Definition of Terrorism:

[ˈterəˌrizəm] NOUN
the unlawful use of violence & intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.
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We work to get your money back

The FTC brings lawsuits to stop unfair and deceptive business practices. One way we help right those wrongs is by getting refunds to people who lost money. And from July 2017 to June 2018, people got more than $2.3 billion in refunds from FTC cases.
Earlier this week, the FTC released our annual report announcing these results. A new map shows how much money and how many checks the FTC mailed to each state, so you can see the FTC refunds sent to people in your area. You also can find out how the FTC knows who should get refunds and the steps we take to return as much money as possible.
Getting your money back is important to you — so it’s important to us. We can’t get money back in every case, and we can’t always get every dollar that people lost. But we do our best.
Check out ftc.gov/refunds to…

FTC Announces Annual Update of Size of Transaction Thresholds for Premerger Notification Filings and Interlocking Directorates

For 2019, the size-of-transaction threshold for reporting proposed mergers and acquisitions under Section 7A of the Clayton Act will adjust from $84.4 million to $90 million. Also, the 2019 thresholds under Section 8 of the Act that trigger prohibitions on certain interlocking memberships on corporate boards of directors are $36,564,000 for Section 8(a)(l ) and $3,656,400 for Section 8(a)(2)(A).The FTC revises the thresholds annually, based on the change in gross national product. The revised thresholds under Section 7A of the Clayton Act will apply to all transactions that close on or after the effective date of the notice, which is 30 days after its publication in the Federal Register. The thresholds for Section 8 of the Clayton Act become effective upon publication in the Federal Register. A complete listing of current thresholds can be found on the FTC’s website, and will be updated once the revised thresholds are published in…

Business “coaches” ejected from game – for life

Imagine a coach talking to a team on the sideline: “Guys, I have a super strategy sure to give you a winning running game, which I’ll sell you for $97. Want an unstoppable passing attack? That’ll cost you thousands more.” According to the FTC, a group of operators promised that consumers would make big money by using their work-from-home “program” for just a few hours a week. Then they pitched pricey “business coaching packages,” also with misleading money-making claims. A recent lawsuit blows the whistle on their deception.
Fat Giraffe Marketing sold what they called Excel Cash Flow, Online Cash Commission, and the Cash From Home Program. At first glance, the ads looked like independent reviews by bloggers or investigative reporters. They featured logos from news channels and eye-catching headlines like “Mom Makes $7,487/Month And You Won’t Believe How She Does It!” But once consumers paid for the “program,” they were…

FTC Returns Full Refunds to Consumers Who Paid to Lower Their Credit Card Interest Rates

The Federal Trade Commission is mailing 1,244 checks to consumers who bought deceptively marketed credit card interest rate reduction services after being contacted via illegal robocalls. Affected consumers will receive full refunds, with most receiving $1,100 or more, within the next week.In May 2015, a Florida district court ordered several defendants in the FTC’s case against the Treasure Your Success (TYS) robocall scheme to pay more than $1.7 million to the Commission. The court orders concluded the FTC’s district court action against a web of defendants that operated the TYS scheme, including many defendants who had previously agreed to final orders settling the agency’s charges against them.Using illegal robocalls to bait consumers, the defendants promised to lower people’s credit card interest rates and to save them thousands of dollars, in exchange for an upfront fee. After collecting the fee, they failed to provide the promised interest rate reductions or the…

Defendants in “Cash From Home” Business Opportunity Scheme Settle with FTC

Consumers were told they could earn $58,500 a year working five hours a week
The defendants in an alleged work-from-home business opportunity scam are banned from selling any business coaching service or business opportunity under a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission.“Be very skeptical of promises that you’ll make a lot of money by working from home,” said Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “In this case and many others, we see companies that are just out to take your money, not help you make it.”According to the complaint, starting in 2014 and continuing through 2017, Gregory W. Anderson, Garrett P. Robins, and five companies they controlled, charged consumers an up-front fee, typically $97, to join a program that purportedly would allow them to make significant income from home by posting advertising links onto websites. Consumers who paid this fee soon realized the program did not actually…

FTC Announces March 2019 Session on International Engagement as Part of its Hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century

The 11th session of the Federal Trade Commission’s Hearings Initiative, “The FTC’s Role in a Changing World,” will focus on the agency’s international work. The hearing will take place in Washington, D.C. on March 25-26, 2019.The session will explore the FTC’s international role in light of globalization, technological change, and the increasing number of competition, consumer protection, and privacy laws and enforcement agencies around the world. Speakers will address the implications of international developments on the FTC’s work on behalf of American consumers. The session will be held at the FTC’s headquarters building at 600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC in room 432.At the hearing, the FTC will consider:The effectiveness of the FTC’s enforcement cooperation tools and approaches in light of new challenges in competition, consumer protection, and privacy matters;Approaches to promoting international policy coordination and best practice development; andStrategies for international enforcement and policy engagement given today’s dynamic global…

FTC to Host Forum on Small Business Financing

The Federal Trade Commission will host a forum on small business financing on May 8, 2019, to examine trends and consumer protection issues in this marketplace, including the recent proliferation of online loans and alternative financing products.Small businesses are an integral part of the U.S. economy, and they often need financing in order to operate and grow.  While some business owners can secure loans from banks or other traditional lenders, many businesses must turn to alternative sources for capital.  In recent years, the online marketplace for small business financing has offered a wide variety of products, including term loans, lines of credit, and cash advances. Though some options may provide unique benefits, such as quicker access to capital, some of these products also raise consumer protection concerns, like high costs and potentially unclear terms.  Unfortunately, there have also been reports of deception and other harmful practices by some companies offering…

FTC Seeks Public Comment as Part of its Review of the Franchise Rule

The Federal Trade Commission is seeking public comment on whether to make changes to its Rule known as Disclosure Requirements and Prohibitions Concerning Franchising (“Franchise Rule”) as part of its systematic review of all current FTC rules and guides.Because the primary purpose of the Franchise Rule is to provide prospective franchisees the material information they need in order to weigh the risks and benefits of purchasing a franchise, the Rule requires franchisors to furnish a Franchise Disclosure Document that includes specified information about the franchisor, the franchise business, and the terms of the franchise agreement. The Rule also prohibits misrepresentations by franchise sellers.In a Federal Register notice, the FTC is seeking comment on a wide range of questions, including whether prospective franchisees have benefitted from the Rule, whether it should be modified, what are the costs of compliance, and whether the Rule should be amended to account for technological or…

FTC Enforcement Actions Yield More than $2.3 Billion in Refunds to Consumers between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018

Total amount refunded to consumers is nearly eight times the agency’s fiscal year 2018 budget
“It is refreshing to know that the law works to help people when they have been deceived.”– Consumer who received a refund check after being charged for a “free” credit reportAccording to a report issued by the Federal Trade Commission today, between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018, the agency’s law enforcement actions yielded more than $2.3 billion in refunds to defrauded consumers, including $122 million mailed directly by the FTC to 1.28 million people.The total amount returned to consumers, which includes refunds distributed by defendants as a result of FTC actions against them, was almost eight times more than the Commission’s entire budget for fiscal year 2018.The 2018 Annual Report on Refunds to Consumers is the second annual report on money returned to defrauded consumers, and was issued by the FTC’s Office of Claims…

FTC Announces New Sessions of its Hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century

Hearings in March and April will cover broadband markets, consumer privacy, merger retrospectives, international engagement, and will include a roundtable with State Attorneys General
The Federal Trade Commission Hearings schedule sets new dates for the two previously scheduled sessions – broadband and consumer privacy – canceled due to the recent lapse in government funding. The Hearings will also include sessions on international issues in competition, consumer protection and privacy, and the analysis of merger retrospectives, as well as a State Attorneys General roundtable.March 20, 2019Competition and Consumer Protection Issues in U.S. Broadband MarketsFTC Constitution Center Auditorium400 7th St., SW, Washington, D.C. March 25-26, 2019The FTC’s Role in a Changing WorldFTC Headquarters600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington D.C. March 25, 2019Roundtable with the State Attorneys GeneralFTC Conference Center, SW QuadrantConstitution Center400 7th St., SW, Washington, D.C. April 9-10, 2019The FTC’s Approach to Consumer PrivacyFTC Constitution Center Auditorium400 7th St., SW, Washington, D.C. April 12, 2019Merger RetrospectivesFTC Headquarters600…

Romance scams will cost you

It’s Valentine’s Day and love is in the air. You may think you spend a lot on flowers or chocolate, but losing money in a romance scam would cost you even more. Last year, people reported losing $143 million to romance scams – a higher total than for any other type of scam reported to the FTC. And, according to a new FTC Data Spotlight, reports of romance scams are on the rise.
What do we mean by romance scams? We’re not talking about the person you thought was “the one” but ended up being a dud. We’re talking about people you meet online, who lavish you with attention … and then ask for money. Usually they want the money by wire transfer or gift card. They might claim they need it for a medical emergency or to come visit you. Then they take your money, but there’s no surgery and…

New FTC Data Spotlight Details Big Jump in Losses, Complaints about Romance Scams

Scammers who use love to target consumers not only take an emotional toll on their victims, but can also take a financial one as well. New complaint data released today by the Federal Trade Commission shows romance scams generated more reported losses than any other consumer fraud type reported to the agency in 2018.In the last three years, many more consumers have reported romance scams to the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel database, with much higher total reported losses from those scams, according to the Commission’s latest Consumer Protection Data Spotlight. The number of romance scams reported to the FTC has grown from 8,500 in 2015 to more than 21,000 in 2018, while reported losses to these scams more than quadrupled in recent years—from $33 million in 2015 to $143 million last year. For those who said they lost money to a romance scam, the median reported loss was $2,600, with those…

FTC Announces New Date for Workshop Examining Online Event Ticket Sales

Event will now be held on June 11, 2019
The Federal Trade Commission has announced it is pushing back until June 11, 2019, the date of a workshop aimed at examining consumer protection issues related to the online event ticket marketplace.The workshop, first announced in October, was originally set to take place in March, but has been delayed until June due to the extended government shutdown. The event will feature opening remarks by Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter and will bring together a variety of stakeholders, including industry representatives, consumer advocates, trade associations, academics, and government officials, to discuss problematic practices in the online event ticket marketplace.The workshop, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the Constitution Center, 400 7th St., SW, Washington, DC, and will be webcast live on the FTC’s website. Additional information about the event can be found on the event webpage.The Federal Trade…

FTC Completes Review of CAN-SPAM Rule

The Federal Trade Commission announced today that it has completed its first review of the CAN-SPAM Rule, which establishes requirements for commercial e-mail messages and gives recipients the right to opt out of receiving them. The Commission voted to keep the Rule with no changes.The Rule requires that a commercial e-mail contain accurate header and subject lines, identify itself as an advertisement, include a valid physical address, and offer recipients a way to opt out of future messages. As part of its regular, systematic review of all its rules and guides, the FTC in June 2017 sought public comment on the Rule, including whether it is still needed, the costs and benefits of the Rule, and whether changes needed to be made to the Rule in response to technological and economic developments. The FTC also sought comment on three specific issues related to the CAN-SPAM Rule, including whether the Commission…

FTC & FDA issue warning letters to supplement sellers

Ads abound for products that claim to treat or prevent serious health conditions. Unfortunately, these products often are unproven and useless. Sometimes the ads even make false promises for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia – conditions for which science has no cure.
This week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued warning letters to certain companies making unproven claims that their products can treat or cure Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions. Many of these products are sold on websites and social media platforms – and called “dietary supplements” or natural remedies. But that doesn’t mean they are necessarily safe.
Products that claim to do it all often do nothing. So even though you want to believe the promises, be skeptical, and avoid products that claim to cure incurable conditions or are promoted with phrases like “scientific breakthrough,” “ancient remedy,” or “miraculous cure.”
The reality is that phony miracle products…

FTC Returns Almost $3.5 Million to Consumers Who Bought Deceptively Marketed “Weight-Loss” Supplements from Direct Alternatives and Original Organics, LLC

Money obtained by FTC and Maine Attorney General in two related cases
The Federal Trade Commission is mailing 104,612 checks totaling nearly $3.5 million to people who bought weight-loss supplements marketed by Maine-based sellers Direct Alternatives and Original Organics, LLC. Affected consumers will receive their refund checks, which average $33.12, within the next week. The FTC and the Maine Attorney General’s Office obtained the money in the settlement of two related cases against these sellers and a marketing company that created and disseminated advertisements for Direct Alternative’s weight-loss products.In February 2016, the agencies charged Direct Alternatives, Original Organics, LLC, and their owners, Anthony Dill and his wife Staci Dill, with violations of the FTC Act and Maine consumer protection laws in connection with the promotion and sale of weight-loss supplements AF Plus and Final Trim. The complaint alleged that between 2012 and 2016, the defendants’ sales of the supplements totaled more…

FTC Approves Application from Praxair and Linde for Sale of an Industrial Gases Plant to Celanese Ltd.

The Federal Trade Commission has approved an application from industrial gas suppliers Praxair and Linde to divest a hydrogen gas and carbon monoxide gas plant to Celanese Ltd. The divestiture of the plant is required under the FTC’s October 22, 2018 proposed order, which requires Praxair and Linde to divest certain industrial gases assets to settle charges that the $80 billion merger of Praxair and Linde would violate federal antitrust law.The application proposes that Celanese Ltd. will acquire Linde’s hydrogen gas and carbon monoxide gas plant in Clear Lake, Texas. The Commission vote to approve the application was 4-0-1 (Commissioner Chopra abstaining). (FTC File No. 171 0068. The staff contact is Eric Rohlck, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2681.)The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about how competition benefits consumers or file an antitrust complaint. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us…

FTC to Send Refund Checks to Consumers who Lost Money to Tech Support Scam

The Federal Trade Commission is sending refund checks to people deceived by the operators of an alleged tech support scheme.The refunds stem from a settlement the FTC and the State of Alabama reached last year with Troth Solutions over allegations that the defendants tricked people into believing their computers were infected with viruses and malware, and then charged them hundreds of dollars for unnecessary repairs. According to the complaint, the defendants used phone calls and online ads resembling security alerts from major technology companies to trick people into contacting the defendants and providing access to the consumers’ computers. The defendants then claimed consumers’ computers were infected with viruses, hacked, or experiencing other problems. The scheme’s operators used high-pressure tactics to persuade consumers to pay hundreds of dollars for unnecessary computer repair services, service plans, anti-virus protection or software, and other products and services.As part of the settlement, the FTC is…

FTC and FDA Send Warning Letters to Companies Selling Dietary Supplements Claiming to Treat Alzheimer’s Disease and Remediate or Cure Other Serious Illnesses Such as Parkinson’s, Heart Disease, and Cancer

As part of its ongoing efforts to ensure that dietary supplements and other health-related products are advertised truthfully, and that efficacy claims made for such products are supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence, the Federal Trade Commission has joined the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in sending three warning letters to companies based in Florida, South Carolina, and New Mexico.As detailed in the letters sent to Gold Crown Natural Products, TEK Naturals, and Pure Nootropics, LLC, the Commission has reviewed the companies’ advertisements and believes they may violate the FTC Act by making false or unsubstantiated health claims. Specifically, the FTC is warning about advertisements claiming to treat Alzheimer’s and remediate or cure other serious illnesses including Parkinson’s, heart disease, and cancer.For example, the letter to Gold Crown Natural Products questions claims made for its Melatonin supplements and three other supplements. Among others, the FTC questions the claim,…

FTC halts another phantom debt collection scheme

Getting a call about a debt you don’t owe – or even recognize – can be annoying. It can be downright scary when the caller claims to be a lawyer and threatens legal action if you don’t pay.
Such are the ploys of phantom debt collectors: lies, harassment, intimidation and threats.
Today, the FTC filed a lawsuit against Global Asset Financial Services Group (GAFS) and fifteen related defendants for operating a fake debt collection scheme. The FTC’s complaint says that GAFS employees claimed to be lawyers or affiliated with law firms. In truth, they were not lawyers and had no authority to collect debts.
The fraudulent scheme bilked millions of dollars from consumers for debts they did not owe. At the FTC’s request, a federal court has temporarily halted the operation and frozen its assets. This action is part of the FTC’s continuing crackdown on abusive and phantom debt collectors.
Don’t let debt collectors…