Google Inc. has agreed to pay $22.5
to settle FTC charges that it misled users of Apple's Safari internet browser,
violating an earlier settlement with the FTC. That’s a record civil penalty
against a single defendant for an FTC order violation. Google had said it
wouldn’t put tracking “cookies” on Safari users’ computers if they used the
browser’s default settings, but according to the FTC, the company circumvented
Safari’s default cookie-blocking setting, and did indeed place the tracking
cookies on many computers. A tracking cookie enables an advertising network to
collect information about someone’s web browsing, and use it to serve up ads
related to their interests. For more, read Milking Cookies: The
FTC’s $22.5 Million Settlement with Google.
HireRight Solutions, Inc. will pay a $2.6 million
penalty for alleged violations of the Fair
Credit Reporting Act that led to people being denied employment or
employment-related benefits. According to the FTC, HireRight Solutions, which
provides background reports on prospective and current employees to employers nationwide,
failed to take reasonable steps to ensure that information in the reports was
current and reflected updates, like the expungement of criminal records. In
addition, the FTC says, HireRight Solutions' failures allowed obviously
inaccurate information — many times from another person’s record — to appear in
a report, or for the same criminal offense to appear in the same report many
and the Florida Attorney General have won a court judgment of more than
$700,000 against a company that allegedly targeted alcoholics. According to the FTC, Alcoholism
Cure Corporation and Robert Douglas Krotzer, its owner, tricked people
into paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for a program in which the company’s “team of doctors” supposedly
created customized, low-cost, and permanent alcoholism cures that would allow
people to “drink socially.” In reality, the FTC says, the program prescribed
ineffective dietary supplements, and
the company threatened to publicly reveal people’s alcoholism when they tried
to cancel their memberships. The defendants also charged people’s
accounts fees from $9,000 to $20,000 without authorization, the FTC alleged.
has stopped a Dominican mortgage assistance scam that allegedly defrauded Spanish-speaking homeowners across
the U.S. of more than $2 million. According to the FTC, the defendants, who pretended to be in Chicago, promised
to lower people’s monthly mortgage payments dramatically in exchange for a
hefty fee. Speaking in Spanish and targeting homeowners behind on their
payments or facing foreclosure, the telemarketers would empathize about the
tough economy and claim to be approved by the homeowner’s lenders or the
government, the FTC said. Even after paying fees of $995 to $1,500, few
homeowners got a loan modification, the FTC alleged, and any who did could have
gotten it for free.
settle FTC charges that its recent acquisitions of two cardiology
groups reduced competition in Reno,
the largest provider of acute care hospital services in northern Nevada will
release its staff cardiologists from "non-compete" contract clauses.
According to the FTC, 88 percent of the cardiologists practicing in the Reno
area are affiliated with Renown Health. The proposed order would allow
cardiologists working for Renown Health to seek other employment, including
positions with other hospitals in the Reno area.
matter how big or small, all companies must abide by FTC orders against them
and keep their privacy promises to consumers, or they will end up paying many
times what it would have cost to comply in the first place."
Leibowitz, FTC Chairman
The FTC has told a Senate
Judiciary subcommittee that it is looking
at the benefits of facial recognition technologies to consumers. The
technologies — from the simple detection of a face in an image to the biometric
analysis of facial images to match one face to another or determine someone’s demographic
characteristics — are used in a variety of contexts, including digital signs,
mobile applications, and social networks. FTC staff will recommend best
practices for using the technologies in a way that respects consumer privacy.
Reebok Toning Shoes: More
than 300,000 people who bought Reebok toning shoes and apparel are getting
refunds as part of the FTC’s $25 million
settlement with the company for alleged deceptive advertising. Reebok claimed its
shoes would strengthen and tone leg and buttock muscles more than regular
Phony Prize Money: About 500 people allegedly tricked into
paying to collect a fake prize in a multi-million-dollar sweepstakes are sharing $183,000 in refunds.
Mortgage Modification Scam: More than $723,000 is headed to 13,000 people allegedly deceived
by a company that falsely claimed it would negotiate with their lenders to
modify their mortgages.
Money-making Scam: The FTC is sending 9,000 refund checks totaling more than
$850,000 to people who paid for promises that they could earn a big income with
the "Stefanchik Program" to buy and sell privately held promissory
notes and mortgages.
IN OTHER NEWS:
- Have you bought vitamins featuring Disney or Marvel
Hero characters for your kids? You may be due a refund: http://go.usa.gov/7Bi
- You have rights when
you apply for a job and the potential employer buys your background report.
Watch this video: http://go.usa.gov/7B3
the Supreme Court's Affordable Care Act ruling, scammers are out to trick
people into revealing personal information: http://go.usa.gov/7BO