FOR THE CONSUMER
The FTC's monthly newsletter for the Congressional community
It's the news you—and your constituents—can use.
Volume 3– Number 7
IN THIS ISSUE
EYE SPY-WARE. The FTC has asked a U.S. District Court to shut down a spyware operation that allegedly hijacked consumers' computers, secretly changed the settings, barraged them with pop-up ads, and installed software programs that would spy on consumers' web surfing. Once the spyware purveyors created these problems for consumers, they added insult to insult, offering to sell consumers a solution.
Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2004/10/spyware.shtm
$155 MILLION JUDGMENT. Harry Siskind, the former seller of Body Solutions Evening Weight Loss Formula, has agreed to settle FTC charges that he falsified his financial statements to hide assets and obtain a more favorable settlement in a previous FTC lawsuit against him. If the court approves the order, a judgment of $155 million will be entered against him.
Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2004/10/marknutritionals.shtm
SPAM PLAN. The FTC has joined forces with 19 agencies from 15 countries to combat spam on a global level with an Action Plan on Spam Enforcement.
Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2004/10/spamconference.shtm
PAIN IN THE NECK? The marketers of the Balance Bracelet agreed to pay $400,000 to settle charges that they made deceptive pain relief claims about the product. The defendants marketed the C-shaped metal bracelet through nationally disseminated infomercials and over the Internet, claiming it relieved arthritis and other back, joint and injury-related pain.
Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2004/10/mediamaverick.shtm
EMAIL AUTHENTICATION. The FTC and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will co-host a two-day Email Authentication Summit to explore technologies that could reduce spam. The Summit, which is free and open to the public, will be held November 9 and 10 at the FTC's Conference Center, 601 New Jersey Ave., NW, Washington, DC.
Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2004/09/emailauth.shtm
P2P. The FTC will host a peer-to-peer file sharing workshop on December 15 and 16, which will focus on the uses of P2P technology, its role in the economy, its risks to consumers, and other issues. The workshop, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the FTC's Conference Center, 601 New Jersey Ave, NW, Washington, DC.
Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2004/10/p2p.shtm
NEW CONSUMER EDUCATION
THE EYES HAVE IT -- GET YOUR PRESCRIPTION. Alert informs consumers that their eye care provider must give them their contact lens prescription, even if they don't ask for it. www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/alerts/contactalrt.shtm
TIME BARRED DEBTS. Information on collection practices relating to debts that are past the statute of limitations. www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt144.shtm
TIP OF THE MONTH - Spyware
Has your computer been barraged with pop-up ads? Has your homepage changed suddenly, again and again? If you've experienced disruptions or slow-downs, spyware might be installed on your computer. Spyware, a program that's loaded onto your computer without your knowledge, can track your Internet surfing habits and more. To avoid it, the FTC recommends that you:
1. update your operating system (like Windows or Linux) and Web browser. They may offer free software "patches" to protect you against spyware.
2. download free software only from sites you know and trust. Some free software bundles spyware with it.
3. resist clicking on any links within pop-up windows. The links may install spyware. Instead, to close pop-up windows, click on the "x" icon in the title bar.
For more tips on protecting yourself from spyware, go to: www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt142.shtm
NUMBERS TO KNOW
FTC'S OFFICE OF CONGRESSIONAL RELATIONS: 202-326-2195.
Check out the CONGRESSIONAL RESOURCES portion of our Web site at www.ftc.gov/ftc/congress.shtm No password needed to access.
To order free FTC consumer information, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, Member or Committee affiliation, and mailing address.
To file a fraud complaint, go to www.ftc.gov or call FTC's toll-free line 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).
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