Texas AG: 39,000 Texans eligible for restitution in Western Union settlement

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced on Tuesday that 39,000 Texans would be eligible for refunds after a $5 million settlement was reached with Western Union.

The settlement stemmed from an investigation into complaints filed by customers who used the company’s service to wire transfer money to third parties who were involved in scams.

Western Union agreed to pay $586 million to a fund that the U.S. Department of Justice will administer to provide refunds to those affected, which include the 39,000 Texans.

“This settlement serves as a cautionary tale that scam artists are always looking for new ways to fool people into wiring them money, including schemes purportedly involving family members, romantic interests, lotteries and contests,” Attorney General Paxton said.

The company also agreed to anti-fraud measures which include:

  • Anti-fraud warnings on forms that consumers use to wire money;
  • Mandatory and appropriate training and education for Western Union’s agents about fraud-induced wire transfers;
  • Heightened anti-fraud procedures when warranted by circumstances such as increased fraud complaints;
  • Due diligence checks on Western Union agents who process money transfers;
  • Monitoring of Western Union agent activity related to prevention of fraud-induced money transfers; and
  • Prompt and appropriate disciplinary action against Western Union agents who fail to follow required protocols concerning anti-fraud measures.
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HP expands battery recall

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HP, Inc is recalling around 101,000 batteries due to potential burn and fire hazards after previously recalling 41,000 batteries last June.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the lithium-ion batteries contain  Panasonic cells that are used in HP notebook computers and were shipped between March 2013 and October of last year. The batteries are compatible with HP, Compaq, HP ProBook, HP ENVY, Compaq Presario, and HP Pavilion notebook computers.

CPSC has advised customers to immediately stop using the recalled batteries, remove them from the notebook computers and contact HP for a free replacement battery.  Until a replacement battery is received, customers should use the notebook computer by plugging it into AC power only.

For more information on the recall, click here.

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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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