ICFE eNEWS #15-22 - June 29th 2015
Penn Corner June 2015 - Update from the Federal Trade Commission
Fake Cancer Charities Duped Donors
The FTC and law enforcement partners from all 50 states and the
District of Columbia charged
four sham cancer charities with
taking over $187 million from donors and spending much of it on
the people who ran the fake charities, and their telemarketers.
The money went for cars, vacations, cruises, college tuition,
gym memberships, jet ski outings, sporting event and concert
tickets, and dating site memberships, among other things.
According to the complaint, Cancer Fund of America, Inc.; Cancer
Support Services Inc.; Children's Cancer Fund of America Inc.;
and The Breast Cancer Society told donors their money would help
support cancer patients with medicine, groceries, transportation
for chemo treatments, counseling, and hospice care, but little
or none went for those purposes.
Ashworth College Learns a Lesson
Ashworth College agreed
to settle FTC charges that it misrepresented what its online
college degree and career-training programs could do for
students. Ashworth promised that graduates of its programs would
have the "credentials [to] apply for jobs [or] change careers."
However, many of its programs did not meet the standards of
state licensing bodies. The FTC also alleges the for-profit
college falsely claimed that the course credits students earned
there could transfer to other colleges. The FTC says Ashworth
had no basis for that promise - and even lacked the type of
accreditation that many schools require to accept transfer
Debt Collectors Messaging for Money
The FTC took
three debt collection companies, alleging that when they texted,
emailed or called financially distressed people, they didn't say
they were debt collectors. According to the complaint, Unified
Global Group, Premier Debt Acquisitions, and Primary Group
deceived people by pretending to be attorneys or government
agencies and threatening lawsuits or arrests.
Flushable Wipes Clogged Pipes
The FTC filed a complaint against Nice-Pak
alleging the company lacked proof for claims that its wipes were
safe for sewer and septic systems. According to the FTC,
Nice-Pak deceived people by claiming in ads that the wipes would
break down after flushing. Nice-Pak also claimed the wipes were
safe for household and public systems. The FTC says Nice-Pak
didn't test the wipes under real-world conditions. According to
the settlement, the company can't say the wipes are safe to
flush unless it has new tests proving that they are.
Sweepstakes Scam Stopped
The FTC issued a complaint against Mail
Tree, Inc. and ten other companies for
taking more than $25 million from older people with a
sweepstakes scam. According to the FTC, people got
official-looking prize notifications in the mail with seals,
stamps, and identification numbers that said they had won $2
million dollars or more. The FTC alleges the companies tricked
people into sending $20-$30 dollars each to claim their promised
Sleep-Disorder Drug Stays Competitive
Cephalon, Inc. agreed
to pay $1.2 billion to settle FTC charges that it illegally
blocked generic competition to its blockbuster sleep-disorder
drug Provigil. According to FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, the
"landmark settlement is an important step in the FTC's ongoing
effort to protect consumers from anticompetitive pay for delay
settlements, which burden patients, American businesses, and
taxpayers with billions of dollars in higher prescription drug
costs." The settlement ensures that Teva Pharmaceutical
Industries, Ltd., which acquired Cephalon in 2012, will
compensate purchasers, including drug wholesalers, pharmacies,
and insurers, who overpaid because of Cephalon's illegal
New Notario Scams Fotonovela
The FTC has a new
Spanish-language fotonovela called Como
se enteraron Myriam y Pedro de las estafas de notario,
Myriam and Pedro Found Out About Notario Scams.
The fotonovela tells readers in the Latino community about the
warning signs of this immigration-related scam. It also explains
where to find help with the immigration process, and how to
report scams to the FTC. Visit FTC.gov/bulkorder to
order free copies.
"Cancer is a debilitating disease that impacts millions of
Americans and their families every year. The defendants'
egregious scheme effectively deprived legitimate cancer
charities and cancer patients of much-needed funds and support.
The defendants took in millions of dollars in donations meant to
help cancer patients, but spent it on themselves and their
fundraisers. I'm pleased that the FTC and our state partners are
acting to end this appalling scheme." --
Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer
Deceptive Crowdfunding Crackdown
The FTC settled its first crowdfunding case.
According to the FTC complaint, Erik Chevalier, using the name
"The Forking Path Co.," made deceptive promises to people that
he would use crowdfunding money to create a board game called
"The Doom That Came to Atlantic City." The FTC alleges Chevalier
also promised people rewards for contributing - like an early
version of the game or game figurines. The FTC says The Forking
Path Co. never made the board game, sent rewards, or gave money
back to people.
The FTC mailed 500,000 refund checks totaling
almost $3 million to people who lost money buying Nopalea, a
cactus-based fruit drink marketed to treat health problems.
According to the FTC, Trivita, Inc. claimed Nopalea was
scientifically proven to relieve pain, among other things. The
FTC alleges that the company lacked the science to back up its
claims about the juice's health benefits.
Bogus Telemarketing Pitch
According to the FTC, Universal
Processing Services of Wisconsin, LLC, and HES Merchant Services
Company, Inc. agreed
to settle deceptive telemarketing charges. The FTC alleges the
companies used illegal robocalls to solicit thousands of people
about a credit card interest rate reduction service. The FTC
says the companies lied about being able to help people out of
credit card debt. The companies also called numbers that were
registered on the FTC's Do Not Call Registry.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Requests Bankruptcy Court Take Steps to Protect RadioShack
Consumers' Personal Information
Returns Money to Consumers in Phantom Debt Collection Scam
Approves Final Consent Orders in Two Deceptive Auto Advertising
Returns Money to Consumers in Mortgage Relief Scam
Looking to fix your home? The FTC has tips on finding a
reputable contractor, and avoiding home improvement scams. http://go.usa.gov/3E4NC
Are you a federal employee whose personal information may have
been exposed? Protect your identity with these steps: http://go.usa.gov/3P5BV
Paying through an app? Make your account less vulnerable to
fraud. Check the app's settings for security features. http://go.usa.gov/3P59Q
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Also, visit the ICFE's new Web site: StudentDebtHelp.org
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.