Confessions of a Quackbuster

This blog deals with healthcare consumer protection, and is therefore about quackery, healthfraud, chiropractic, and other forms of so-Called "Alternative" Medicine (sCAM).

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Cross Border Fraud - FTC Press Room

Keep an eye on this website for the latest news:

Canadian Scammers Permanently Banned from Telemarketing Three Ontario, Canada-based telemarketing companies and their principals have been permanently banned from engaging in telemarketing in the future under a settlement with the FTC. The companies were charged with duping consumers into revealing their bank account information and then debiting hundreds of dollars from their accounts. The settlement also provides that accounts with companies that processed the debits will be turned over to the FTC for consumer redress.[TXT]

FTC Targets Scams Aimed at Hispanics Advancing its fight against scams targeting the Hispanic community, the FTC announced six law enforcement actions during the Hispanic Law Enforcement and outreach Forum in Phoenix, Arizona.[TXT]

Cross Border Con Artist Ordered to Pay $2.9 Million The operator of a Canadian business directory scam, Terrence Croteau, has been ordered to pay $2.9 million to the FTC in consumer redress. Croteau had been previously charged with scamming small businesses and charities in the United States out of millions of dollars by billing them for business directory services they did not order or authorize.[TXT]

International Competition Network Conference Promotes Convergence Among World’s Antitrust Enforcers The International Competition Network (ICN) held its fourth annual conference in June in Bonn, Germany. The ICN includes almost every competition agency in the world, and conference attendees included more than 400 representatives of 80 competition agencies and competition experts from around the world. At the conference, members approved recommendations designed to improve merger review processes, commended the success of ICN’s anti-cartel work, and showcased the significant progress member jurisdictions have made in implementing ICN recommendations. The Federal Trade Commission was represented by Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras, as well as several staff members.[TXT]

FTC, Partners Launch Campaign Against Spam “Zombies” The FTC and 35 government partners announced “Operation Spam Zombies,” an international campaign to educate Internet Service Providers about hijacked, or “zombie,” computers through which spammers route their e-mails, hiding the true origin of the spam and flooding in-boxes. These FTC and its partners sent letters to more than 3,000 ISPs around the world, urging them to employ protective measures against this problem.[TXT]

FTC and Law Enforcement Partners Continue Targeting Scammers of Spanish-Speakers On the one-year anniversary of the FTC’s Hispanic law Enforcement and Outreach Initiative, the Federal Trade Commission and state and local law enforcement officials announced 55 law enforcement actions as part of their ongoing campaign to stop fraud exploiting the Hispanic community.[TXT]

FTC Submits Statement to Canadian Parliament On National Do Not Call Registry The Federal Trade Commission submitted a statement to the Committee on Industry, Natural Resources, Science, and Technology of the Canadian Parliament, providing an overview of the Telemarketing Sales Rule and Do Not Call Registry and calling the Registry “enormously successful.”[TXT]

Two Companies Deceptively Marketing Computer Systems To the Hispanic Community Settle FTC Charges The Federal Trade Commission reached settlements with companies it alleged had deceived Spanish-speaking consumers who had responded to ads for low-cost computer systems. The companies are Unicyber Technology, Inc., and Latin Shopping Network, and the cases are part of the FTC’s Hispanic Law Enforcement and Outreach Initiative. The settlements require the defendants to pay a total of $545,000 in redress to consumers.[TXT]

International Consumer Protection Group Meets in Scotland To Address Cross-Border Fraud Developments The Federal Trade Commission and members of the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN) met in Edinburgh, Scotland, on March 9-10 to discuss the progress of international efforts to combat cross-border fraud and explore new international initiatives to protect consumers around the world. ICPEN also announced the results of a February 2005 Internet spam sweep, while the FTC issued a report detailing cross-border fraud complaints for 2004.[TXT]

Canadian Defendants Charged with Bilking U.S. Consumers in Nationwide Business Directory Scam A federal district court in Washington has granted an order temporarily halting the business practices and freezing the assets of several Canadian-based companies and their principles. The Federal Trade Commission charged that these defendants targeted United States consumers in a scheme to trick them into paying for unordered business directories and listings in the directories. [TXT]

FTC, Spanish Data Protection Agency Working Together to Fight Illegal Spam The Federal Trade Commission and Spain’s Agencia Española de Protección de Datos (AEPD) have signed a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding to promote enhanced cooperation and information-sharing on spam enforcement activities.[TXT]

FTC, International Partners Unveil New Tool To Help Consumers Resolve Cross-border Problems The Federal Trade Commission and consumer agencies around the world have created a new tool to help consumers locate neutral providers of resolution services in their country to help them resolve cross-border disputes, known as the International Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Directory. The Directory was unveiled on, a joint website operated by consumer protection agencies in 20 countries.[TXT]

FTC Sues “Credit Repair” Companies The Federal Trade Commission has asked a federal district court to halt the illegal business practices of two companies targeting Spanish-speaking consumers. The FTC alleges that Florida-based Sunshine Credit Repair, Inc. and Service Brokers Associates, Inc. used Spanish and English-language advertising while making claims that they could improve consumers’ credit ratings, and that both companies violated the Credit Repair Organizations Act.[TXT]

FTC Signs Memorandum of Understanding with Mexican Consumer Protection Body The Federal Trade Commission and Mexico’s consumer protection agency, the Procuraduría Federal del Consumidor (Profeco) signed a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding in Washington, D.C., to promote enhanced cooperation in the fight against cross-border fraud.[TXT]

International Telemarketing Network Defendants Banned from Telemarketing The FTC announced settlements with officers of a company that directed an international telemarketing network that defrauded hundreds of thousands of consumers, the Assail Telemarketing Network. The FTC’s complaint alleged that the defendants operated their advance-fee credit card scam through a network of telemarketing boiler rooms, Canadian front men, and outsourced fulfillment and customer service centers, and that they maintained their own telemarketing boiler rooms in the United States, while also keeping contact boiler rooms in the United States, Canada, India, and the Caribbean. [TXT]

Marketers of Herbal Dietary Supplement Promoted in Chinese-Language Community Settle FTC Charges Sagee U.S.A. Group, Inc., a company that heavily advertised an herbal dietary supplement called “Sagee” to Chinese-language and Vietnamese-language communities, has settled FTC charges of making false and unsubstantiated claims for the product. The defendants are prohibited from making unsubstantiated efficacy claims for any dietary supplement, food, drug, device or service, and must pay $10,000 in redress.[TXT]

Swiss Company to Provide Refund to U.S. Consumers The Federal Trade Commission reached a settlement with a Switzerland-based company and its United States counterpart, which sold a variety of dietary supplements and devices that they alleged cured advanced and terminal cancers, AIDS, and other serious diseases. The FTC alleged that the defendants did not have a reasonable basis to substantiate the health and safety claims made in their ads.[TXT]

Court Finds Canadian Defendants Violated Asset Freeze, Orders Defendant Jailed A U.S. district court judge has held two Canadian corporations and their principal, defendants in a July 2004 FTC lawsuit, in contempt of court, and ordered that the individual be jailed for violating a court-ordered asset freeze.[TXT]

FTC Halts International Credit Card Scam The Federal Trade Commission has charged a telemarketing enterprise with boiler rooms in the United States, Canada, and India with defrauding consumers out of millions of dollars by offering them a “guaranteed” low-interest credit card for an advance fee, then failing to come through on its promise. A U.S. district court in Chicago issued a temporary restraining order halting the defendants’ illegal activities, freezing their assets, and appointing a receiver to take over their operation.[TXT]

Cross-Border Law Enforcement Yields $1.5 Million in Redress for U.S. Consumers Cross-Border cooperation between Canadian and U.S. law enforcers will provide approximately $1.5 million in redress for victims of four international lottery scams operated by telemarketers based in Canada that targeted consumers in the United States.[TXT]

Cross-Border Cops Crack down on Bogus Advance-Fee Loans, Advance-Fee Credit Card Schemes The Toronto Strategic Partnership, a group of law enforcement agencies in the United States and Canada that shares information and collaborates to combat cross-border fraud, has targeted a scam involving unfulfilled “loans” promoted by Ontario-based telemarketers who target U.S. citizens. The FTC also announced an advance-fee credit card case developed through work with the Partnership.[TXT]

Canadian Enterprise to Stop Selling Nonexistent Credit Cards A federal district court has ordered a Montreal-based enterprise to stop calling consumers and selling nonexistent credit cards. The Federal Trade Commission alleged that the defendants charged consumers an illegal advance fee of $299 and then never delivered the promised credit cards.[TXT]

FTC, International Agencies Adopt Action Plan on Spam Enforcement The Federal Trade Commission was one of nineteen agencies from fifteen countries to announce an Action Plan on Spam Enforcement, a plan to combat spam on a global level. The Action Plan calls for increased investigative training, the establishment of points of contact in each agency to respond quickly and effectively to enforcement inquiries, and the creation of an international working group on spam enforcement.[TXT]

Canadian Marketers of Fraudulent Weight-Loss Products Pay Redress to Settle FTC Charges A Canadian-based fulfillment company doing business as Beauty Visions Worldwide and SlimShop agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it made false and unsubstantiated weight-loss claims for two purported weight-loss patches, “Hydro-Gel Slim Patch” and “Slenderstrip.” [TXT]

FTC Continues Crackdown on Scams Aimed at Hispanic Consumers The Federal Trade Commission announced six law enforcement actions and a new consumer education campaign to attack consumer fraud targeting the Hispanic community. The companies named in the law enforcement actions were involved with the marketing of bogus weight-loss products and deceptive credit card offers, work-at-home scams, and a scam involving English-language and auto mechanic courses.[TXT]

U.S. and Canada Sign Agreement to Provide For Enhanced International Antitrust Cooperation Representatives of the United States and Canada signed an agreement enhancing the process under which they will refer cases of anticompetitive activities to each other’s authorities for appropriate law enforcement action. The agreement builds on the positive comity provision in the 1995 antitrust enforcement cooperation agreement between the U.S. and Canada, and provides for more efficient application of the two countries’ enforcement resources.[TXT]

FTC Crackdown on Illegal Canadian Lottery Sellers In several cases targeting cross border scams by telemarketers, the FTC has charged Canadian defendants with targeting seniors in the U.S. in illegal foreign lottery schemes. In one of the cases, a federal judge has ordered the defendants to pay $19 million in consumer redress.[TXT]

Bogus California Operation Targets Hispanic Consumers with Work at Home Opportunity Scam The FTC is seeking preliminary and permanent injunctive relief and consumer redress against a Los Angeles-based operation for allegedly perpetrating a work-at-home scam targeting Spanish-speaking consumers. The scammers allegedly place ads in Spanish-language newspapers and magazines, offering easy product assembly work with high earning potential. [TXT]

FTC Launches Consumer Fraud Awareness Campaign Targeted to Spanish Speakers The Federal Trade Commission is launching a Spanish-language consumer fraud awareness campaign, Mantente alerta contra el fraude. Infórmate con la FTC (“Be on the alert against fraud. Stay informed with the FTC”). The campaign will be a pilot in 11 U.S. cities, and will include a series of radio public service announcements and banner ads on Web sites geared to Latino audiences.[TXT]

Consumer Protection Cops Join Forces to Fight Illegal Spam: Six Agencies on Three Continents Will Leverage Law Enforcement Efforts The Federal Trade Commission and five law enforcement agencies from the United Kingdom and Australia announced a Memorandum of Understanding which provides a framework for international cooperation in fighting illegal spam. The agencies plan to promote wide attendance at an October 2004 meeting in London which will deal with spam enforcement issues.[TXT]

FTC Charges Canadian Defendants in Business Directory Scam The Federal Trade Commission has requested a temporary restraining order and asset freeze for Canadian defendants Pinacle Publishing and M.D.S.C. Publishing, which have been charged by the FTC with scamming small businesses and charities. The defendants allegedly bill consumers for business directory services they did not order or authorize and then refuse consumers’ requests to cancel the services. [TXT]

FTC Challenges Cross-Border Telemarketing Scam Targeting Elderly Americans The Federal Trade Commission has charged the Canadian telemarketer International Protection Center with operating a “consumer protection service” that promises to protect consumers against telemarketing and unauthorized bank activity, then perpetrates that very fraud. The FTC has obtained a temporary restraining order and an asset freeze against the defendants, who often pose as government or bank officials to dupe consumers into disclosing their bank account information. [TXT]

Fraudulent “Green Card” Lottery Operators Hit a Red Light with the FTC and Florida U.S. Attorney’s Office The Federal Trade Commission helped shut down the fraudulent “green card” lottery scam known as U.S.A. Immigration Services, operated by husband and wife team John Romano and Hoda M. Nofal. Both Romano and Nofal pled guilty and were sentenced to prison, and are required to pay $2.2 million in consumer redress.[TXT]

Canadian Telemarketer Banned from Selling Business Directories and Office Supplies The Federal Trade Commission announced a settlement in which Albert Mouyal, the remaining defendant cited by a FTC action with operating a bogus telemarketing boiler room in Canada, is banned from telemarketing various products in the United States. The defendant engaged in fraudulent business practices in the sale of business directories and non-durable office supplies. [TXT]

Canadian Telemarketers Settle FTC Charges The FTC has obtained a stipulated order including a permanent injunction against three companies operating as a single enterprise out of Canada. The defendants operated telemarketing boiler rooms allegedly selling bogus credit card protection services and advance-fee credit cards to U.S. consumers. [TXT]

FTC Continues Campaign to Halt Deceptive Advertisements & Other Scams Aimed at Hispanics As part of its Hispanic Law Enforcement and Outreach Initiative, the FTC settled lawsuits against both Paymentech Promotions, involving fraudulent work-at-home business opportunities, and BBCOA, involving fake international driving permits, bogus credit repair services, and sham debt termination programs. The FTC also announced a new law enforcement action against Kamarfu Enterprises, challenging false advertising for their 1-2-3 Diet Kit. All three of these companies have been known to target Hispanic consumers.[TXT]

FTC to Host Hispanic Outreach and Law Enforcement Event The FTC will host two workshops, “Hispanic Consumer Outreach Forum,” and “Hispanic Consumer Protection Law Enforcement Workshop,” on May 12-13, 2004. [TXT]

Court Order Closes the Book on Canadian Registry Scheme The FTC filed a stipulated final judgement and order against defendants Ambus, Sukhraj Singh Chana, and Garther Cheung, all based in Calgary, Canada. The FTC alleged that these defendants deceived consumers and businesses by claiming that someone in their office had already agreed to purchase a business directory and a listing in the directory and then failing to honor their 30-day refund policy . [TXT]

Federal Agencies Publish Spanish-Language Version of Consumer Brochure on Predatory Lending The federal Interagency Task Force on Fair Lending, composed of the Federal Trade Commission and nine other federal agencies, has published a Spanish-language version of a brochure that alerts consumers to potential borrowing pitfalls. The brochure cautions against “predatory lenders” and provides tips for getting the best financing deal possible. [TXT]

Third Annual International Competition Network Conference To Take Place in Seoul, Korea Two Federal Trade Commission officials will participate in the International Competition Network Conference on April 21 and 22, 2004. The conference will focus on the recent work of three ICN working groups: the Merger, the Capacity Building and Competition Policy Implementation, and the Antitrust Enforcement in Regulated Sectors Working Groups.[TXT]

International Competition Network Conference Adopts Recommended Practices to Improve Merger Review Processes, Establishes Cartel Working Group The International Competition Network’s conference in Seoul, South Korea, resulted in the adoption of four new Recommended Practices and the creation of a Cartel Working Group. The non-binding Recommended Practices have to do with the conduct of merger investigations, procedural fairness, confidentiality, and interagency coordination.[TXT]

FTC Announces Hispanic Law Enforcement and Outreach Initiative Designed to Stop Deceptive Advertising and Other Scams Aimed at Hispanic Consumers The Federal Trade Commission announced its Hispanic Law Enforcement and Outreach Initiative and announced seven matters against allegedly deceptive advertising aimed at Spanish-speaking consumers. The complaints filed were against Paymentech Promotions, American Dream Enterprises, Latin Hut, Heritage Health Products, Unicyber Technology, PT Resource Center, and Alternative Medical Technologies, Inc. The FTC is also hosting a Hispanic Consumer Outreach Forum on May 12, 2004 and a Law Enforcement Workshop on May 13, 2004.[TXT]

Canadian Company Settles FTC Charges that it Offered Bogus Cancer Therapy to U.S. CitizensThe Federal Trade Commission reached a settlement with British Colombia-based defendants in a bogus cancer cure lawsuit. The defendants allegedly claimed that their "Zoetron machine" could heat and kill cancer cells, and charged consumers $15,000 to $20,000 to receive the treatment in Tijuana, Mexico. [TXT]

FTC Halts Fraudulent Computer Business: Scam Targeted Spanish-speaking ConsumersThe Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint against California-based Unicyber Technology, Inc., Unicyber Gilboard, Inc., and Chul K. Han, charging these entities with deceiving Spanish-speaking consumers who were trying to order computer systems advertised on Spanish-language television. The FTC alleges that these consumers received boxes with only useless computer peripherals or salvaged and refurbished computer models, and that consumers were charged more than the price indicated in the advertisement.[TXT]

Consumer Protection Agencies from Around the World Meet in Finland to Combat Cross-Border Fraud The Federal Trade Commission and members of the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN) will meet in Finland on March 22, 2004, to discuss international efforts to combat cross-border fraud. Some of these efforts include the recent "Too Good to be True" internet sweep and ICPEN's alternative dispute resolution (ADR) pilot project.[TXT]

FTC and International Agencies Announce “Operation Secure Your Server” The Federal Trade Commission and 36 other agencies in 26 countries announced “Operation Secure Your Server,” an international effort to reduce the flow of unsolicited e-mail. This initiative urges organizations to close open relays and open proxies, servers that allow any computer to bounce or route e-mails through severs of other organizations, disguising the real origin of the e-mail.[TXT]

Court Bars Canadian Company from Misleading Consumers in Marketing of Internet Domain Name Services The Federal Trade Commission announced a stipulated final order against Domain Registry of America (DROA), based in Ontario, Canada. The FTC alleges that DROA sent mass-marketed direct mail to U.S. consumers, informing them their Internet domain registrations were expiring, thereby soliciting them to transfer their domain name from their current Internet domain name registrar to a company called eNom, Inc. DROA has been ordered to pay consumer redress and to comply with future monitoring by the FTC. [TXT]

Canadian Telemarketers Banned from Selling Business Directories and Office Supplies The Federal Trade Commission and Canada’s Competition Bureau reached a settlement with the Canadian telemarketing companies Hanson Publications, Inc., 9069-5057 Quebec, Inc, and Associated Merchant Paper Supplies, Inc, as well as Adrian P. Towning, and Charles Hamouth. The defendants allegedly used deceptive scripts to mislead U.S. consumers to believe that their business had a prior, ongoing relationship with them, and to convince the consumers to accept delivery of and make payments for business directories and paper and ink supplies for credit card machines.[TXT]

FTC Urges Consumers to Be Wary of “El Gordo” Spanish Lottery Scam The Federal Trade Commission is urging consumers to beware of a foreign lottery scam that adopts the name of Spain’s largest lottery prize, “El Gordo,” to con consumers out of considerable sums of money. Consumers in the United States may receive phony letters claiming that they have won a large cash prize, but must pay a sum that will go towards taxes, bank costs, and processing fees before the prize can be claimed. The FTC also reminds U.S. consumers that participating in a foreign lottery is illegal.[TXT]

Court Order Puts Brakes on International License Markets The Federal Trade Commission announced a stipulated final judgment against Mountain View Systems, Ltd., Wheelie International, Ltd., S.C. Hyacinth S.R.L, Jason Abraham, Caroline Shallon, and Charles Fogel for selling fake international driver’s permits (IDPs) and related materials. The FTC alleges that the defendants misrepresented that their IDPs enabled consumers to drive legally in the United States and abroad and placed consumers, including immigrants and those with limited English proficiency, at risk of legal action or arrest if caught driving with only these documents and no valid license.[TXT]

FTC Advises Customers of USA Immigration Services to Re-Register for 2003 State Department ‘Green Card’ Lottery The Federal Trade Commission obtained a temporary restraining order and asset freeze against USA Immigration Services for misleading prospective immigrants into believing that the company was affiliated with the U.S. government, and, for a fee, could help consumers register through the diversity visa (DV) lottery for a chance to apply for a green card. Entering the DV lottery is free and individuals can enter on their own at the State Department’s web site.[TXT]

Cross-Border Con: FTC and Canadian Authorities Shut Down Telemarketers Calling Foreign Lottery “Winners” The Federal Trade Commission received a temporary restraining order against telemarketing operators based in Vancouver, British Columbia, doing business as West Star and Newport Group. According to the FTC, these companies called primarily elderly U.S. consumers and told them they had won a foreign lottery but must pay a variety of up-front fees to collect their winnings, but few consumers received any money.[TXT]

Court Orders Canadian Enterprise to Stop Calling U.S. Consumers and Selling Nonexistent Credit Cards The Federal Trade Commission charged in federal court that a Montreal enterprise known as Kinito has been calling U.S. consumers with poor credit histories, promising major credit cards and charging as much as $299 without ever delivering the cards. Often consumers receive only packets of promotional materials and are unable to obtain refunds from Kinito.[TXT]

Consumer Protection Agencies Meet in Helsinki to Share Investigative Techniques and Combat Cross-Border Fraud At a two-day meeting being held in Helsinki, Finland, the Federal Trade Commission and members of the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN) announced several initiatives to combat cross-border fraud. In addition, the network unveiled new developments for its website, a pilot project that gives consumers who visit the website the option of having their cross-border complaint referred to a provider of alternative dispute resolution (or ADR) services, and it announced that the website is now available in Korean.[TXT]

FTC and the Irish Director of Consumer Affairs Agree to Enhance Cooperation on Consumer Protection Matters The Federal Trade Commission and Ireland’s Office of the Director of Consumer Affairs (ODCA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was announced at the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN) meeting in Helsinki, Finland.[TXT]

FTC Shuts Down Operators of Web Sites Who Allegedly Falsely Claimed to Help People Enter State Department’s ‘Green Card’ Lottery: Posing as Government Agency, Defendants Operated Fraudulent ‘Registration’ Web Pages The Federal Trade Commission obtained a temporary restraining order and asset freeze against Global Web Solutions, Inc., and related defendants for violating the FTC Act in a variety of ways, including misleading consumers into believing they were affiliated with the U.S. government, and that they could help consumers register through the Diversity Visa lottery for a chance to apply for a permanent resident visa (green card).[TXT]

International Telemarketing Network That Sold Bogus Advance-Fee Credit Card Packages Banned from Telemarketing A U.S. district court has approved three separate settlements filed by the Federal Trade Commission against companies that were part of the Assail Telemarketing Network, permanently barring them from engaging in telemarketing of any kind based on the FTC’s allegations that the defendants violated the FTC Act by operating an advance-fee credit card scam that specifically targeted consumers with poor credit histories.[TXT]

Canadian Telemarketers to Pay for Duping U.S. Consumers into Buying Bogus Credit-related Products: Defendants Were Sued as Part of “Operation No Credit” Sweep A U.S. district court has approved a settlement between the Federal Trade Commission and several related Toronto-based telemarketers that includes a wide ban on selling or distributing advance-fee credit cards and other credit-related products as well as provisions for redress.[TXT]

FTC Settles with Cross Border Con Artists: Nearly $1.9 million Recovered for Consumer Redress Settlements providing a total of $1.9 million in consumer redress were entered by a U.S. District Court in Seattle in two separate cases involving foreign lottery schemes that specifically targeted the elderly.[TXT]

FTC Chairman Testifies on International Consumer Protection: Muris Says Cross-Border Fraud Is on the Rise, Urges Legislative Improvements In a testimony before the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, FTC Chairman Timothy J. Muris testified in support of the International Consumer Protection Act of 2003, proposed legislation to improve the FTC’s enforcement authority to combat cross-border fraud.[TXT]

FTC Charges Canadian Company with Fraudulent Sales of Business Directories: Commission Obtains TRO and Asset Freeze The Federal Trade Commission obtained a temporary restraining order and asset freeze against a Quebec-based company, Datatech Communications, Inc., and related defendants for deceptively marketing “business directories” to small businesses in the U.S. in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act.[TXT]

FTC Drives International License Marketers out of Business Several marketers of bogus International Driver’s Permits, including several foreign-based defendants, settled Federal Trade Commission charges that they violated the FTC Act by deceptively claiming that their documents were legal substitutes for a government-issued driver’s license or other photo identification.[TXT]

American Business Registry’ Sellers Barred from Billing U.S. Consumers Who Never Authorized Listings Canadian-based defendants who called American consumers and misrepresented that they have agreed to purchase the company’s “American Business Registry” and a listing in the directory agreed to be preliminarily enjoined to suspend their activities.[TXT]

FTC Halts Bogus Cross-border Lottery Scheme The Federal Trade Commission has filed suit in U.S. District Court to shut down the operation of a cross-border con artist who targeted elderly U.S. citizens in a bogus foreign lottery scheme.[TXT]

FTC Joins International Law Enforcers in Announcing Newly Developed Cross-Border Fraud Guidelines FTC Chairman Timothy J. Muris and FTC Commissioner Mozelle W. Thompson, Chair of the Committee on Consumer Policy of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development ("OECD"), together with officials from the OECD, announced new Guidelines that outline a framework for international cooperation in the effort to combat the growing problem of cross-border fraud.[TXT]

FTC Commissioners Testify on Agency’s Reauthorization Request In separate testimony before the Subcommittee on Competition, Foreign Commerce, and Infrastructure of the Senate Commerce Committee and the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the FTC requested that Congress enact legislation that would “better address the changing nature of the consumer marketplace and improve the agency’s ability to cooperate and share information in cases and investigations relating to cross-border fraud.” The FTC’s recommendations focus primarily on improving its ability to combat fraud involving foreign parties, evidence, or assets. The proposals would help the FTC fight deceptive spam by allowing the Commission to investigate more fully spam originating from outside the United States.[TXT]

Fraudulent Canadian Credit Card Operation Permanently Halted As part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, a U.S. court has entered an order permanently barring a Toronto-based company from selling advance-fee credit cards and requiring it to pay $1.3 million for consumer redress.[TXT]

Skybiz Pyramid Settlement to Provide $20 Million for Consumers Distribution of $20 million dollars in consumer redress will begin in the near future for victims of SkyBiz, an alleged massive international pyramid operation, that victimzed consumers in more than 50 countries.[TXT]

International Telemarketing Network Ordered To Stop Marketing Bogus Advance-Fee Credit Card Packages A federal district court barred an international telemarketing network operating from the Caribbean, United States, Canada and India from illegally marketing advance-fee credit card packages.[TXT]

Consumers Nearly Double; More than $60 Million Paid by U.S. Consumers for Fraudulent Products or Services As part of its two-day "Partnerships Against Cross-Border Fraud" workshop, the Federal Trade Commission has released a report detailing consumer complaints about cross-border fraud and listing the top complaint categories reported by consumers in 2002.[TXT]

Canadian Operation That Charges U.S.Consumers Without Authorization Challenged by the FTC The Federal Trade Commission has asked a federal court to bring an end to the practices of a Canadian enterprise that charges consumers' credit cards and debits their bank accounts without authorization.[TXT]

FTC, Canada, and Mexico Officials Crack Down on Foreign Companies That Offer Bogus Cancer Treatment In coordination with officials in Canada and Mexico, the Federal Trade Commission has charged CSCT, Inc., based in British Columbia, with making false claims that it can treat cancer by using an electromagnetic device to kill cancer cells.[TXT]

FTC Cross-Border Fraud Workshop to Address Trends, Partnerships Representatives from the U.S. and abroad gathered for two days in Washington, D.C. to explore ways the public and private sectors can work together cooperatively to combat cross-border fraud. The workshop has been organized as part of the FTC's Five-Point Plan for Fighting Cross-Border Fraud, announced in October 2002.[TXT]

Cross Border Fraud Trends (January - December 2002) Consumer Sentinel is a secure automated consumer complaint database developed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in cooperation with its law enforcement partners, to collect and make available investigative information about consumer fraud and deception. Currently, the Consumer Sentinel database has over a million complaints received by the FTC and other data contributors. The collected investigative information is accessible to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in the United States, Canada, and Australia through a secure, password-protected Web site. Between January 1999 and December 2002, more than 100 organizations contributed data to Consumer Sentinel. More information on this joint project is available at[PDF]

Court Halts Illegal Canadian Lottery Scheme A U.S. district court has granted a preliminary injunction halting the operation of Canadian telemarketers who illegally marketed lottery tickets to senior citizens in the United States in violation of federal laws.[TXT]

FTC's Five-Point Plan For Attacking Cross-Border Fraud FTC Chairman Muris Presents the FTC's New Five-Point Plan For Attacking Cross-Border Fraud and Highlights Links Between Competition and Consumer Protection[TXT]

Consumer Protection Agencies Combat Cross-Border Fraud At a three-day meeting being held in Sydney, Australia, the Federal Trade Commission and members of the International Marketing Supervision Network (IMSN) announced two initiatives to combat cross-border fraud: The network reported the results of a global law enforcement sweep involving Internet health scams, and it unveiled the newly designed Web site, , where consumers can file cross-border e-commerce complaints that can be accessed by IMSN partners.[TXT]

U.S., Canadian Law Enforcers Target Cross-Border Telemarketers Law enforcers from both sides of the border have taken aim at Canadian telemarketers who target U.S. citizens for cross-border scams. In a series of coordinated crackdowns, the Federal Trade Commission and 17 Canadian and U.S. law enforcement and consumer protection agencies have unleashed criminal and civil law enforcement initiatives to stop the schemes and recover money for victims, many of whom are elderly. [TXT]

Canadian Company Targets U.S. Citizens with Phony Credit Card Offers for an Advance Fee The Federal Trade Commission has charged a Toronto-based company with eight telemarketing boiler rooms with operating a fraudulent advance-fee credit card business. The defendants' telemarketers told consumers that they would receive pre-approved MasterCard or Visa credit cards with low interest rates, credit limits of $2,000 or $2,500, and no annual fees. Consumers paid the defendants by agreeing to have their bank accounts debited for the advance fee of $189 to $219. The Commission alleges that the defendants violated the FTC Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) in the promotion of advance-fee credit cards. A federal district court in Chicago has entered a temporary restraining order prohibiting false claims and freezing the defendants' assets.[TXT]

Partnership Fights Cross-Border Fraud A recently announced U.S. Federal Trade Commission case involving fraudulent Canadian telemarketers who targeted American consumers highlights the success of a new strategic partnership formed to fight cross-border fraud.[TXT] [PDF]

Deposit Check, Forfeit Cash: The New Twist in Phony Prize Promotions Imagine getting a phone call announcing that you've won $125,000 in a foreign lottery. You're told that a cashier's check for $25,000 - the first installment on your winnings - is in the mail, but that you won't have to pay the fees and taxes on your prize until you've deposited the check in the bank.[TXT] [PDF]

Don’t Let Scam Artists Make You a Lottery Loser[PDF]

Federal Trade Commission Testifies On Actions to Combat Cross-border Telemarketing Fraud[TXT]

Law Enforcers Target "Top 10" Online Scams; Consumer Protection Cops From 9 Countries, 5 U.S. Agencies, And 23 States Tackle Internet Fraud[TXT]

United States and Twelve Countries Unveil[TXT]

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