a former
telemarketer of fraudulent business opportunities telling how he
got people to part with their money. Press release:
FRAUD. The FTC has filed a civil contempt action charging a
deceptive mortgage foreclosure rescue and loan modification
operation with violating a 2001 court order. According to the
FTC, Bryan D'Antonio and his companies told homeowners that his
operation had never lost a customer's home to foreclosure. Many
people paid the defendants up to $5,500 each and ultimately lost
their homes to foreclosure. Press release:
MALWARE AND BOTNETS. At the request of the FTC, a district
court has shut down a rogue Internet service provider that
hosted and took part in distributing harmful electronic content.
According to the FTC, the defendant, Pricewert LLC, colluded
with criminals seeking to distribute child pornography, spyware,
viruses, trojan horses, botnet command and control servers, and
pornography featuring violence, bestiality, and incest. The
defendant allegedly operated botnets, large networks of
compromised computers to send spam and launch denial of service
attacks, and distributed programs capable of keystroke logging,
password stealing, and data stealing. Press release:
OPERATION MIRAGE. The FTC is suing to stop three
telemarketing boiler rooms in Montreal that allegedly bilked
millions of dollars from thousands of small- and medium-sized
U.S. businesses and non-profits, including churches, schools,
and charities. Reed Publishing and its affiliates allegedly
deceived these organizations into paying for listings they never
ordered in worthless business directories. Press release:
PREPAID CALLING CARDS. A leading U.S. distributor of prepaid
calling cards has agreed to pay $1.3 million to settle FTC
charges that the calling cards failed to deliver the number of
minutes advertised. According to the FTC, the calling cards,
sold in denominations ranging from $2 to $20, provided on
average less than half of the advertised calling minutes. The
settlement is part of an ongoing FTC crackdown on fraud in the
prepaid calling card industry. Press release:
PAYMENT PROCESSOR. A federal court has ordered a payment
processor that debited peoples' bank accounts without their
authorization to pay $1.7 million in consumer redress. Payment
processors serve as middlemen between merchants and banks or
credit card companies. The defendant, InterBill, processed
payments for a fraudulent enterprise known as "Pharmacycards.com."
According to the FTC, the payment processor didn't check
addresses, phone numbers, or references the bogus merchant
provided and continued to process charges after receiving
complaints from consumers. Press release:
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform --- Identity
Theft Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National
Archives The FTC testified that Congress should establish data
security standards across the private sector and that all
organizations that hold sensitive consumer data should take
reasonable measures to safeguard it. The FTC also recommended
that organizations should notify people when the security of
their information has been breached. The Commission requests the
authority to seek civil penalties in data security cases. Press
House Committee on Energy and Commerce --- Biologic Drug
Competition Subcommittee on Health
The FTC discussed its report, "Follow-on Biologic Drug
Competition," which examines how the price of biologic drugs ---
products made with living tissues and microorganisms --- could
be reduced by competition from so-called follow-on biologics (FOBs).
Biologics are increasingly used to treat arthritis, cancer,
diabetes, and other diseases. Press release:
The FTC and the Departments of Justice and Education have issued
their annual mandated report to Congress, describing their
continued efforts to combat scholarship and financial aid fraud.
Each year, millions of students seek help in financing their
higher education, and some fall prey to scholarship and
financial aid scams that "guarantee" money for college in
exchange for a fee. Press release:
FUTURE OF NEWS MEDIA. The FTC will hold a series of workshops,
starting September 15, about the news media in the internet age.
The series will consider possible business and non-profit models
for news organizations, the role of targeted behavioral and
other online advertising, whether additional limited antitrust
exemptions may be necessary, and the implications of online news
for both copyright protection and the availability of broadband
access. Participants will include journalists, representatives
of news and new media organizations, privacy experts, direct
marketers, online advertisers, academics, and consumer
advocates. Press release:
DEBT COLLECTION ROUNDTABLE. The FTC and the Searle Center on
Law, Regulation, and Economic Growth at Northwestern University
School of Law will host a two-day public roundtable discussion
about debt collection litigation and arbitration August 5 and 6.
This will be the first of several events for state court judges,
government officials, debt collectors and their representatives,
consumer advocates, and academics. Press release:
NEW CONSUMER PRODUCTS
PAYING THE DEBTS OF A DECEASED RELATIVE: WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?
Explains what the law has to say about who has responsibility
for a dead relative's debts. 8.5"x11", 2 pages.
A JOLT FROM THE BLUE: JAMAICAN FRAUDSTERS USING TELEMARKETING
TO TARGET U.S. CONSUMERS. Warns of fraudulent telemarketers
based in Jamaica who are calling people in the U.S. and telling
them that they've won a sweepstakes or foreign lottery.
8.5"x11", 2 pages.
TIP OF THE MONTH - FRAUD: AN INSIDE LOOK
As part of the Operation Short Change initiative, the FTC
produced a video to help consumers understand how con artists
work --- and how to avoid fraud. It features two victims and a
former scammer who hawked phony business opportunities and
ultimately served prison time for deceiving investors. The
former scammer gives an insider account of how he tricked
prospective buyers into spending thousands of dollars for a
product they knew nothing about. View the video at
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About the ICFE:
The Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE) was founded in 1982 by the late Loren Dunton (creator of the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation). The ICFE is dedicated to helping consumers of all ages to improve their spending, increase savings and use credit more wisely.
The ICFE is an award winning, nonprofit, consumer education organization that has helped millions of people through its education programs and Resources. It publishes the Do-It-Yourself Credit File correction Guide, which is updated annually. The ICFE has distributed over one million Credit/Debit Card Warning Labels and Credit/Debit Card Sleeves world wide.
The ICFE became an official partner with the Department of Defense/Financial Readiness Campaign in June of 2004.The ICFE was an active partner in the California Student Debt Resource Awareness Project (CASDRAP) which resulted in a new web site: (studentdebthelp.org). CASDRAP disbanded in 2010, shortly after the web site project was completed. In 2011 the ICFE assumed the single sponsorship of the (studentdebthelp.org) web site and is now responsible for its content and operation.
The ICFE is also an on-line help for consumers who spend too much. ICFE's spending help was featured in PARADE Magazine in the Intelligence Report section. The money helps and tips are from the ICFE's Money Instruction Book, our course in personal finance.
Visit the ICFE's other web sites at: www.financial-education-icfe.org and studentdebthelp.org. Both sites helps consumers and students with mending spending, learning about the proper use of credit, budget and expense guidelines, how to set up and implement a spending-plan and also how to access financial education courses and how to teach children about money. Other ICFE services include: Ask Mr. G, a free eNews, and an online resource center for students, parents and educators, plus financial education learning tools and a book store.