Blog Entry July 2012
“I just want to say one word to you, Benjamin. Plastics.”
During the cocktail party scene in the classic movie “The Graduate,” that’s the advice Ben Braddock got for mapping out his future. It wasn’t such a bad tip after all since so much stuff — including the pocket money we use for day-to-day expenditures — has gone plastic.
Identity theft has been the top complaint that consumers have reported to the FTC for 12 years in a row. We’ve also heard from companies that ID theft can cause huge headaches in the form of unauthorized charges, worthless receivables, and customer service snafus. That’s why business executives should be at the forefront in the drive for identity protection.
It’s not an easy time to be a timeshare owner. And the last thing they need is a company making false promises that corporate buyers and renters are clamoring for their timeshares — if owners will just pony up a “registration fee” between $500 and $2,000. According to a lawsuit filed by the FTC and Florida AG, that’s what was going on with an Orlando-based outfit called Information Management Forum.
HR could use better PR. Say "human resources" and some people think of Dunder Mifflin’s joy-deficient Toby Flenderson from "The Office." But you know better and appreciate the job your HR team does to keep your organization up and running. They're also a critical line of defense between your company and the onslaught of data thieves and scammers. The BCP Business Center has a special page to make their job a little easier.
People who signed up with the Jacksonville-based Alcoholism Cure Corporation were promised a “scientifically proven” program that “cures alcoholism while allowing alcoholics to drink socially.” What they got was a shopping list, instructions to take handfuls of unproven supplements, and a particularly troubling surprise when they tried to cancel their membership.
Remember the character from the Superman comic books who was the exact opposite of the Man of Steel? He said no when he meant yes, his alter ego went by the name "Kent Clark," and was part of the Injustice League of America. It made for fun reading, but you wouldn’t want him crafting your ad claims.
Consumer complaints about robocalls have multiplied. New technologies make it cheaper to send pre-recorded messages and con artists have gotten trickier about obscuring the origin of their calls. But businesses shouldn’t be tempted to take telemarketing short-cuts because the FTC is cracking down on illegal robocalls.
Never underestimate the creativity of marketers attempting to separate cash-strapped consumers from their last dollar. And never underestimate the FTC’s resolve to protect people from deception in tough economic times. Those are just two points to take from recent FTC law enforcement actions.