FOR THE CONSUMER
The FTC's monthly newsletter for the Congressional community
It's the news you - and your constituents - can use.
Volume 6 - Number 3
IN THIS ISSUE
TOP 10. The FTC has issued its annual report of the fraud complaints filed with the agency. For the seventh year in a row, identity theft tops the list, accounting for 36 percent of the more than 670,000 complaints received in 2006. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/02/topcomplaints.htm
SONY. Sony BMG Music Entertainment has agreed to settle FTC charges that it didn’t tell consumers about software that monitored their listening habits and limited their use of CDs they had bought.The settlement requires the company to clearly disclose limitations on the CDs’ use and prohibits it from using collected information for marketing or software installation without consent. Consumers are allowed to exchange the CDs through June 31, 2007, and may qualify for up to $150 reimbursement to repair damage to their computer. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/01/sony.htm
TOO MANY HANG-UPS. A telemarketer charged with making tens of millions of illegal calls has agreed to pay a $1 million civil penalty under a settlement reached with the FTC and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The complaint alleged that the telemarketer’s automated phone dialing service illegally hung up on more than 64 million people --- and called more than a million numbers that were listed on the National Do Not Call Registry. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/02/broadcastteam.htm
ADWARE. DirectRevenue LLC, a large adware distributor, and four of its principals have agreed to settle FTC charges that they violated federal law by unfairly and deceptively downloading adware onto consumers’ computers and preventing its removal. The settlement requires DirectRevenue to give up $1.5 million in ill-gotten gains and provide a reasonable and effective way for consumers to remove the adware. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/02/directrevenue.htm
CREDIT REPORTS. Consumerinfo.com will pay $300,000 to settle FTC charges that they violated a settlement because the ads for its “free credit report” offer didn’t adequately disclose that consumers who signed up would be automatically enrolled in a credit-monitoring program and charged $79. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/02/cic.htm
ENERGY ISSUES WORKSHOP. The FTC will convene a three-day conference, April 10-12, to feature leading experts from the government, industries in the energy sector, consumer groups, and academia to exchange information and ideas about critical issues related to energy development, transportation, marketing, and use. The workshop is free and open to the public; it will be held at the FTC’s Conference Center, 601 New Jersey Ave., NW, Washington, DC. All attendees will be required to show a valid form of photo identification. A live webcast of the workshops will run on www.ftc.gov. Pre-registration is not necessary, but is encouraged. To pre-register, email your name and affiliation to firstname.lastname@example.org. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/01/energywrkshp.htm
THE REAL THING. The FTC will host a workshop on April 23 and 24 to explore ways to reduce identity theft through enhanced authentication methods. Topics for discussion include establishing identity in the first place, emerging authentication methods, new technologies, and possible privacy concerns. Send your request to participate by March 9 to email@example.com or by mail to the Office of the Secretary, Room H-135 (Annex N) 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Comments must be received by March 23 and may be submitted by mail or the Internet at https://secure.commentworks.com/ftc-idmworkshop. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/02/authentication.htm
REBATE WORKSHOP. The FTC will host a workshop on April 27 in San Francisco to discuss the issues surrounding the use of mail-in rebates. Representatives from consumer groups, industry, academia, and the government will debate the costs and benefits of rebates and explore “best practices” in rebate offers and fulfillment. The workshop, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the downtown campus of San Francisco State University, starting at 9 a.m. For more information about the workshop, visit www.ftc.gov/bcp/workshops/rebatedebate/index.html. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/01/rebate.htm
HOME EQUITY CREDIT LINES. Brochure explains that lenders offer home equity credit lines in a variety of ways and lists questions and answers to help readers decide if a home equity line of credit is appropriate. 8.5x11, 4 pages www.ftc.gov//bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/homes/rea02.htm
Between 15,000 and 20,000 consumers contact the FTC about identity theft every week. As part of its national education campaign, AvoID Theft: Deter, Detect, Defend, the FTC has created tools to help organizations become partners in the effort to reach out and help consumers reduce their risk of this crime. The ID Theft Consumer Education Kit enables anyone --- regardless of existing knowledge about the issue --- to effectively educate others. The Kit, available in English and Spanish, contains an easy-to-reproduce trifold brochure, a comprehensive guide for victims, presentation slides, a 10-minute DVD, and a guide to talking about identity theft.
Any organization or individual can become a partner and join the fight against identity theft. Using the FTC’s resources, you can raise awareness and educate your community --- whether it’s through a business, place of worship, social club, professional organization, county fair, or other venue in your district.
Learn how your Member's office can become a partner and download the kit at www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/become-a-partner.html. For hard copies of the complete kit, go the FTC's online order site at www.ftc.gov/bulkorder. Look under ID Theft in the Publications categories.
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