FOR THE CONSUMER
The FTC's monthly newsletter for the Congressional community
It's the news you—and your constituents—can use.
Volume 4 – Number 5
IN THIS ISSUE
FATHER's DAY E-CARD. Need a gift for the man who has everything? How about some "Phish 'n Tips"? Check out the FTC's new Father's Day e-card in English and Spanish: www.ftc.gov/dad and www.ftc.gov/padre. You can pass it on to dads, grandads, uncles, brothers and friends via the SEND TO A FRIEND button. And feel free to forward it to consumer groups, law enforcement agencies, schools, community organizations, and anyone else who might be interested. You can even add a button or banner to your website for visitors to click and send the e-card. Don't let Dad flounder or get "hooked" by a phishing scam -- give him a "fin-tastic" Father's Day.
DISPOSAL RULE. A new federal rule -- known as the Disposal Rule -- requires businesses and individuals to take appropriate measures to dispose of consumers' sensitive information derived from consumer reports. The rule covers entities such as consumer reporting companies, lenders, insurers, employers, landlords, government agencies, mortgage brokers and car dealers as well as attorneys, private investigators, debt collectors and people who employ nannies. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2005/06/disposal.shtm
NIGHT OF THE LIVING SPAM -- ZOMBIES. The FTC has launched a campaign to educate Internet Service Providers against spam "zombies." The agency is working with 35 government partners in 20 countries to prevent computers from being hijacked and turned into "zombies" that unwittingly send spam. Routing spam through "zombies" hides its origins -- and the real spammers. Consumers often don't discover that their computers have been overtaken and that they've been sending spam. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2005/05/zombies.shtm
HISPANIC INITIATIVE. The FTC, with state and local officials, announced 55 law enforcement actions as part of an ongoing collaborative campaign to stop frauds exploiting Hispanics. The actions involve prize-promotion scams, purported weight-loss supplements, immigration fraud, bogus high school diplomas, and mortgage fraud. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2005/05/hispinit.htm
The FTC and HHS will hold a workshop on marketing, self-regulation and childhood obesity on July 14 and 15, at the Commission's Conference Center, 601 New Jersey Ave., NW, Washington, DC. The workshop will bring together food and beverage companies, medical and nutrition experts, media and entertainment companies, consumer groups, and advertising specialists to discuss the marketing of food and beverages to children and initiatives to educate children and parents about nutrition. The workshop is free and open to the public, but space is limited. Pre-registration is encouraged, but not required. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2005/05/childobese.shtm
TOWN HALLS. The August recess is right around the corner. It's the perfect time for visiting constituents at town hall meetings, community events, and county fairs. To help your constituents spot and avoid fraud, the FTC has consumer education materials on a broad range of topics. Magnets and fans -- bearing helpful consumer tips -- are always popular. To learn more about resources for a town hall meeting on consumer issues, or to get materials for constituent meetings, contact Derick Rill at email@example.com.
CAN-SPAM. The FTC seeks public comments on aspects of the CAN-SPAM Act, specifically to define the term “person” and to clarify these points: (1) the definition of “sender” and its relation to the Act's “opt-out” requirements; (2) that Post Office boxes and private mailboxes can be "valid physical postal addresses"; (3) the time a sender may take before honoring a recipient's opt-out request; and (4) what may or may not be required to opt out validly. Comments must be received by June 27, 2005. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2005/05/canspamfrn.shtm
COPPA review. The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) requires the FTC to review the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule five years after its effective date. As part of that review, the FTC is seeking public comment on the Rule's costs and benefits, and whether it should be modified or eliminated. The FTC also is seeking comment on the Rule's sliding scale approach to obtaining parental consent, which takes into account how information gathered from children will be used. Comments are due by June 27, 2005. Press release: www.ftc.gov/opa/2005/04/coppacomments.shtm
NEW & REVISED CONSUMER EDUCATION
BUILDING A BETTER CREDIT REPORT. Tells consumers how they can legally improve their credit report, deal with debt, spot credit-related scams, and more. www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre03.shtm
CREDIT REPAIR: SELF-HELP MAY BE BEST. Explains how consumers can improve their credit worthiness and lists legitimate resources for low or no-cost help. www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre13.shtm
66 WAYS TO SAVE MONEY. Produced by the Consumer Literacy Consortium (CLC), this brochure tells consumers how to save money on, for example, cars, insurance, checking accounts, utilities and more. The FTC is a member of the CLC, a group of 20 federal agencies, corporate groups, and national non-profits. www.consumerfed.org/66ways.pdf#page=6
TIP OF THE MONTH -- Don't Be Pump "Fuelish"
The price of gasoline doesn' have to bust your budget or ruin your summer driving plans. The FTC suggests these tips to get the best mileage from your gas purchases:
- Drive more efficiently by staying within posted speed limits, combining errands, and removing excess weight from your trunk.
- Maintain your car by keeping the engine tuned, the tires properly inflated and aligned, and the air filters replaced regularly.
- Use the octane level recommended in your owners' manual.
- Be skeptical of claims for "gas-saving" gadgets."
- Consider alternative fuels and vehicles.
For more information, visit: www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt064.shtm
NUMBERS TO KNOW
FTC'S OFFICE OF CONGRESSIONAL RELATIONS: 202-326-2195.
Check out the CONGRESSIONAL RESOURCES portion of our Web site at www.ftc.gov/ftc/congress.shtm No password needed to access.
To order free FTC consumer information, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, Member or Committee affiliation, and mailing address.
To file a fraud complaint, go to www.ftc.gov or call FTC's toll-free line 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).
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