Who’s mining the store? 9 top takeaways, legislative recommendations, and some straight talk for industry from the FTC’s data broker report

Type “big data” into a search engine and you’ll get more than 300 million results.  Consider the amount of personal information actually in the hands of data brokers and add a string of zeroes to that.  There are lots of valid purposes for using that data – verifying identity and detecting fraud, to name just two – but let’s face it:  It’s an industry that operates primarily behind closed doors.  To shed light on what’s going on,

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When privacy promises head to bankruptcy court

So a company is going great guns and collects massive amounts of personal information from consumers with the express promise it won’t share it with third parties.  Stuff happens and the company finds itself in Bankruptcy Court.  If you followed the FTC action in Toysmart or read the letters regarding Borders and

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Once more into the breach: What eBay buyers and sellers need to know

As news about the eBay hack hits the media, you may be wondering what you can do to protect yourself from fraud.  If your small business has a presence on eBay – or even if you’re just an occasional buyer or seller – consider taking these six steps.

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What’s a 4-letter word for “FTC advice for derelict debt collectors”?

We like solving puzzles – from crosswords and anagrams to that byzantine conspiracy wall constructed by Claire Danes' character on "Homeland."  So it doesn't faze FTC staff when companies use complicated corporate structures to hide what they're up to.  Those skills came in handy in unraveling how debt collector Asset & Capital Management Group and its host of related businesses were violating Section 5 of the FTC Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.  The prize for untangling this puzzle:

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Not another lawyer joke

We try to keep a sense of humor about lawyer jokes, but given the harm to consumers, it's no laughing matter when debt collectors mimic attorneys.  The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the FTC Act establish that it's illegal for debt collectors to falsely claim to be attorneys or to suggest a bogus connection to law enforcement.  An FTC settlement with an outfit called Goldman Schwartz and related companies puts the whole kit and

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