by Rosario Méndez
Attorney, Division of Consumer & Business Education, FTC



You’ve probably seen online ads with offers to let you try a product – or a service – for a very low cost, or even for free. Sometimes they’re tempting: I mean, who doesn’t want whiter teeth for a dollar plus shipping? Until the great deal turns into a rip-off. That’s what the FTC says happened in a case it announced today.

The defendants sold tooth-whitening products under various names, and hired other companies to help them market the products. These affiliate marketers created online surveys, as well as ads for free or low-cost trials – all to drive people to the product’s website. What happens next is so complicated that we created an infographic to explain it.

In short, once people ended up on the product’s website, they filled in their info, put in their credit card number, and clicked “Complete Checkout.” When people clicked this button they not only got the free trial of the one product, but were actually agreeing to monthly shipments of the product at a cost of $94.31 each month.

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The Federal Trade Commission is mailing 53,240 checks totaling more than $532,000 to people who paid VGC Corp of America for expensive vacation packages they never received.

According to the FTC’s complaint, the company advertised a vacation package worth thousands of dollars as a prize to people who called and answered a trivia question. Callers were told they had won, but had to pay up to $400 in "taxes" or "fees.”

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Very small businesses, critical to the economy, face unique challenges

The Federal Trade Commission is hosting small business owners in a series of public roundtables across the United States to discuss the most pressing challenges small businesses face in protecting the security of their computers and networks.

Engage, connect, protect - small business & data security roundtables The Engage, Connect, and Protect Initiative: Small Business and Data Security Roundtables are part of an ongoing initiative by Acting FTC Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen aimed at helping small businesses, which included the launch of a new website in May focused on helping small business owners avoid scams and protect their computers and networks from cyberattacks. There are more than 28 million small businesses nationwide, employing nearly 57 million people, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA).

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With the peak summer travel season under way, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reminding travelers to Europe and other global destinations to take steps to protect themselves against measles amid outbreaks of the disease.

More than 14,000 cases of measles have been reported in Europe since January 2016, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. In the past year, 35 people across Europe have died from the disease, according to the World Health Organization.

“Most measles cases in the United States are the result of international travel,” said Gary Brunette, M.D., M.P.H., chief of CDC’s travelers’ health program. “Travelers get infected while abroad and bring the disease home. This can cause outbreaks here in the United States.”

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More than 100 million U.S. adults are now living with diabetes or prediabetes, according to a new report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The report finds that as of 2015, 30.3 million Americans – 9.4 percent of the U.S. population –have diabetes. Another 84.1 million have prediabetes, a condition that if not treated often leads to type 2 diabetes within five years.

The report confirms that the rate of new diabetes diagnoses remains steady. However, the disease continues to represent a growing health problem: Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2015. The report also includes county-level data for the first time, and shows that some areas of the country bear a heavier diabetes burden than others.

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cleared the expanded use of a cooling cap, DigniCap Cooling System, to reduce hair loss (alopecia) during chemotherapy. This is the first cooling cap cleared by the agency for use in cancer patients with solid tumors.

“We are pleased to expand the use of this product for cancer patients with solid tumors to potentially minimize chemotherapy-induced hair loss,” said Binita Ashar, M.D., director, Division of Surgical Devices, in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “Managing the side effects of chemotherapy is a critical component to overall health and quality of life.”

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