DeVry agrees to pay $100 million to settle FTC charges

gavel-2-1236453DeVry University and its parent company has agreed to a $100 million settlement after a Federal Trade Commission lawsuit alleged they misled prospective students with advertisements that touted high employment success rates and income levels upon graduating. Continue reading

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Two Credit Score Agencies Forfeit Fees to the Government

As a result of deceptive marketing practices, two of the three biggest credit reporting agencies in the U.S. agree to repay consumers more than $17.6 million.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Equifax and TransUnion advertised their credit scores programs inaccurately, overstating the potential usefulness. The two companies promised customers their credit score programs were equivalent to credit scores banks provide customers; however, according to the CFFB, banks and lenders tend to use a variety of credit scores, thus no rating is universally acceptable.

The two companies also falsely advertised subscription services as “free” or only costing $1. Instead, services cost $16 monthly, unless the customer carefully read the fine print and opted-out of the contract.

As a part of the CFFB settlement agreement with Equifax and TransUnion, the companies will change their marketing practices to include more transparency in products/services descriptions and less complex contracts that make it easier for customers to opt-out of reoccurring monthly payments.

Customers looking to pull their credit reports can visit annualcreditreport.com, the only authorized source under federal law for free annual credit reports.

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Scam alert: Fake FTC email pops up again

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Just when you thought you’d never see a scam again, it pops right back up. That’s what the Federal Trade Commission is saying about a scam they first talked about in 2015.

The scam works like this. Continue reading

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US agency launches investigation into Dodge Durango SUVs and Ram pickups

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An estimated one million Fiat Chrysler produced vehicles are under investigation after reports of vehicles rolling away when consumers shifted their transmission to park. Continue reading

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Cuisinart announces recall of 8 million food processors

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Cuisinart has announced a recall of about 8 million of its food processors after Conair, the company’s owner, received 69 reports of consumers finding broken pieces of the blade in processed food, including 30 reports of mouth lacerations or tooth injuries. Continue reading

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Ways to secure your IoT devices

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It seems like nowadays everything is connected to the internet. Whether it’s your phone, television, home appliances, and even your car. While before it may have been a crazy thought to have these devices connected online, it’s no longer a strange thing.

But with this connectivity comes vulnerability. Continue reading

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BBB Investigation: Barn construction company customers allege losing thousands

 

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COLLEGE STATION, TexasA local College Station barn builder is facing allegations from customers who claim they paid thousands of dollars upfront and never had their projects completed. The builder is also facing civil lawsuits in two Texas counties.

According to complaints filed with BBB against the business, consumers allege Lonestar Barn Company has yet to complete promised projects. Continue reading

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Giving Tuesday Tips

Black Friday is over, Cyber Monday is wrapping up, and tomorrow on #GivingTuesday (November 29) many will consider how to give back to their local charities. This Tuesday and during the entire Holiday Season, BBB urges donors to #GiveWisely by avoiding scams and supporting trustworthy charities. Check out our #GivingTuesday Tips so you can give with confidence:

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BBB Historian tricked into buying phony MLB jersey

 

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“If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.”

It’s these words John Etchieson, current BBB Historian and former President and CEO of BBB serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin, learned the hard way. It all started when he saw an advertisement on his social media account for a Major League Baseball jersey that he couldn’t pass up.

“I encountered an ad on my Facebook page that advertised an end of the season clearance sale of an official MLB jersey for 80 percent off,” Etchieson said.

Not wanting to miss the clearance sale, Etchieson purchased the advertised jersey. Ten days later, he became suspicious when the payment had been processed, but the jersey had not arrived.

“I had not received my jersey and looked at my bank account records and discovered payments had been made to a firm located in China,” Etchieson said.

Etchieson then talked with someone at the official MLB shop and learned that MLB merchandise is only shipped from a postal addresses in the United States. He also found out from the representatives that he wasn’t alone in this scam.

“’The representative said it happens frequently that the official MLB logo is stolen and used to trick unsuspecting consumers,” Etchieson said.

Etchieson also stated that the experience was something he will learn from, and that he will only buy MLB products using the official retailer. 

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Telemarketing scammers get sued by FTC for promising free money

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The Federal Trade Commission announced they are suing a Phoenix-based telemarketing company that allegedly tricked consumers out of millions of dollars.

According to the FTC, different business names  like Federal Government Grant Assistance Center, US Federal Grant Department, Amazon.com Associates Program, and Amazon Affiliate Program were used to trick seniors, veterans, and debt-laden consumers into believing they could gain thousands of dollars by selling them a money-making opportunity supposedly linked to Amazon.com, and luring them with a phony grants program.

In their complaint, the FTC claims the defendants’ telemarketers falsely told people they represent Amazon and offered, for hundreds or thousands of dollars, to create a website for them linked to Amazon.com. They claimed it would earn them thousands of dollars every month in commissions for sales via the website.

They also falsely offered to advertise the consumer’s website and use search engine optimization to drive customers to it.

Additionally, the telemarketers asked for thousands of dollars upfront to people while claiming to represent the government and falsely told them they can get government grants to help pay for home repairs, medical costs, and paying down debt.

For those people who did pay the, the FTC says they never received any grants or commissions and the defendants ignored their requests for refunds.

A federal court has temporarily halted the operation. The federal agency is looking to end the alleged illegal practices and obtain money back to the consumers.

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