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 9
IN THIS ISSUE
PUMP FICTION. The manufacturer of a magnetic device, who falsely claimed it would save fuel and reduce emissions, will pay $4.2 million for consumer redress to settle the FTC's false advertising charges. The settlement imposes a lifetime ban against Anthony Renda and International Research and Development Group on the manufacture, advertising, or sale of FuelMAX, Super FuelMAX, or any similar fuel-saving or emissions-decreasing product. The FTC has established a hotline --1-877-382-2020 -- with a recorded message for consumers who think they are entitled to a refund. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2006/08/savegas.htm
DO NOT CALL. The FTC has settled charges against Nomrah Records, Inc. and its president, Mark Harmon -- named defendants in the recent DIRECTV telemarketing case. Under the settlement, Harmon will pay a $75,000 civil penalty and both he and the company are barred from violating the Do Not Call (DNC) Rule and Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) in the future. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2006/08/directv.htm
CROSS-BORDER CALLS. A U.S. district court has ordered that two defendants in an FTC cross-border telemarketing fraud case be barred from engaging in deceptive marketing and pay $15,000 for consumer redress. The defendants, Mishele Wells and her company, Simax Corporation, allegedly targeted U.S. consumers with no credit or poor credit histories with promises of advance-fee credit cards, but never provided them. The FTC brought the case in November 2004 as part of a major multi-jurisdictional cross-border fraud law enforcement initiative. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2006/08/primeone.htm
¡Ójó! FTC RESOURCES FOR HISPANIC COMMUNITIES. Bilingual Hispanic outreach newsletter provides consumer tips, news about FTC actions against scams targeting Spanish speakers and information about the FTC’s efforts to reach out to Hispanic communities. www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/newsletters/ojo/0202.pdf
PRIVACY: WHAT YOU DO KNOW CAN PROTECT YOU. Provides information on how to opt out of prescreened offers of credit and insurance. 8.5"x11", 3 pages.
VoIP: IT'S A PHONE, IT'S A COMPUTER, IT'S... Informs consumers of the benefits and risks associated with receiving their telephone service via Voice over Internet Protocol. 8.5"x11", 4 pages. www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/tech/tec06.htm
HISPANIC FRAUD PREVENTION FORUM. The FTC, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York, and the Manhattan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will host a Hispanic Fraud Prevention Forum in New York City on September 27. The Forum will provide an opportunity for law enforcers and community leaders to learn about the nature and extent of consumer fraud targeting the Hispanic community in an effort to develop more effective strategies to address these problems. For more information, call the FTC's Hispanic Outreach hotline, 202-326-3689, email HispanicOutreach@ftc.gov or visit www.ftc.gov/hispanicforum.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS. The FTC will host three days of public hearings to examine evolving technology and consumer protection in the coming decade. The event will bring together experts from business, government and the technology sector, consumer advocates, academicians, and law enforcement officials. The hearings will be held November 6-8 at the Lisner Auditorium of George Washington University and will be free and open to the public. On November 9, the FTC will host a non-public meeting of invited law enforcers and other government officials to examine the implications of emerging technologies on consumer protection in the coming decade. For more about the hearings: www.ftc.gov/techade. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2006/07/techade.htm
When a hurricane, flood, tornado, wildfire, or other disaster strikes, it might be safest to pack up and leave your home. The FTC says that when it comes to preparing for situations like weather emergencies, financial readiness is as important as a flashlight with fully charged batteries. Leaving your home can be stressful, but knowing that your financial documents are up-to-date, in one place, and portable can make a big difference at a tense time.
Here are some tips from the FTC for financial readiness in case of an emergency:
- Conduct a household inventory. A list of your possessions (documented by photo or video) could help if you're filing insurance claims.
- Buy a lockable, fireproof file box for your important documents. Keep the box in a secure, accessible location so that you can “grab it and go” if the need arises.
- Consider renting a safe deposit box for storage of important documents, for example, the deed for your home, title for your car, your will, birth certificate and passport.
- Choose an out-of-town contact. Ask an out-of-town friend or relative to be the point of contact for your family, and make sure everyone in your family has the information.
- Update all your information. Review the contents of your household inventory, your fireproof box, safe deposit box, and the information for your out-of-town contact at least once a year.
For more information, visit www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt170.htm
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