You get an email from a friend, with a link and a message: “Hi! Oprah says it’s excellent!” But did your friend really send this message? And what’s so excellent?
Millions of people got emails like this one, but not from their friends. Instead, according to the FTC, marketers hired by Sale Slash sent spam emails from hacked email and social media accounts. Why? To trick people into thinking the messages came from a friend. And, of course, to sell stuff.
Look at the label on a bottle of diet pills or another weight loss product. What ingredients do you see? Unfortunately, you might not be seeing the whole picture.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found hidden drugs and chemicals in hundreds of over-the-counter dietary supplements — even in so-called “natural” diet products. The FDA’s website offers a running list of tainted weight loss products, along with a helpful video: Being Fooled by Empty Diet Promises.
Every spring, the FTC issues its Annual Highlights for the previous year. It’s like a corporate annual report, summarizing what we did and how we did it. Interested in our mission to protect consumers? Here are some of 2014’s highlights.
Acting Assistant Director, Division of Consumer and Business Education
Once upon a time, a long time ago, a company called Lane Labs marketed products made out of shark cartilage, claiming they could treat and cure cancer. Only, not so much. The FTC sued the company in 2000, they settled, and paid a hefty sum. The court also barred them from making claims about the health benefits of a product unless they had scientific evidence to support those claims.
When National Consumer Protection Week starts on Sunday, it will mark the 17th year of a growing partnership. NCPW now includes 89 federal, state and local agencies and non-profits working together to connect people with the best consumer education resources.
At NCPW.gov, you’ll find resources to help you manage your money, handle credit and debt, stay safe online, avoid identity theft, and more. Read the latest news from consumer protection experts on our blog; share videos, articles, audio tips, and blog posts; order free resources; or file a complaint when you spot a scam. You’ll also get ideas on how to get involved so you can help us spread the word about consumer protection.
Apps can provide hours of entertainment, keep you organized, and help you learn something new. Indeed, apps can be helpful, as long as they provide accurate information. But if you’re trying to analyze a serious medical condition with an app — like whether that mole on your back might be a sign of melanoma — talk with your doctor or another reliable medical professional first. As recent FTC cases show, some health apps make claims they can’t back up.
Imagine you’re sitting on the patio sipping a cold, refreshing drink, or you’re watching your kid’s afternoon game. Then, without warning, those annoying, unwelcome guests swoop in and ruin the fun. Come on, now, I don’t mean your in-laws! I’m talking about those pesky mosquitoes, buzzing around and bugging everyone in sight. We’ve all been there, right?
Have you heard about green coffee bean extract? You might have seen seemingly trustworthy celebrities touting these “magic” weight loss pills on TV. Or maybe you saw ads online or displays in stores promoting green coffee bean extract — “As Seen on TV.” But if you spend your money on a product that promises miraculous weight loss without diet or exercise, the only thing you’ll lose is your money.
Imagine if you could permanently improve your child’s attention, memory, school performance, and behavior. Well, that’s just what Focus Education claimed its Jungle Rangers computer game could do - with as little as 12 hours of play.
When ads for products don’t tell the truth, you can bet the FTC will take notice.
Today, the FTC brought a case against NourishLife, a company that allegedly made unsupported and false claims about its Speak line of children’s supplements. According to the complaint, the company advertised that Speak products were clinically proven to support “normal and healthy speech development” for kids — including kids with verbal apraxia or those with autism spectrum disorder. The truth, the FTC says, is that the company didn’t have the proper scientific evidence to back up its claims.