An interagency working group is
soliciting public comment on its
proposed voluntary principles
that encourage the food industry
to market healthful foods to children.
The guidelines — proposed by the
USDA, the CDC, the FDA and the FTC
in an effort to fight childhood
obesity — recommend that by 2016
foods marketed directly to kids
provide a meaningful contribution
to a healthful diet, and include
at least one of these food groups:
fruit, veggies, whole grains,
fat-free or low-fat milk products,
fish, extra lean meat or poultry,
eggs, nuts and seeds, or beans
have less than a gram of saturated
fat, no trans fat, no more than
13 grams of added sugars, and
no more than 210 milligrams
of sodium per serving.
Continuity Program Dis-Continued
The FTC has
filed a complaint against two
men and their companies for deceptively
billing customers without their
permission and refusing to give
refunds. The FTC alleged that when
people provided their bank account
information as part of an online
payday loan application, Michael
Moneymaker and Daniel De La Cruz
used it to enroll them in worthless
"continuity" programs without their
knowledge. Their companies billed
consumers up to $49.99 each, plus
additional weekly or monthly fees
of up to $19.98. At the FTC's request,
a federal court temporarily stopped
the defendants' deceptive Practices
and froze their assets.
Dealing with Data Breaches
Two companies that maintain mountains
of sensitive information for other
businesses, including employee Social
have agreed to settle FTC charges
that they failed to use appropriate
measures to protect the data. The
Ceridian Corporation provides payroll
processing and other HR services
to businesses; Lookout Services,
Inc., markets a product that helps
businesses comply with immigration
laws. Security breaches at both
companies put the personal information
of tens of thousands of people at
risk. The FTC recently
recommended that Congress pass
legislation that would require companies
to implement reasonable security
policies and procedures and to notify
people in appropriate circumstances
if a security breach occurs.
That's Not News
The FTC has asked federal courts
to stop the allegedly deceptive
tactics of 10 internet marketers
fake news websites to sell acai
berry weight-loss products. Using
the logos of national media companies
and testimonials from supposedly
satisfied customers, the defendants'
web pages used false and unsupported
claims to pitch their products.
The FTC alleged that virtually everything
about these sites was fake: the
weight loss results, the "investigations,"
the reporters, the testimonials,
and the pretense of objectivity.
Refunds Help Right Wrongs
In the last several weeks, the FTC
returned more than $18 million to
people across the U.S. who lost
money to allegedly deceptive business
$2.3 million went out to 1,440
homeowners who were allegedly
charged an up-front fee by Home
Assure LLC, a foreclosure rescue
service. The homeowners
received full refunds.
$11.8 million was returned to
more than 248,000 people who
purchased the Q-Ray bracelet
— a product that claimed it
could provide immediate and
significant pain relief.
More than $3 million was returned
to 172,000 people defrauded
by the "Wal-Mart
Shopping Spree" scam. They
were falsely promised free gifts
such as shopping sprees, movie
passes, and gas vouchers, and
charged monthly fees for "program
memberships" in discount buying
and travel clubs.
$1.5 million went out to 3,162
Hispanic borrowers who were
allegedly charged higher prices
for mortgage loans than non-Hispanic
Golden Empire Mortgage, Inc.
The price disparities could
not be explained by the applicants'
credit worthiness or underwriting
Rascally Phone Calls
The company that makes Rascal Scooters
will pay $100,000 to
settle FTC charges that it made
more than three million illegal
sales calls to numbers on the National
Do Not Call Registry. According
to the FTC, the company used sweepstakes
entry forms to harvest phone numbers
for their sales calls. The Telemarketing
Sales Rule allows a company to call
someone whose number is on the Do
Not Call Registry for up to 18 months
if they have an "established business
relationship." But a sweepstakes
entry doesn't create that relationship.
The settlement bars the company
from using sweepstakes entries as
the basis for claiming an established
business relationship and imposes
monitoring and reporting requirements
to ensure compliance.
Pay-for-Delay on the Rise
The FTC reports an alarming jump
in the number of deals between branded
drug makers and generic rivals that
keep lower-cost drugs off the market.
According to an FTC report,
the number of these sweetheart deals
in which the brand name pays a generic
firm to delay introducing a generic
version skyrocketed by more than
60 percent last year. The FTC estimates
that these pay-for-delay deals cost
consumers and taxpayers $3.5 billion
a year in higher drug prices; the
FTC has filed several cases to stop
these anticompetitive agreements.
"If companies do not protect the personal information
they collect and store, that information could fall
into the wrong hands, resulting in fraud and other
harm, and consumers could lose confidence in the
— David Vladeck, Director, Bureau of Consumer Protection
Green Card Sharks
No one can increase your chances of winning
a green card through the U.S. Diversity
Visa Lottery, and you never have to pay
a fee to enter the program. Someone who
claims otherwise is lying.
Identity Theft Testimony
The FTC testified before Congress that millions
of consumers are victims of identity theft
each year. The costs of identity theft are
staggering in terms of dollars and lost
productivity. The FTC recommended legislation
to make Social Security numbers less useful
to identity thieves and harder to access.
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Paul S. Richard
President - Executive Director
Institute of Consumer
Financial Education (ICFE)
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.