FOR THE CONSUMER
The FTC's monthly newsletter for the Congressional community
It's the news you - and your constituents - can use.
Volume 5 - Number 6
IN THIS ISSUE
DETER, DETECT, DEFEND. The FTC has launched "AvoID Theft: Deter, Detect, Defend," a nationwide identity theft education campaign that teaches consumers how to reduce their risk of ID theft, monitor their personal information, and act quickly when they suspect identity theft. The centerpiece of the campaign is a kit, available in English and in Spanish, which has information people can use to educate themselves and their community about minimizing the risk of id theft.
For more information: www.consumer.gov/idtheft/ddd/
WEIGHT A MINUTE. The FTC has obtained a $3 million dollar settlement with sellers who allegedly violated federal law by making questionable weight-loss and fat-loss claims for skin gels and diet supplements. The settlement bars the marketers from making unsubstantiated claims in the future and from misrepresenting studies or endorsements. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2006/05/basicresearch.htm
SPYWARE. At the request of the FTC, a federal court has stopped an operation that deceptively downloaded spyware onto unsuspecting consumers’ computers, changing their settings and hijacking their search engines. The judge has ordered the operators to give up more than $4 million in ill-gotten gains.
Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2006/05/seismic.htm
PHONE RECORDS. The FTC has charged five Web-based operations with violating federal law by obtaining and selling consumers’ confidential telephone records to third parties. The agency is seeking a permanent halt to the sale of the phone records, and has asked the courts to order the operators to give up the money they made with their illegal operations. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2006/05/phonerecords.htm
SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES: A PARENT'S GUIDE. Urges parents and kids to talk about the risks involved in using social networking sites and offers tips for safe use., Includes resources for more information. http://onguardonline.gov/socialnetworking.html
SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES: SAFETY TIPS FOR TEENS AND TWEENS. Provides safety tips for kids when using social networking sites. http://onguardonline.gov/socialnetworking_youth.htmll
AHORROS DE ENERGÍA EN EL HOGAR: CAMBIOS COTIDIANOS PARA CONSERVAR ENERGÍA EN LA CASA (Saving Starts @ Home: The Inside Story on Conserving Energy) Offers information on cutting utility costs. Spanish www.ftc.gov/ahorraenergia (in English www.ftc.gov/energysavings)
SAVING MONEY AT THE GAS PUMP. Shares important ways to save money when buying gas. www.ftc.gov/savegas
Now you and your constituents can order the FTC’s consumer publications in bulk quantities (50 or more) online -- at www.ftc.gov/bulkorder. If you need more copies than are offered on the website, please email Derick Rill at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you need one to 49 copies of a publication, call the FTC Consumer Response Center's toll-free helpline, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). Remember that if you need a copy of any publication immediately, you can view, download, and print from www.ftc.gov.
GREEN LIGHTS & RED FLAGS. The FTC's East Central Region and the Cincinnati Better Business Bureau, in cooperation with the Advertising Club of Cincinnati, will present a half-day “back-to-basics” workshop about complying with truth-in-advertising laws. "Green Lights & Red Flags: FTC-BBB Rules of the Road for Advertisers" features national experts discussing the latest developments in advertising law for business owners, marketing executives, and in-house counsel. The workshop will be held June 7 at the Cintas Center, 1624 Herald Avenue, Cincinnati, and will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The $115 admission fee ($90 for Better Business Bureau members) includes lunch and a CD-ROM of all workshop materials. The Ohio Supreme Court Commission on Continuing Legal Education has greenlit "Green Lights" for 4.5 CLE credit hours To register, visit www.ftc.gov/greenlights.
When planning their summer vacations, consumers need to protect themselves -- not only from too much sun, but also from travel scams. The FTC helps travelers do just that with “Gear Up for a Great Trip." "Gear Up" -- in English (www.ftc.gov/travel) and Spanish (www.ftc.gov/viajar) and see some handy tips for travelers:
Buy your travel package from a company with a good reputation. Ask friends to recommend a business you can trust.
Be wary of ads or faxes offering deeply discounted vacations. Some scam artists offer the world, but leave you at the gate. Other “deals” may contain hidden costs.
Before you buy, get the details in writing and a copy of the company’s cancellation and refund policies. Consider whether cancellation insurance is right for you.
Be wary of vague promises that accommodations include a “major” hotel or a trip on a “luxury” cruise ship. Definitions may be in the mind of the marketers. Get the names, addresses, and telephone numbers before you buythe package, then call to verify your reservations.
Use a credit card to make your travel purchases. If you don’t get what you pay for, you may be able to dispute the charges with your credit card company.
Thinking about joining a travel club? Ask questions before signing up. Sometimes these “free” memberships can weigh you down with credit charges that you did not approve.
FTC'S OFFICE OF CONGRESSIONAL RELATIONS: 202-326-2195.
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