ICFE eNEWS #15-30 - September 29th 2015
Penn Corner September 2015 - Update from
the Federal Trade Commission
Deceptive Video Reviews for Xbox One
Machinima, Inc., an online entertainment network, agreed to
settle FTC charges that it engaged in deceptive advertising. According
to the FTC, the company paid "influencers" to post positive YouTube
videos endorsing Microsoft’s Xbox One system and several games -
without disclosing that they were being paid. According to the settlement,
among other things, Machinima, Inc. must prominently disclose any
material connection between the endorser and the advertiser.
Vemma Pyramid Scheme Halted
The FTC issued
a complaint against
Vemma Nutrition Company, alleging it is running an illegal pyramid
scheme - and a federal court has ordered the operation to temporarily
shut down. According to the FTC, Vemma Nutrition Company recruited
heavily on college campuses with claims that young adults can earn
up to $50,000 per week and live in the lap of luxury by selling
an energy drink. But, says the FTC, the company emphasized recruiting
other “affiliates” instead of drink sales, made false earnings claims,
and failed to disclose that its structure ensures that most people
who join will not earn substantial income.
than focusing on selling products, Vemma uses false promises of
high income potential to convince consumers to pay money to join
their organization. We are also alleging that Vemma is an illegal
— Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s
Bureau of Consumer Protection
False Claims Harmed
The FTC took action against
Wealth Educators, Inc., a bogus law firm that promised to help
homeowners avoid foreclosure. According to the FTC, Wealth Educators,
Inc. promised government-sponsored loan modifications to struggling
homeowners who paid thousands of dollars in upfront fees. The FTC
alleges the company did little or nothing to help people keep their
homes, and never worked with homeowner’s lenders. The FTC also says
few people received the full refunds that the company promised.
Business Opportunity Deception
of elusive marketers, operating as
Money Now Funding, among other names, were shut down by court
orders obtained by the FTC. According to the FTC, the defendants
told people they could earn up to $3,000 a month by referring small
businesses to their company to get loans. But, says the FTC, the
defendants charged up to $499 for the business “opportunity,” and
then thousands more for useless sales leads. Money Now Funding cheated
American and Canadian consumers – many of them older adults on limited
incomes – out of more than $7 million.
Concordia Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Par Pharmaceutical, Inc.,
settled FTC charges that they entered into an unlawful agreement
not to compete to sell generic versions of Kapvay, a prescription
drug used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. At
the time of the agreement, Concordia and Par were the only two firms
approved by the FDA to sell generic Kapvay, but rather than competing
against one another, Concordia agreed not to sell an authorized
generic version of Kapvay in exchange for receiving a share of Par’s
revenues. According to the FTC, the agreement deprived consumers
of the lower prices that typically occur with generic competition.
Under the settlement, the firms cannot enforce the anticompetitive
provisions of their agreement.
New Resource for Recent
The FTC has new information for people who
have recently arrived in the United States.
Spotting, Avoiding and Reporting Scams: A Fraud Handbook for Recent
Refugees and Immigrants is a short handbook to help people spot,
avoid and report scams. The handbook and posters are free and available
in English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Dari, Amharic, and Somali.
Lights Out for UV Disinfectants
Angel Sales, Inc. and Zadro Health Solutions, agreed to settle
FTC charges that they made false and unsubstantiated advertising
claims. According to the FTC, both companies claimed that their
ultraviolet (UV) light devices could kill nearly all viruses and
bacteria. But the FTC says neither company had the scientific proof
to back up those claims.
Your Money Back
The FTC is mailing 6,936 refund checks of $25.18 each – totaling
$175,000 – to consumers who lost money buying Speak and Smooth dietary
supplements. According to the FTC,
NourishLife, LLC said the supplements were clinically proven
to support healthy and normal speech development in kids. But the
FTC says the company didn’t have the scientific evidence to back
up its claims. People who receive the checks are encouraged to cash
them before they expire on October 23, 2015.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Statement from FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez on Appellate Ruling
in the Wyndham Hotels and Resorts Matter
FTC Awards $25,000 Top
Cash Prize for Contest-Winning Mobile App That Blocks Illegal Robocalls
FTC Staff Conducts Follow Up Survey of Kids’ Apps
Scammers may have military service. Or they could be lying to gain
your trust and money.
A con artist might be knocking on your
front door. Scam-proof your doorstep with
Concerned about an older friend or relative’s financial situation?
Click for tips
on spotting financial abuse.
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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.