Several articles recently have addressed how mainstream advertisers have become more aggressive as they compete for a shrinking pool of consumer dollars. The same is true it appears for outright fraud where there were some enforcement fireworks this week. On July 1st, the four FTC Commissioners voted to put their John Hancocks on a series of enforcement actions (15 FTC cases, 44 actions initiated by the Department of Justice, and the involvement of 13 other states and the District of Columbia) given the codename "Operation Short Change."
The enforcement actions cover a wide variety of allegedly fraudulent activity. Several companies and individuals have been accused of marketing get-rich-quick schemes and false job opportunities. Additionally, several other companies are accused of conning unsuspecting individuals by offering alleged opportunities to get the government to give them lots of Franklins, Washingtons, Jeffersons, Hamiltons and Madisons. Finally, the FTC has targeted a debt reduction scam that uses the Google brand to convince people to divulge personal financial information and then takes liberty with that information after they have purchased cheap consumer goods.
Expect more aggressive and quick action by the FTC in coming days. And, ever wonder about some of those opportunities that pop up or spam you and Blockbuster happens to be all out of copies of Born on the Fourth of July? You can check out this classy FTC video which flags some common warning signs and gives an insider look at Get Rich Quick schemes.
Happy Independence Day!