If you bought certain kinds of Skechers toning shows since August, 2008, you might be able to file for a refund under a proposed settlement of a misleading advertising claim brought by the Federal Trade Commission.
Archive for the ‘General info’ Category
Global Payments, the Atlanta-based credit card payment processor, now says a data breach detected in March might have affected an unspecified number of merchants as well as more than 1.5 million credit card holders originally reported. Parties affected will be notified, the company said. For more info, click here.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission offers some tips about online privacy and another nerve-rattling story about how information gathered online can be used for unintended purposes. The lesson is to be very skimpy with details about yourself online and make use of privacy settings. Read the article here.
Popular online music site last.fm now is advising its users to change their passwords because of a security breach that might have compromised those passwords. It’s not clear if this is at all related to recent breaches at LinkedIn or the e.Harmony online dating site.
For more info on the last.fm security problem, click here.
Users of Linked In, the social media site for professional contacts, are being advised to change their passwords due to a security breach by hackers that might compromise the accounts of about 6 million Linked In users.
For more information, click here.
Easter lilies can kill your cat. Keep them out of reach of felines, warns the federal Food and Drug Administration.
The Federal Trade Commission is charging that operators of the RockYou social gaming site violated privacy rules and compromised personal information of users, primarily children.
The company compiled e-mail addresses and passwords from kids younger than 13 without their parents’ permission and the site has other security flaws, officials said.
For details, click here.
The Federal Trade Commission has halted the operation of Government Careers Inc., an Arizona outfit that marketed for fees supposed secrets to snaring a federal job.
They used newspaper and online ads for “Postal Jobs” and “Wildlife Jobs” and “Border Patrol” jobs and other positions, although some of the jobs never existed.
The company promised consumers federal jobs if they paid $119 for study materials that would help them pass an exam, even though in many cases there were no exams for the jobs or there were no jobs. The operators also charged consumers $965 for career counseling services, such as resume editing and employment exam preparation, and demanded advance payment, even after stating that consumers would not have to pay the fee until they got a government job.
For more information, click here.
Identity theft remained the most common complaint lodged with the Federal Trade Commission during 2011, representing 15 percent of all complaints. That was followed by complaints about debt collectors. Michigan had four metropolitan areas listed among the top 50 communities nationwide that generated the largest number of complaints per capita. Allegan ranked 10th on the list, Kalamazoo was 17th, Ann Arbor was 24th and Bay City was 38th. Monroe and other population centers in Michigan did not rank among the top 50.
State officials are warning consumers that E. coli 026 bacteria have been found in some raw clover sprouts in mid- and Southeast Michigan.
The Michigan Department of Community Health is recommending that people avoid consumption of raw clover sprouts until further information about the origin of the contaminated sprouts is available.
Michigan currently has two confirmed E. coli cases and five suspect cases. The illness onset dates range from February 6 – 12. All seven people reported consumption of raw sprouts at sandwich shops in mid and southeast Michigan. Of the seven cases, there have been two known hospitalizations. Those affected range in age from 19-50.
The two confirmed Michigan cases have the same genetic fingerprint as cases reported earlier this month in a CDC-led investigation in other states that was linked to raw clover sprouts consumption at Jimmy John’s restaurants.
Sprouts frequently are eaten raw in sandwiches and salads. Past sprout-related outbreaks of foodborne illness have been linked to seeds contaminated by animal manure in the field, during storage, or as a result of poor hygienic practices in the production of sprouts. In addition, the warm and humid conditions required to grow sprouts are ideal for the rapid growth of bacteria.
E. coli O26 is a Shiga toxin-producing bacterium that can cause symptoms of acute diarrhea, in particular, bloody diarrhea, and abdominal cramps with little or no fever. The illness usually lasts one week. In some people, especially young children, the elderly, or others, it might even cause death.
Anyone who has recently eaten raw sprouts and is experiencing symptoms should contact their healthcare provider and their local health department.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and other consumer groups are getting complaints from consumers about unsolicited robocalls.
At the same time, individuals and businesses that have nothing to do with the illegal robocalls are being blamed for the calls because their phone numbers are being misused by unscrupulous telemarketers.
Robocalls are prerecorded telephone calls that pitch goods or services. Such calls are illegal unless you’ve given the caller express permission to call you. Robocalls offering fraudulent credit card services, and so-called auto warranty protection, home security systems, and grant procurement programs are being reported.
Fraudulent telemarketers often manipulate Caller ID information to hide their identity. In some cases, the fraudulent telemarketer may want you to think the call is from your bank, or another entity you’ve done business with. Sometimes, the telephone number may show up as “unknown” or “123456789.” Other times, the number is a real one belonging to someone who has no idea his or her number is being misused.
If you have Caller ID, do not answer calls from numbers you don’t recognize. Should you answer the phone and find yourself listening to an illegal robocall, hang up. Get the Caller ID information if you can, and file a complaint immediately with the Federal Trade Commission or your state Attorney General.
To file a complaint, visit ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).
Michigan State University researchers have notified federal officials that methylene chloride, a highly volatile, colorless and toxic chemical that is widely used as a degreaser and paint stripper, appears to have been a factor in the deaths of at least 13 bathtub refinishers in Michigan since 2000.
The chemical, in addition to being used in industrial settings, is available in many over-the-counter products sold at home improvement stores.
“To use products containing methylene chloride safely, work areas must be well-ventilated, and when levels of methylene chloride exceed recommended exposure limits, workers must use protective equipment,” said Kenneth Rosenman, chief of MSU’s Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine in the College of Human Medicine. “In a small bathroom, it is unlikely these products can be used safely.” Even respirators did not provide enough protection from the chemical vapors, researchers said.
While it previously was identified as a potentially fatal occupational hazard in furniture strippers and factory workers, a report released today in the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report is the first time methylene chloride has been identified as a hazard to bathtub refinishers.
Since its vapors are heavier than air, they likely remain in bathtubs after application, causing increased danger to workers applying a paint-stripping product.
“The extreme hazards of using products with this chemical in bathtub refinishing need to be clearly communicated to employers, workers and the general public,” Rosenman said. “Safer methods using alternative products should be recommended.”
For more information, click here.
Michael Taylor, FDA deputy commissioners of foods, makes a case for the safety of orange juice products after traces of a pesticide is found in juice imported from Brazil.
In a blog, he notes that three-quarters of orange juice originates in the United States, where the pesticide is unlawful, and testing is continuing on all imported products.
To read his post, click here.
Zappos, a big seller of shoes and other merchandise online, said its customer database was hacked, exposing the names, e-mail addresses, billing and shipping addresses, phone numbers and last four digits of credit card numbers of about 24 million customers.
The company said the full credit card numbers and other payment data was not accessed or affected. As a precaution, it is urging customers to change their online passwords as well as passwords on any other sites they use where the password is similar to the Zappos password.
Customers also were advised to monitor their accounts and be wary of any attempts at identity theft.
The company has a Web site that discusses the situation.
For tips from the FTC on what to do next, click here.
The Food and Drug Administration has halted shipments of imported orange juice at U.S. ports while tests are done for an unapproved fungicide called cardendazim.
The action came after Coca-Cola, the maker of Minute Maid and Simply Orange, found the chemical in one of its products as well as the product of one of its competitors.
Apparently, a Brazilian grower had sprayed orange trees with the substance, which is used widely in foreign lands, but has not been approved in the U.S. Both the Coke brands contain orange juice from Brazil as do many other orange juices sold in the U.S.
The FDA said it is testing orange juice sold in supermarkets for the fungicide, but said the levels Coke reported were at very low levels and were not considered safety concerns.
Carbendazim has long been used in other countries to fight blossom blight and black spot, diseases and molds that affect some orange trees, according to the FDA. In the U.S. it’s only approved as an ingredient to reduce mold in paints.
In large amounts, the chemical is a possible cancer-causer and hormone disruptor and infants, pregnant women and adolescents should not be exposed to it.